This article is for us.
First; if you’re white, you have privilege. It’s really that simple. That’s not something to be embarrassed by or pissed off about because you had no control over what race you were born. But you do have control over what you are going to do with your privilege.
Given the current state of the world, we need to be better and do better because right now we are really slacking. I understand this might make you feel targeted, uncomfortable, and defensive but it’s about time we step out of our large, cozy, comfort zones. If you’re sick and tired of hearing about racism, imagine how exhausting it is for black people and people of color in America who have to deal with it every day. We all need to start showing up all the time, not just when another unarmed black father or mother or daughter or son is murdered by cops. Accept that you are privileged when you get to decide to pay attention to a problem only when someone else tells you to look.
I believe it is extremely important for white people to be aware that right now is not the appropriate time to ask black people and people of color in our communities, “So… what can I do to help?” Because you should know the answer. Because they’ve told us already, time and time again. Don’t ask this time. Just do something about it. If you don’t know the answer, take some time to Google “black lives matter” and begin to educate yourself. Because this is not the first unarmed black person who has been killed at the hands of cops.
Things might seem very overwhelming and the news is coming at you so fast, you might not know where to start. First, start with yourself. Then turn to those around you. Your white family members who might mean well but still make racist comments. Talk to them, ask them where this comment is coming from. Then look to your white friends, even the ones who would never vote for Trump but still don’t understand that calling the cops and reporting that they feel threatened by a black man is an act of violent racism.
White people, we need to have more “Thanksgiving dinners.” You know those tough conversations we have the luxury of only dealing with once a year; maybe we should start having them once a month. (Let’s start with once a month and begin to make them more common.) White people, we need to educate ourselves and those who look like us more. We need to be aware that it’s a privilege to choose to learn about racism instead of having to experience it firsthand.
We have been in the position of power for so long and our track record is still shamefully wack. Since we built the very system we benefit from, that means we’re the ones who have the power and the responsibility to make the changes that less privileged communities have been rightfully fighting for. So let’s do it!
Below is a list of resources, forms of media, and actions that you can take right now to better educate yourself and those around you. And if you know of anything I’ve left off this list, please add your suggestions in the comment section. This is an ongoing conversation!
WHERE TO DONATE/TAKE ACTION NOW:
Support Kirsten Harris-Talley! http://www.electkht.org/community-circle
SUPPORT A LOCALLY BLACK-OWNED BUSINESS:
The Comfort Zone (Columbia City)
Emerald City Fish & Chips (Rainier Valley)Emma’s BBQ (Hillman City)
That Brown Girl Cooks Catering (Central Distract)
Delish Ethiopian Cuisine (Hillman City)
My Sweet Lil Cakes (Food Truck)
Marjorie (Captitol Hill)
Plum Bistro (Capitol Hill)
Tougo Coffee (Central District)
The Station (Beacon Hill)
Simply Soulful (Madison Valley)
Cortona Cafe (Central Distract)
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
– Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
– Color Of Change
– Black Women’s Blueprint
– The Audre Lorde Project
– The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
- “The Warmth of Other Suns” by Isabel Wilkerson
- “How To Be An Antiracist” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
- “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
- “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
- “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race” Collection of Essays
- “When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America” by Ira Katznelson
- “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
- “The Color Of Water” by James McBride
- Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Women, Race, & Class” by Angela Davis
- “Magical Negro” by Morgan Parker
- Selected Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
- “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad
- “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde
- “The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations” by Toni Morrison
- “Incendiary Art” by Patricia Smith
- “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg
- “An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis” by James Baldwin
“Letter from a Region in My Mind” by James Baldwin
- The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
- “America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer | Atlantic
- “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” by Corinne Shutack
Black In Seattle (NPR) https://www.kuow.org/tags/black-in-seattle
Hella Black, Hella Seattle https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/hellablackhellaseattle
Codeswitch (NPR) https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/
1619 (New York Times) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/podcasts/1619-podcast.html
Intersectionality Matters! (hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw) https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/intersectionality-matters/id1441348908
Throughline (NPR) https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510333/throughline
I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc)
13th (Ava DuVernay)
When They See Us (Ava DuVernay)
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Miracle At St. Anna (Spike Lee)
Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler)
If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)
Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
May I add to books to read: ” Killers of the summer moon” by David Grann, and Matt Damon’s fave, A peoples history of the United States by Howard Zinn.
Yes Bill! Thank you for those incredible suggestions! We read Howard Zinn in elementary school. Shout out to my 5th grade teacher Mrs Lammar!
My Grandmother’s Hands – Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to healing Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
I love Resmaa Menakem! Thank you Catherine, that’s a beautiful suggestion. Thank you. Have you read Seattle’s own Charles R Johnson’s book Middle Passage? I’m KICKING myself for not adding that book to my list.
An excellent essay!
Good one Rose, and great list.
Two more books:
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin
Those are abosuletly fanastic suggestions! If you love those books have you’ll love reading “Men We Reaped” by Jesmyn Ward or “White Girls” by Hilton Als
Black-owned restaurants are reporting a surge in business, an encouraging sign. Some cities are compiling complete listings of these eateries. Is there one in Seattle? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/voraciously/wp/2020/06/04/black-owned-restaurants-are-seeing-a-surge-of-interest-and-support-advocates-say-its-a-start/?
That’s great news about there being a surge!
On my list aboved I tried to add as many as I could. There’s a more indepth list of black owned business of all types on the @SeattleWorks Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/p/B8eemCtArJQ/
As well as the PI’s list
AND! Seattle Met
A few more book ideas: Frederick Douglass, Prophet of Freedom, by David W. Blight, a great book about a great man; Blood Done Sign My Name, by Timothy B. Tyson; and Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff. Thanks for the list, Rose.
Yes!!! Come thru Matt Ruff! You know; we all need to super when Lovecraft Country comes out later this summer on HBO! And thank you Cassie for your kind words and suggestions.