If you don’t know what’s going on in the world, then congratulations! You have found the only rock big enough to shut out an actual uprising. (But really, not congratulations, you really should be world aware.)
I have been debating, going back and forth, not if I should say something–of course I should–but what I should say. Because words aren’t enough. My words aren’t enough. Nothing I can possibly type, write, or even say will fix anything, will change anything. But the the past few days have taught me that trying is more important that my feeling of inadequacy. Not, not my feeling. I am inadequate. And that’s okay; because this isn’t about me.
Silence is violence.
This phrase crossed my social media more than once and it has left a lasting impact. Because it seems counterintuitive at the surface. How can you be violent if you’re doing nothing?
That’s exactly how. By doing nothing.
By sitting idly by and not speaking up against injustices and race issues, we are contributing to the problem. Everybody has an obligation to correcting the racism that is prevalent in today’s society–not just in America but worldwide. It is your responsibility as a human being; and if you don’t think you’re part of the problem, you are. You absolutely are. I am part of the problem. We are all part of the problem.
And I could sit here and harp on ways to fix it, but as a white man with a lot of privilege, I’m not really qualified to give that kind of advice. So instead, I will turn it over to some people who are. The following is a list of books collected not only by myself, but compiled by other teachers, public figures, and–most importantly–people of color who are the actually qualified people to teach me and everybody about race issues.
- 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
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
- They Can’t Kill Us All: The Story of the Struggle for Black Lives by Wesley Lowery
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
And for you fiction lovers, a bonus pick: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
All of these books address race and racial issues in a real, straight-forward way. They’re not delicate. And that’s okay. Delicate is not what we need right now.
Refinery29 compiled this list of black-owned bookstores that I encourage you to consider patronizing. You can find it here.
Read. Think. Love. Do Better. This is my call to everybody.
The Plucky Reader