“The work of Anti-racism
is the work of becoming
a better human,
to other humans.”
: Austin Channing Brown
(from her podcast conversation
with Brené Brown.)
One of the books I received at Christmas
was Malcolm Gladwell’s ’Talking to Strangers’.
In it he challenges assumptions,
aiming to find the reasons why.
It’s book-ended with his findings
on the Sandra Bland case
and the systemic wrongs in America;
the injustice of the system.
With so many before Sandra Bland,
and with so many after…
Each case of brutality and oppression,
the murders of George Floyd,
Breanna Taylor and many more,
reveals the extent of the racial injustice.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Chatting with my friend Anup
a couple of weeks ago,
he pointed me in the direction of
the poet, rapper and scholar Akala.
his address to the Oxford Union,
where he spoke about
‘Black History as the Lost Pages
of Human History’.
A fascinating talk,
such that I followed up with watching
Akala’s ‘Unfiltered’ chat with James O’Brien;
deconstructing race, class,
and Britain’s modern myths.
Akala on ‘Unfiltered’ with James O’Brien
I felt amazed,
and rather embarrassed,
at how much I didn’t know
on the subject of Black History.
Akala’s book, shown below,
explores and challenges
the assumptions that we make,
and highlights the consequences.
Realising I’d not looked,
with feelings of some ignorance,
can be disorientating
Unaware to the workings
of a system I’d not seen.
The evidence of privilege
and how it’s benefited me.
These feelings can point the way
to where we can be better.
To listen and to learn.
Acknowledge and understand.
Aware enough to realise,
seeing where we need to grow.
Admitting the steps we need to take
to learn more than what we know.
The more that I read,
the more I watch and hear.
The privilege of whiteness
is so abundantly clear.
The injustice for the Windrush generation,
The ongoing racial discrimination.
Enough is enough.
Respect and appreciation.
And a change in education.
Watch ‘Sitting In Limbo’
Drama inspired by the Windrush scandal.
and watch ’13th’
Film about the 13th Amendment by Ava DuVernay
Books that I’ve been recommended : on my list to read.
“Privilege is not about
what you’ve gone through,
it’s about what you haven’t
had to go through.”
: Janaya Future Khan,
during her enlightening chat
with Adwoa Aboah
on IG live.
“By not running from the books that pain us,
we can allow them to transform us.
I ran from anti-racist books most of my life,
but now I can’t stop running after them.
Scrutinising myself and my society,
and in the process, changing both.”
: Ibram X. Kendi
(watch his conversation on TED.)
We all have our stories,
ones that we protect.
Be vulnerable enough to see
all our histories,
and how they all connect.
Walk in someone else’s shoes.
Treat people the way you want to be treated.
Feel free to share.
And thank you for reading.
Title image by James Eades on Unsplash