Notes on News: Resources for Anti-Racism

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In response to George Floyd’s murder, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign has gained a rightfully ever-increasing notability within society, highlighting the injustices that black people suffer all around the world. In aid of combatting racism, the BLM campaign has seen various ways in which people are trying to spread awareness, one such way being the sharing of anti-racism educational resources. In this post, here are some of the resources our writers have found useful across various mediums of entertainment:

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the perfect book to start your self-education on matters of race, privilege and life as a person of colour (PoC)  in the UK.  Now a UK best-seller, topping the UK book charts in the weeks following the death of George Floyd, Eddo-Lodge discusses all aspects of racism existing in Britain today. From cultural stereotypes that are often associated with PoC, to outright and hostile racist pressure from far-right groups like the BNP, the book covers it all. Starting at the root, with the often untold story of black British history, such as the hidden aspects of colonialism, immigrant conditions in WWI and WWII and the progression towards equal rights in the UK. Moving through the book, Eddo-Lodge touches base with the bigger picture of racial inequality in the UK, such as examples of systematic racism and how British culture is so closely tied with white privilege. Closing off the book, she discusses the landscape of being a woman of colour and how discrimination relates to race, class and gender, further exaggerating the differences in privilege that many with the straight white privilege often ignore or forget. Overall, it is a perfect starting point to readjust your views and educate yourself about racism in Britain, and how the Black Lives Matter movement is not only applicable in the US, but across the globe.

– Jack Nash

13th (2016)

13th is a 2016 documentary shining light on one of the most significant issues with the American justice system: the criminalisation of African Americans. This is essential viewing for those seeking to educate themselves as it delves into the problems of police brutality on ethnic minorities, and the history of racial inequality from Jim Crow laws to Emmett Till to the War on Drugs. The title of the documentary already highlights its impact; the 13th amendment was adopted in 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the United States. However, although slavery itself is over, the inequality is not and the criminal justice system is just another way to enslave black Americans. The documentary begins with 44th President Barrack Obama informing us that America holds 5% of the world’s population but 25% of its prison inmates. This staggering figure not only proves the issues with America’s criminal justice system but also brings to attention how despite black Americans only represent 12% of the US population, they make up 33% of the sentenced prison population. The documentary goes to show the history of racism and how the new version of slavery, the prison/industrial complex, that has taken over from the old system.

– Morgan McMillian

So You Want To Talk About Race? – Ijeoma Oluo

In her breakout book ‘So You Want To Talk About Race?’, Ijeoma Oluo explores the complex and daunting reality of today’s racial landscape – from white privilege to systematic discrimination and the extremely prevalent Black Lives Matter movement – offering the utmost straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of racism. The book tackles and addresses head-on issues such as police brutality, intersectionality micro-aggression and the debate over the ‘N’ word. She seamlessly builds the bridge between black and white Americans and answers those questions that white people don’t dare to ask. It’s a book for every race to read and succeeds in translating the overwhelming concept of institutional racism to something accessible and direct for everyone. It’s a book that you can’t help but inhale, not just a book you read with your eyes, but with your heart, head and entire being. 

– Olivia Dellar

The Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975 (2011)

The Black Power Mix Tape 1967 – 1975 collects footage captured by a Swedish crew throughout the frenzied media coverage of the black power movement. The documentary’s self-admitted naivety to the real-world struggles of black Americans establishes it as attempting to be nothing more than the recounting of events as perceived by the crew. Featuring interviews from influential voices in the movement such as Stokely Carmichael and Angela Davis, this documentary works as a basic introduction to the systematic and societal issues of race in America. With the discussions happening 60 years ago feeling horrifically similar to talking points being elevated by the Black Lives Matter movement today, it only feels right to watch this now as a jumping-off point to explore the history behind current events.

– Ross Holmes

Women, Race & Class – Angela Davis

Angela Davis is one of the most iconic activists and educators alive right now. Battling through the unjust and unfair system, the FBI, and the continuous obstacles she faced, Davis’ texts are filled with crucial information. Women, Race & Class is a book which everyone must read, as its title says it all; detailing womanhood and slavery, womanhood and racism, womanhood within the working-class field, communism, and much more. There is really no excuse to not reading this text, too – it’s available as a free PDF online. Resources like Davis’ are extremely important, giving first-hand accounts of devastating histories which help to educate ignorance. They are also all relatively short and very accessibly easy to read.

– Georgie Holmes

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

Barry Jenkins’ film If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) based on the novel with the same name, follows Clementine ‘Tish’ Rivers as she, with her family’s support, seeks to clear the name of her wrongly accused partner and prove his innocence before she gives birth to their child. It is the early 1970s in New York and racism is heavily ingrained to society, as it is today. Tish and her partner Alonzo struggle to find a place to live as landlords refuse to rent apartments to black people, which is one of the most striking moments of the film. There is no denying that Jenkins truly captures the psychical horror of racism, the claustrophobia it imposes on black people and how along with a surging passion the African-American couple attempt to fight against the oppression. 

– Olivia Dellar

The Gift – Janice Okoh

Playwright Janice Okoh is known for her pieces focussed on black culture and history, from Egusi Soup which looks at Nigerian culture, to The Gift which critiques racism by highlighting how little has changed from the 1800s to the present day. The Gift is a powerful, hard-hitting play that teaches the fairly unknown history of Sarah Forbes Bonetta whilst illustrating the impact of ever-present micro-aggressions in the modern day. Comparing Sarah, who is forced to live a British life under British customs once adopted by Queen Victoria, with middle-class modern day Sarah, who has the police called on her by the neighbours for fears her white daughter isn’t hers, shows the long-standing racism that has existed in the UK. In short, The Gift is “an outrageous play about imperialism, cross-racial adoption, cultural appropriation…and tea”, but one that everyone should read (available on Nick Hern Books), or see if they have the chance.

– Maddie Lock

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe is often seen as the father of African literature, so is the perfect place to start if you’re looking to expand your fiction reading as well as your non-fiction. Things Fall Apart, his debut novel published in 1958, was among the first African texts to reach global acclaim, and marked a departure from the typically imperialist approach to colonialism in literature. It offers a different perspective on the things we may have previously been taught about the British empire. Here, we see the impact of colonialism on a fictional Nigerian clan; Achebe teaches us about Igbo life pre-colonialism before demonstrating the devastating effect of the Christian missionaries and British colonialists on the village – and the people – whose lives they came to take over. It is heartbreaking, incredibly powerful, and will stay with you for a long time after you’ve read it.

– Becky Davies

These pieces of media may only be a snippet of the issues at hand but offer a great opportunity to learn more about racism and what the BLM campaign is trying to achieve, and will hopefully help in continuing the campaign against racism. For more information on petitions you can sign, places you can donate and for even more resources, click here.

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A first-year English student with a passion for absolutely everything (but especially literature and drama). Willing to take a challenge at any cost, writing articles has been a delightfully fulfilling contribution to his time at University so far.

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