7 WAYS TO EDUCATE YOURSELF ON ISSUES OF RACE

19 Jun 2020 | Student Advice

Following the recent murder of George Floyd in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement has become more prevalent than ever. It is vitally important to do your own research on race issues, to gain a better understanding of the problems black people face daily. Together we can overcome racism. Here is a list of resources I have found particularly useful in educating myself and others.

Read: Natives: Race and Class in Ruins of Empire by Akala

Hip-hop artist and performer Akala is undoubtedly one of the most influential black voices in the UK. Natives is both a biography, as well as an honest and brutal discussion on race and class. Whilst history books are important, personal accounts of racism are similarly vital to understand the microaggressions that non-white people encounter. Described as a polemic, Natives offers uncomfortable truths and statistics about British history.

Follow: Munroe Bergdof

As June is Pride Month, it is vital to celebrate and support the Black LGBTQ+ community. Munroe Bergdof, a trans model and activist, is an influencer I always recommend to friends. Her social media accounts, particularly her Instagram, show a personal account of the issues black trans people face. The idea of reading an entire book on race may seem daunting for some. Finding influencers who create infographics and videos is a great way of educating yourself, whilst encouraging you to share the content. The importance of learning about the black trans community can never be understated. Just look at Marsha P Johnson, she dedicated her life to trans and gay activism, and set up a movement for the LGBTQ+ community.

Listen to: Black Gals Livin’ podcast

A friend recommended this podcast to me recently and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Vic and Jas discuss everything from Love Island, British politics, and issues that the black community face in the UK. Whilst the topics are serious, the tone is lighthearted and genuinely enjoyable to listen to. As mentioned earlier, it is important to listen to personal accounts and experiences from black people individually. This helps to get a better perspective of the issues they face, such as colourism and mental health.

Support: The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is a 24-hour national suicide hotline for LGBTQ+ youth. As we are in pride month, this is an important charity to recommend regardless, but their focus on black LGBTQ+ lives is brilliant. The phone, chat and text services allow queer black people to find help for their mental health, and offers tips for non-black people to support their fellow community. In such a turbulent time, The Trevor Project works to help those who are feeling hopeless and fatigued. As a non-profit organisation, donations are necessary to keep the service alive.

Look at: Blacklivesmatter.com

The official website for the BLM movement is an excellent starting point for finding resources, actions, and campaigns. I recommend signing up for regular content on launches and programmes as well as exploring their own toolkits and reports in the resources section. They also have an official shop with BLM merchandise, and donations are welcome.

Read: White Teeth by Zadie Smith

A fictional novel, White Teeth explores three generations in multicultural London following the friendship between two wartime friends. The book delves into previously colonized countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and how the relationship has developed in the UK. White Teeth offers an intimate view into historical racism in Britain, one which must be faced, through an exciting narrative.

Support: The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Following the racist attack and murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to offer support in their chosen career path. The Trust also works to influence and inspire others to create a fairer and safer society, regardless of race or background. All proceeds go towards programmes such as the School, Lewisham Young Leaders, and Building Futures programmes. Donations also go towards school bursaries and scholarships to students who may struggle to stay in education.

These are the immediate resources I suggest to people who ask where to start when learning about race issues. Of course, the list is plentiful, but I have found these to be the most effective and educational. There is undoubtedly a lot of information to absorb, but the relevance and importance of doing so is a step in the right direction. Making conversations with family and friends, whilst potentially uncomfortable, is necessary for understanding microaggressions and racist presumptions to better our compassion for being actively anti-racist.

By Imogen Kilner

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