Over the past few weeks I have been doing what I can to educate myself more on systemic racism and how that plays a role in essentially ever aspect our society. I truly believe in the power of education and feel there are so many people that could benefit from educating themselves on these topics. I have been working on compiling all of the resources, books, articles, videos, etc. that I have been finding to put into posts in the coming weeks. I wanted to share a preview of a few of the people and items that have had the biggest impact on me so far.
13th. This was one of the first documentaries/mini-series that I watched over the past few weeks. It was truly eye opening to see how the current state of our country can be traced back to the days of slavery. The documentary made clear connections between political and cultural practices/norms/institutions in our country and systemic racism and the effects that has on people of color. Many of the concepts highlighted, like Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, or Chain Gangs, may be taught in school in a watered down way, but the true intentions and effects are definitely not taught. I have actually watched this twice at this point to try to really understand and learn the information that the documentary contains. I highly recommend.
Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes. Jane Elliot is an American educator and anti-racism activist. I am embarrassed to say that I had never heard of her until a couple of weeks ago when I watched Killer Mike’s press conference and subsequent interview on The Late Show. He gave white America the homework of watching an hour of Jane Elliot videos educating about racism in our country. She has a lot of great educational videos, but this one seems to be one of the more popular ones. Essentially she reframes the conversation to be around eye color, rather than skin color, to help those that have never experienced discrimination understand what it can feel like.
George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper video by Trevor Noah. I have always appreciated Trevor Noah’s take on the things going on in the world. His perspective is unique being from a different country, but being from South Africa seems to give him a deeper and more powerful insight into the United State’s problems. While a lot of the other things I have been reading and watching have been giving wider or historic context, this video helped explain how what is happening right now is related to that wider or historic context. It explained how each event that has happened in recent weeks compounded on the last to, metaphorically, make the pot boil over. He has great perspective and an incredibly eloquent way to express that perspective.
Rachel Cargle. I started following Rachel on Instagram after seeing her name consistently as a great educator and advocate to follow when trying to educate yourself. Her content is honest, thought provoking and enlightening. She consistently posts things that make me think while also teaching me something. It gets me to think about things from a different perspective, to really think about something if it makes me uncomfortable and to really evaluate where I am getting my information.
What it Feels Like to Be a Black Man in American Right Now by Terron Moore. This article was actual written back in 2016, but is never the less incredibly relevant. The author of this article, Terron Moore, reposted this article maybe one to two days after all of the protests started. To me it was so interesting to read about all of these things that I have never had to worry about or have had to put much thought into. It was eye opening and powerful. I don’t walk out my door with the constant fear of being harmed or killed by those who are supposed to protect me, but millions of people in our communities do. I didn’t understand the depth of these fears. The constant, nagging nature of these fears.
Ava DuVernay. I have seen movies and documentaries directed by Ava in the past, but am embarrassed to say that I never knew she was the director behind them. I realized that after multiple documentaries by her in the past couple weeks that she was the common denominator between them. She also has an excellent Twitter feed where she shares interesting and helpful information. Yes, this is a sixth point, but I couldn’t decide on just five.
These are just a few of the people and things I have found in the past couple of weeks to educate myself. It has been enlightening and upsetting and thought provoking. I plan to share more comprehensive lists in the weeks to come. Until next time, friends… CML