I had a post about perfume lined-up but it’s not what’s been occupying my mind for the last two weeks and it didn’t feel right to post about anything else.
While it shouldn’t have taken the murder of George Floyd for the world to wake up to what Black people have been suffering, it has lead to a mass realisation that it is not enough to be un-racist, White people (and me) need to educate themselves and become actively anti-racist. I have justified avoiding difficult material featuring racism with the excuse that I need to protect my mental health from anything anxiety-inducing. This is a luxury Black people don’t have. It is a privilege to learn about racism through education rather than through experience.
This may be a tiny platform but it is a platform nonetheless and so I’m using it to share a few resources I’ve found over the past fortnight.
An easy place to start is with diversifying your social media feed. I’ve been following Black female (mostly UK based) activists on Instagram. The first stage is just to listen. Some accounts I’d recommend are @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @candicebrathwaite and @emmadabiri.
These women have also written books, many of which are climbing the Amazon non-fiction charts. Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite and Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri.
Another two books to look at if you want to do the work of unlearning racial biases are How To Be An AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi and Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
“Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” – Reni Eddo-Lodge
it’s pretty normal for White people to feel defensive about the idea that they may be harbouring racist beliefs. I recommend this excellent interview with the author of White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo. This isn’t about guilt, it’s about greater awareness and doing better.
Of course there are Black women covering every area you can think of. If you love beauty, check out the fabulous UK journalist @ateh_jewel, for skincare follow London esthetician/facialist @dija_ayodele and for fashion @karenbritchick is one of a multitude.
Obviously, these are just jumping-off points from which you can discover the many melanated voices on social media.
I’m currently reading the much-nomiated novel Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams and will no longer shy away from potentially upsetting books by Black writers (which will be reflected in my Reading Diary). It’s hard enough for these authors to get published, without people like me being too soft to read them. If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments.
Sadly we can’t rely on the schools in this country to provide anything more than a watered down version of Black history. I’ve ordered this book for my eleven year-old niece:
In the same way homophobia isn’t a gay problem, racism isn’t a Black problem. Having these discussions isn’t easy: we’re afraid of getting things wrong. But giving-in to that fear isn’t going to get us anywhere. That’s why I’m pressing ‘Publish’ on this post despite still having a lot more to do.
I’m hopeful that we have at least reached a tipping point where having these uncomfortable conversations en masse and doing the work will lead to real, lasting change.