By Claudia Cole
In the recent events of civil unrest, it has been reinforced that the department of education has failed to provide reading content that reflects our current society. A new petition launched on change.org calling to update GCSE reading lists to help educate future students about inequality and injustice. The organiser behind the petition believes that highlighting these issues to young adults will help stamp out racial ignorance, igniting a desire to be part of the change. However, the need to be educated about structural racism goes beyond school curriculums, which is why books have never been so fundamental.
Following the murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota, it has sparked a conversation about whether people should be held accountable for their inactivism.
Protesters have repeatedly pointed out the danger of remaining silent in times of injustice. White people and those with privilege are needed as active participants to help dismantle white supremacy. Yet, many are failing to understand the implications behind their act of silence or the response of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Black Lives Matter foundation has stated:
“We demand acknowledgment and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of Black life at the hands of the police. We call for radical, sustainable solutions that affirm the prosperity of Black lives.”
For such a horrifying issue that has reoccurred throughout history, you may be wondering what exactly can be done to help. While spreading awareness is a step forward, many perspective resources can help you educate yourself about structural racism, implementing real change.
Luckily, we’ve put together some essentials books for you to get started.
“I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms…”
In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way discussions of race and racism in Britain were continuously being led by those who weren’t affected by it. After the post on her blog went viral, she decided to dig deeper with a book that explored everything from the inextricable link between class and race to eradicate black history.
Why I’m no Longer Talking About Race is an insightful and necessary book for anyone who wants to understand what it is to be black in Britain today.
“You need to know this. Because of your skin tone, people will ask you where you’re from. If you tell them Bristol, they’ll ask where your parents are from. When they know you are half-Indian, one person will try to impress their knowledge of your culture on you.”
Compiled by award-winning writer, Nikesh Shukla, The Good Immigrant brings together British BAME voices that delve into race and immigration. Inspired by discussions around why society deems people of colour as bad immigrants, The Good Immigrant paints a real picture of what it means to be ‘other’ in a country that doesn’t accept you.
“As a black woman, race has always been a prominent part of my life. I have never been able to escape the fact that I am black woman in a white supremacist country.”
For those who want to talk about race and don’t know where to start, Ijeoma Oluo provides blunt, user-friendly examination of race in America. Readers are guided through subjects ranging from police brutality, microaggressions, privilege, the ‘N’ word, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Ijeoma Oluo certainly answers questions you’ve been afraid to ask, empowering you with truthful clarity.
“There is nothing that can prepare a family for the heart-clenching shock of losing one of their own. And time and time again, those left behind described to me how so suddenly a normal, mundane weekday had become the worst day of their lives.”
Wesley Lowery delivers an intimate account of the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, offering a devastating insight into the reality of police brutality. To grasp an understanding of the response towards Michael Brown’s, George Floyd’s, and many other black victims’ deaths, They Can’t Kill Us All examines the failure to deliver tangible security to those who need it most.
While it’s easy to be swept into the wave of performative activism and retweeting hashtags, true solidarity stems from making a change that helps in the long run. Educating yourself is a good way to start, and the best way to become a better ally in times of racial injustice.