ANTI-RACISM SELF-EDUCATION RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS, and anyone else really:
Disclaimer: I am a white woman raised by a liberal middle-class white family in a predominantly white neighborhood in the NW Chicago suburbs. I owe all of my racial education and awareness to the Black, Indigenous, and non-white educators (especially women) who have dedicated their life to this work, and the anti-racist white educators I met while living in Minneapolis & St. Paul who led by example and made it way less scary for me to talk about race and whiteness.
Below is a letter I compiled June 3, 2020 for fellow members of The Rattle, an art collective based in LA and London. This is by no means comprehensive but it is a start.
This is a major political moment and a call to action to expand our minds and hearts and do more than we ever thought possible to change the system of oppression in the US. Do not post personal or self-promoting content right now, unless of course you are a black artist, in which case obviously do whatever the heck you need to do to process and de-stress.
White people: create an anti-racist cohort in a text thread with a friend or small group of close friends to process your privilege together and challenge each other to continue the work, go deeper, and recognize biases and blind spots. If you’re going to protests, download the Signal app and keep your group text in there - it is one of the only digitally secure communication apps right now. Read up on protest etiquette for white & non-black allies before you go.
Take regular screen breaks - sustainability is key. If you overexert yourself mentally you will burn out and lose any momentum you built. Stretch, exercise, eat well, drink lots of water, have an anti-racism buddy you check in with daily (could be your partner, friend, family member). If you are alone right now, consider joining or starting a small quarantine pod. We need physical touch to better connect to our empathy. Don’t be hard on yourself; this isn’t a time to let guilt consume you. But do let it change you.
If one of your main feelings is “what’s the big deal?” and you want a place to start, I would suggest watching 13th (on Netflix).
Before you post, ask yourself if you’re being informative or just performative. Follow black leaders (especially black women) in the movement to keep the narrative centered around black voices. This list is obviously just a start:
Patrisse Cullors-Brignac (founder, BLM / Reform LA Jails): https://www.instagram.com/osopepatrisse/
Erika Hart (sex educator/activist): https://www.instagram.com/ihartericka/
Layla F. Saad (author of Me & White Supremacy): https://www.instagram.com/laylafsaad/
Kimberly R. Drew (activist/curator): https://www.instagram.com/museummammy/
Black Lives Matter LA: https://www.instagram.com/blmlosangeles/
Ally orgs to follow & join:
White People 4 Black Lives https://www.instagram.com/wp4bl/
Showing Up For Racial Justice https://www.instagram.com/showingupforracialjustice/
DONATE, HOWEVER SMALL:
If you haven’t donated to any of the organizations leading this movement, go do that immediately. Any small amount is a start. Keep it local and go from there:
LA Action Bail Fund - https://linktr.ee/ActionBailFundLA
Black Lives Matter LA - https://www.gofundme.com/f/blmla
Reform LA Jails - http://reformlajails.com/about/
ACLU Southern California - https://www.aclusocal.org/
Resources for Black (trans)women - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Mo2E-M9Bw57ndJrRVegxVhwhI11SWFNPQdQEFVyn02Q/preview?pru=AAABcp_aJII*MwxDM2m3ZO4hA-P-zJZfkA
Consider the visual media you’re consuming right now and the media you typically consume. How many of your films/tv shows feature black actors in leading roles? How many are directed by Black directors? If the answer is zero, why is that?
Films/tv/docs to get on your watch list (not comprehensive, just a start):
The Death & Life of Marsha P. Johnson
I Am Not Your Negro
Do The Right Thing
When They See Us
12 Years A Slave
The Case for Reparations by Ta Nehisi Coates (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/06/the-case-for-reparations/361631/)
Kareem Abdul Jabbar on these current protests (https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge)
How to Be An Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege by Frances E. Kendall, Ph. D (http://www.scn.org/friends/ally.html)
75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice (https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234)
MPD 150 , a 150-year review of the Minneapolis police department (has a very useful lesson on the history of policing at the beginning that EVERYBODY should read/listen to)
Audiobook version (F’ed up history on police starts at 8:34) : https://soundcloud.com/user-317649837/enough-is-enough-a-150-year-performance-review-of-the-mpls-police-department
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (free as an E-book!)
SHE SHREDS Anti-racism resources for musicians: https://sheshreds.com/a-compilation-of-anti-racism-resources/
21-day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. Do not let this moment come and go. Take this opportunity to be permanently changed by the moment. https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge
UNPACKING THE INVISIBLE KNAPSACK. One of the more powerful exercises I’ve ever done to confront my privilege. Consider your familial/financial safety net when answering these questions. If you are white, don’t let the “starving artist” mentality cloud your judgment: https://nationalseedproject.org/Key-SEED-Texts/white-privilege-unpacking-the-invisible-knapsack
Lists of educational films & documentaries: https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/ustv/a32751963/best-films-documentaries-educate-racism/ ; https://www.eddiemoorejr.com/21daychallenge/#watch
If I know anything about artists, it’s that we are a powerful crew of change-makers and empathy-generators. Historically, we’ve always been on the side of justice. So let’s continue that work. FULL SPEED AHEAD!