RESOURCE GUIDE: Talking About Race

RESOURCE GUIDE: Talking About Race
(AP)

As protests continue over George Floyd’s death and the continued mistreatment of black Americans at the hands of police, many are looking for ways to demand justice or educate themselves on what is happening.

If you’re looking to get involved, we’ve rounded up a list of ways you can take action and/or learn more about what is happening across the country, including ideas specific to demanding justice for Floyd and addressing racism in general.

Volunteer

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Get involved with your local Black Lives Matter chapter.

Volunteer online with the United Nations and their “Let’s Fight Racism” initiative.

Volunteer with Rock the Vote to help people register to vote.

Sign a petition

This petition aims to “reach the attention of Minneapolis Mayor Frey and District Attorney Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately.” As of June 1, more than 10 million have signed.

This petition is to "demand the officers who killed George Floyd are charged with murder." You can also sign by texting "Floyd" to 55156.

Justice for Breonna Taylor on change.org

This petition calls for the justice of Taylor, an unarmed black woman who died in her apartment after being shot at least eight times by Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police in March.

#JusticeforBigFloyd petition by the Grassroots Law Project

This petition aims to demand justice for George Floyd and his family. “When you sign, our platform will automatically send your message to Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman, who has the power to arrest and charge these police officers,” the website says.

NAACP Legal Defense Fund petition for George Floyd

This petition insists "that officials ensure safe policing in times of unrest."

Donate

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, created the fund to cover funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings and to assist the family as they “continue to seek justice for George,” according to the description. A portion of these funds will also go to the Estate of George Floyd, which benefits his children and their educational fund.

I Run With Maud fundraiser on gofundme.com

This fundraiser assists Ahmaud Arbery's mother and her immediate family.

Donations to this legal organization go toward helping “win landmark legal battles, protect voters across the nation, and advance the cause of racial justice, equality, and inclusive society.”

An organization with the mission statement of bringing justice, freedom and healing to black people across the globe. You can become a “Global Member” by donating $5 to support their campaigns.

Campaign Zero

Donating to this organization helps “support advocacy for policy solutions to end police violence in America.”

Your local bond/bail fund

Many organizations in states and cities across the country accept donations that go to paying bail/bond and are also fighting to abolish the money bail system and pretrial detention. The National Bail Fund Network has a directory of community bail funds, and as protests continue in Atlanta, Miami, New York and other major cities, the Georgia Immigration Bond Fund, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund and the Emergency Release Fund are requesting donations.

Support black-owned businesses

Actively seek out black businesses to support

The first way to support black-owned businesses is to actively work on finding them and frequenting them. Here is a local guide we put together to get you started.

Learn ways to be actively anti-racist

Combat microaggressions in the workplace

A microaggression, which is defined by Merriam Webster as “a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group,” can cause harm in workplace environments. Addressing these statements directly can help people realize the real meaning behind their “jokes” and comments.

Work to eliminate hiring bias in the workplace

Katherine McNamee, the HR director at the American Alliance of Museums, offers tips at www.shrm.org, search eliminate racism.

Engage in productive discussions in the workplace

Arranging meetings to continue discussions around workplace equality beyond one-time training is a good idea, according to SHRM’s Arlene Hirsch. “Training is not a silver bullet; it’s the beginning of an ongoing discussion,” Hirsch writes.

Urge schools to integrate diversity into the curriculum

Teachers can help educate students on racism, incorporating diversity and inclusion into their curriculum.

Encourage students to study diverse historical figures

The United Nations suggests that students study “the stories of famous people who have fought against discrimination. Study the contributions made by people from all parts of the world to the common stock of human knowledge and experience. Introduce as much cultural diversity as possible into the curriculum.”

Bring diverse voices into schools/Volunteer to be a speaker

"Invite people of other races or colors who are active in community work to speak to the class about what they do," the United Nations also suggests.

Read about race

Talking to kids about complex world issues can be tough, but these books can help young people learn in a gentle, thoughtful way.

Activities that teach about race/racism

The “National Black Lives Matter At School” network of educators and supporters has activity guides with kid-friendly language that help educate about race.

Address racism and microaggressions at home with family, friends

“The key way to be antiracist is to name, interrupt, and counter racist ideas and actions in our everyday lives,” Dr. Amanda Taylor, senior adjunct professorial lecturer, School of International Service at American University, told USA TODAY.

Tips for calling out family and friends in person

Amnesty International suggests using "I" statements when confronting a family member or friend. "Rather than saying ‘You’re a racist,’ talk about how those comments are impacting you and how you are feeling about it,” their website states. They also suggest clarifying the other person’s stance, talking to them quietly and not getting too aggressive, which may lessen the effectiveness of you “persuasive powers.”

Tips for calling out family and friends online

Amnesty International has a couple of suggestions for dealing with racists online, which include “Deleting or blocking them,” “sharing a link that explains the holes in their views” or “taking a similar approach to the tips above for real-life conversations.”

Influence people in your group

It’s great to call people out on racist comments, but don’t stop there. You can also preemptively help educate others by talking to people in your own life about how systems of oppression affect marginalized groups.

Demand change from brands

Your wallet can be your power when it comes to taking action. For-profit brands need customers to make revenue, so using your purchasing power and your platform on social media and with reviews are ways to push brands into enacting change you would like to see.

Understand privilege

“It is also important, as white people, to remember that you will never ‘get it.’ We are all subject to racist ideas and will never fully understand the experience of black community members, no matter how much you read, study, think or learn, or how many black friends you have, or even if you have black romantic partners or children,” Taylor said.

Question yourself about privilege

In order to understand privilege, you can ask yourself questions. For example, were you ever called names because of your race, class, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation? Also consider your own possible racial biases, which may be implicit even though you think you are being open-minded.

Actively acknowledge and support members of the LGBTQ+ communities

Part of the movements and protests is to create space for all marginalized people to share their voices, especially for black people who also identify as LGBTQ+. Making space, amplifying those voices, and defending people in LGBTQ+ communities is multifaceted, whether that’s having honest conversations with those closest to you or supporting organizations and brands that provide safe spaces.

Do the research

“It is equally vital that all of us, and white folks, in particular, do the ongoing personal work to read and educate ourselves on the ways that racism shows up in our own lives, neighborhoods, schools, and communities,” Taylor said. Research your state’s civil rights history to be better informed about your community’s legacy and racial roots.

Avoid being silent

“Particularly white people who want to be allies, stop it, call it out. Say, ‘That’s not funny.’ Silence looks a lot like complicity," Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Director of the Center for Advanced Policing and Assistant Provost of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of New Haven Lorenzo Boyd says. "You have to physically say, 'That’s not cool, you can’t say that.’“

Accept you’ll make mistakes and apologize

“Recognize that you might mess up, and if you do, apologize sincerely, and keep learning and growing,” Taylor said. Be mindful of questioning something considered prejudiced or racist. Doing so does not promote discussion, but instead undermines historic personal pain.

Avoid commenting on character traits

“I can’t change my eyes or my hair or my skin color, or to some extent my weight or my height, so things that are physical traits or character traits, we shouldn’t be commenting on. We can talk about behavior," Boyd says. For example, we no longer say, “She’s just blond. Or, she’s having a blond moment," Boyd explains.

Don’t perform antiracism

“For my white friends and colleagues, in particular, I think it is really important for us to be sure we are not performing antiracism,” Taylor explained. “Antiracism and allyship are not badges or identities, or about woke-looking T-shirts or passionate posts on social media. Rather, antiracism is a series of intentional and ongoing actions.”

Provide resources for protesters, local communities

The ACLU has a helpful guide for knowing your rights if you’re organizing a protest.

Foodbank donations are crucial. Food Finder and Feeding America are helpful places to narrow your search for local food banks.

Donate to local homeless shelter

With curfews in effect in some major cities and protests filling the streets, communities of people experiencing homelessness can be displaced. Search for and donate to local shelters and organizations – there are even charities that will pick up your donations for free.

Resources for White parents to raise anti-racist children:

Books

Podcasts

Articles

Follow and help amplify nuanced voices on social media

Follow people promoting helpful information and resources

Academic and writer Rachel Cargle has shared letter templates for holding your employer accountable for racial justice and resource roundups on social media. Black Lives Matter founders Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza and Patrisse Khan-Cullors provide thoughtful commentary and often share news and helpful resources, as do activist and author Brittany Packnett Cunningham, The Black List founder Franklin Leonard and director/producer Matthew A. Cherry. Teen Vogue editor in chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner has been a mainstay as a vocal proponent of telling stories with black people, people of color and people from marginalized communities at the center and sharing her experiences on social media.

Follow allies using their platform

Celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen, George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres, have been using their platforms to reflect on racism and highlight organizations that accept donations. White influencers such as Kate Austin have also been amplifying black voices, making donations and urging their followers to do the same. Illustrator Jane Mount has shared book recommendations to learn more about antiracism with her social media followers. GQ columnist and former Out magazine editor in chief Phillip Picardi often shares intersectional content with his followers that looks at LGBTQ+ communities. Celebrity chef Jose Andres has continuously provided food and resources to assist those facing food insecurities in times of crisis.

Wellness spaces promoting mental health

The American Psychological Association has created a list of psychologists available to discuss issues surrounding violent events targeting African Americans. They also have articles on understanding racism and the stress of invisibility on the African American community. Black Mental Wellness provides access to “evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a black perspective.”

Dr. Joy Harden Bradford’s “Therapy for Black Girls” podcast and Instagram account provide mental health resources for black women and a community space to help heal. Sista Afya is a community-driven organization based in Chicago that offers black women low-cost therapy sessions and other mental health support including group therapy, workshops and discussions.

Other ways to help

Vote

Boyd says political action is another vital part in taking action. “Going to the polls,” he explained. “White America just by the numbers has a lot more voting power and a lot more political power than black America does, so to have white America agree to levels of accountability for politicians” is important.

Be aware of overt versus covert racism

Boyd explains that overt is direct, “over-the-top, in your face” racism, whereas covert or “hidden” racism looks like microaggressions. For example, “Wow, you’re amazingly articulate for a black guy.”

“The covert racism I think could be more problematic. When people are overtly racist, we see them. I see the guy wearing the KKK outfit," Boyd explains. "The covert racism often masks itself as, ‘We’re friends but when you’re not here …’ (so it’s) a false sense of security.”

Taylor added, “As white people, we don’t have to have active feelings of hate in our hearts in order to be engaging in racist behavior. Even when we have good intentions, we can still cause racial harm. In other words, we don’t have to be ‘bad people’ to be engaging in racism.”

Educate yourself by reading

Reading novels by black authors can help educate people on black history and experiences. There are also books that specifically lift up black female voices as well as help children understand race. To see a full list of book suggestions, click here.

Educate yourself with podcasts

Support black-run podcasts such as “Earn Your Leisure” and "ForAllNerds." There are also podcasts that specifically focus on race, including “About Race,” “Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast” and “Intersectionality Matters!

Educate yourself with movies and TV

A few examples are Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th," George Tillman Jr.’s “The Hate U Give," Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “Moonlight” and Denzel Washington’s “Fences.

DuVernay’s Netflix limited series “When They See Us” is required viewing for the intersection of race, incarceration and justice in the United States. “Little Fires Everywhere” on Hulu and “Watchmen” on HBO both weave race and generational inherited trauma into their tales of justice. For lighter fare, Issa Rae’s HBO comedy “Insecure” shares a slice-of-life look at a group of black women in Los Angeles and their triumphs and struggles. The 1997 miniseries “Roots” is based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Learn from people via Zoom events

Angel Kyodo Williams and others have promoted virtual classes and discussions surrounding a variety of topics. Some are free, others require donations.

Be mindful of images you’re sharing online

“There is vicarious trauma in the black community,” Boyd said. “And it’s not my family, it’s not my person that’s being killed, but over and over again when people of color turn on the TV or open up social media … and they see black pain, that hurts a little bit more."

He continued, “So in order for us to let people get over this trauma, we need to stop sharing it as much as we do. I’m not talking censoring, people have a right to see, but the people who share it because of its shock value.”

Organizations to follow on social media

More Resources

“Wear a mask and eye protection, carry lots of water for hydration and first aid, and have a health plan for before, during, and after your participation.” A resource by Raina Wellman and Lauren Sarkissian that addresses how to navigate protesting in the time of COVID-19.

A guide by Manassaline Coleman for who to target with social media and digital protesting tactics and how to make your messages most effective.

From 2014, a guide for engaging in the movement for ending police and state violence against black people if you are unable to attend rallies and protests.

An open-source guide to becoming a more effective ally by Amélie Lamont.

Optical allyship is “allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally,’ it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away the systems of power that oppress.” A straightforward guide for not doing that by Mireille Cassandra Harper.

From Spaceus, a growing list of artists who are working to raise funds for the movement by selling their work.

A guide by Annika Izora centering Black queer, trans and nonbinary folks and Black women so you can create your own ongoing reparations plan.

Hart, a Black queer activist, writer, and sexuality educator offers webinar courses on anti-racism, resistance, and analyzing structures that perpetuate “mass marginalization under global capitalism.”

One of the most comprehensive Google docs we’ve seen, containing many of the community bail funds, memorial funds, political education resources, orgs, and general advice/tips for people attending protests or using social media as an organizing tool.

The Antiracist Classroom is a student-led organization at the Art Centre College of Design focused on counteracting racism and white supremacy in design education and practice.

Anti-racism reading

Oluo has been writing about race since the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, when she turned her food blog into a space for talking about issues of racism and injustice. She’s since become an influential speaker and writer on these topics, and her book So You Want to Talk About Race? is New York Times bestseller.

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

“Based on the viral Instagram challenge that captivated participants worldwide, Me and White Supremacy takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”

The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter

For an in-depth history of how the race was invented, and how the idea of whiteness has carried forth throughout time, from the ancient Greeks (who had no concept of race) up to today. It’s slightly academic, deeply informed, and a truly engaging read.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Sociologist and educator Robin DiAngelo’s coined the term “white fragility” in 2011 to describe the defensiveness that white people exhibit when their ideas about race and racism are challenged. In her 2018 book, she illustrates how this behavior reinforces white supremacy and prevents meaningful dialogue. Read it to understand how racism is not a practice that is only restricted to “bad” people.

How to Be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

“Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism re-energizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other.”

Eddo-Lodge, a London-based journalist, decided to write this book out of her frustration that the conversations in Britain around race weren’t being led by the people who are affected by it. The result is a book that explores issues such as the whitewashing of history and feminism and the political purpose of white dominance.

Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard

Delving behind Canada’s veneer of multiculturalism and tolerance, Policing Black Lives traces the violent realities of anti-blackness from the slave ships to prisons, classrooms and beyond. Robyn Maynard provides readers with the first comprehensive account of nearly four hundred years of state-sanctioned surveillance, criminalization and punishment of Black lives in Canada.

Taking Sides, edited by Cindy Milstein

The lines of oppression are already drawn. The only question is, Which side are you on in the struggle against the violence that is white supremacy and policing? Taking Sides supplies an ethical compass and militant map of the terrain, arguing not for reform of structurally brutal institutions but rather for their abolition.

New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a civil rights litigator and legal scholar. “The book discusses race-related issues specific to African-American males and mass incarceration in the United States, but Alexander noted that the discrimination faced by African-American males is prevalent among other minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.”

Angela Davis is an activist, philosopher, and educator. This PDF is a collection of her interviews from February 2013 to June 2015. She discusses the Ferguson trials, Palestinian conflict, and the foundations of Movement. She unpacks oppression and the state of violence in America. This is an inspirational read for those interested in activism, Black feminism, and intersectionality.

More books to read

Mental health resources

Many black Americans are experiencing tremendous trauma. These groups are working to provide those without support with the mental health resources they need.

Black Girls Smile hosts a directory of help/crisis hotlines, resources for finding a mental health professional, and more.

Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective provides access to the Black Virtual Therapist Network.

Donating to the Loveland Foundation makes it possible for black women and girls across the country to receive therapy support.

This doc compiles mental health resources for trans and queer youth, a tool for how to find affordable therapy, and much more.

RECLAIM increases access to mental health support so that queer and trans youth ages 12-26 may reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms.

More anti-racism resources to check out

Additional resources

Self-Care for Black People

Podcasts to subscribe to

Additional Articles