As Protesters Flood the Streets - It's Time to Educate Ourselves

No words I can think of correctly encapsulate the magnitude of the emotions I have felt this past week—how devastated I am, how ashamed I am and how desperately I want to change our system. A lot of people are feeling helpless right now. Being in the midst of a pandemic does not create the perfect setting for social upheaval. And, as protesters take it to the street to ensure justice for George Floyd, many who are social distancing are wondering what they can do that would make a difference. It turns out there is actually a lot we can do without even leaving our homes. Educating ourselves is a great place to start.

Everything that is going on in our country right now is a symptom of the larger issue of systemic racism, implicit bias, white privilege and ignorance to injustice. It is not enough to just not be racist. It is necessary that we also fight against racism and become actively anti-racist. But we can’t do that if we don’t educate ourselves on the plight of those being oppressed.

It is not the job of black people, and other people of color, to educate white people. It is our job to actively educate ourselves and use that knowledge to be part of the solution.

So what resources are out there for us? Tons.

WHAT TO WATCH

WHAT TO READ

WHAT TO LISTEN TO

  • Pod Save the People, a podcast with DeRay Mckesson​.
  • 1619, a podcast about the beginning of slavery in America.
  • Code Switch, an NPR podcast tackling race from every angle.
  • Intersectionality Matters!, a podcast diving deep into the importance of intersectionality​.
  • Pod for the Cause, a podcast expanding the conversation on critical civil and human rights challenges of our day.
  • Two Dope Queens, a podcast about two best friends discussing everything from race to romance.

This isn’t an all-encompassing list; there are many other resources out there (a more comprehensive list can be found here). However, this carefully curated selection of films, books and podcasts does a masterful job covering the different aspects of the conversations we need to be having. If we are not educated on history, laws, experiences and our own biases, it is impossible to be a good ally.

It is important that white people take the time to understand all the ways our experience is very different from those of minorities. We will never understand, but we can educate ourselves and take a stand. To be a good ally, we have to not only help create space for others but also engage with the living history being created in those spaces. Films, books and podcasts about the oppression people of color experience on a daily basis have been around a long time, begging us to discover them. I am hopeful the events currently unfolding in our country have many of us wanting to do better and seeking ways in which we can accomplish that. I hope this is a wakeup call for white people, and all people wishing to be allies, to use the resources available to learn and then turn that knowledge into action. To think before we speak. To read before we think. Let’s educate ourselves, educate others, donate, protest, speak out and vote for the changes we wish to see.

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