I’ve thought a lot about how and what to say about George Floyd’s brutal and unnecessary murder in Minnesota, and the subsequent protests that have erupted across the country. The pain felt across our nation is not mine — I will never know what it feels like to worry for my health, safety, or life because of the color of my skin — and even though I hurt for the black people I know and love, this moment isn’t about what I’m feeling.
This moment is about the experiences and emotions of our black communities and it’s also about a system of inequality that is white people’s responsibility to fix. We are the ones who benefit from a racially unjust society, whether we are consciously aware or not. The system isn’t broken — it was built flawed in our favor, so we’re the only ones who can enact the change needed.
Until we’re willing to accept the discomfort of reckoning with the dark and racist history our country was built on, we can’t hope to move forward. But in the face of continued murders at the hands of law enforcement and other devastating, violent injustices toward black people, I think white people can afford to be a little uncomfortable.
Instead of talking about my personal experience in cultivating greater awareness of racial inequity, or talking about my fears of speaking up too loudly and upsetting sensitive white relatives, I want to use this platform to relieve some of the burden of education we place on our already overburdened black friends. It’s not an oppressed community’s job to educate anyone else about that oppression (especially in the age of Google).
Below are some of the resources I’ve found helpful in regards to supporting recent protests against police brutality, as well as things that have been helpful to expand my understanding of systemic racism, white privilege, racial inequality, and what to do about it. If you have a favorite resource, please let me know! I’ll work to continuously update this list as I learn and experience more and as suggestions are provided.
Understanding White Privilege/Systemic Racism/Racial Inequality
- “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person,” Huffington Post, May 8, 2014
- “What Riding My Bike Has Taught Me About White Privilege,” Quartz, August 29 2014
- “Stop Asking People of Color to Explain Racism — Pick Up One Of These Books Instead,” Scary Mommy, January 31, 2020
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
How to Help
- Register to vote
- Minnesota Freedom Fund
- Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund
- National Bail Fund Network
- Black Lives Matter
- National Police Accountability Project
- Campaign Zero
- Justice for George Floyd Petition
- “11 Things You Can Do To Help Black Lives Matter End Police Violence,” Teen Vogue, May 28, 2020
- “74 Bail Funds You Can Absolutely Support Right Now,” Auto Straddle, May 31, 2020
Some of my favorite books by black authors (in no particular order)