“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are” – Benjamin Franklin
It’s been a while. It has also been a really overwhelming couple of weeks. To be honest, it’s been a really overwhelming couple of months and I’ve spent it feeling pretty useless. Whether its for the Black Lives Matter movement or helping those in need during the pandemic – I feel a little bit lost, too worried I’ll say the wrong thing, not feeling like I know enough or have the right to speak out.
I’ve stayed pretty silent in the past two weeks whilst I have been digesting everything. I’ve read a lot, watched a lot of videos and yet I still feel anxious about what to say amongst the thousands of inspiring voices on social media. What I do know is that saying nothing in this space wouldn’t have sat right with me. I didn’t want to continue with my normal content, regardless of how few readers I have without reaching out, without acknowledging how hugely important this movement is, how overdue these conversations are, how unbelievable it is that so much hate around the world, still exists.
As someone that has never had to experience racial discrimination, I know that I will never ever fully understand, but in order to help against racism I needed to know more and I know that I still have tonnes to learn. Social media has exploded with information, videos, discussion, quotes and there are hundreds of resources online and whilst it has been moving to watch the world come together to stand up, fighting louder than ever, I’ve really struggled knowing where to start.
I have always gravitated towards stories and words, which is why one of the first things I did was create a list of the books that I wanted to read. I’ll be the first to admit that I have been complaisant, ignorant to the fact that there may be something I can do. That’s on all of us. I am no expert, but here, in my own space where I come to vent, I’ll share the books that I have personally added to my list to help me better understand what we are fighting for. And at the end of the day we all need to learn, to help us start the conversations we might not have had before now. I’m sharing this list here to keep myself accountable.
Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owen
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement – Wesley Lowery
How to Argue With a Racist: History, Science, Race and Reality – Adam Rutherhood
I’m not naive. I know that reading a list similar to mine won’t miraculously liberate the world and solve the problem. Education can only go so far and whilst reading might build more empathy, it can’t undo the damage that has already been done. It’s highly unlikely that people with regressive and hateful thoughts will suddenly become philanthropists by reading a few books – in fact, it’s highly unlikely that those people will pick up a book in the first place.
But, as a start, information is power and we must decide then, what we do with it.
There are of course, so many other things we can be doing to help. This conversation shouldn’t end.
Photo credit goes to https://unsplash.com/@claybanks