The last few months and weeks have left many of us emotionally drained: after being quarantined or sheltering in place just in time for the weirdest ever end to a school year, our collective psyche has been bombarded by the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.
For many black Americans who were already bone-weary from generations of systemic institutionalized racism in all its forms, social distancing has taken a back seat this week as this collective frustration has given way to protests. For many Americans who are not black, this has been a time of confusion and shock, as day after day they watch and listen as their black friends break their silence to share their own anxieties for themselves and their families.
Now there’s a large faction of individuals wondering how to process this new knowledge of history they were never taught, and ways they have benefited while their black friends have coped within a system built to keep them from succeeding.
Google is full of resources for people who feel helpless in the face of so much new-to them information. News articles and blog thinkpieces abound, featuring curated lists of books, podcasts, and movies to help people begin the work of becoming anti-racist agents for change in their homes, schools, churches, and communities. These lists – while exhaustive and comprehensive – have left some folks feeling overwhelmed.
Beginning today, I will publish a series of posts designed to help those who want to learn and change. Each post will highlight no more than three specific resources to listen to, read, or watch, to expand your knowledge of history and current events, and to spotlight perspectives you may have never before had reason to consider.
I’ll also pose a reflective question in each post, for you to answer for no one other than yourself. The question’s purpose is to root yourself firmly in the necessary work of peacemaking, to keep your motivations in focus, and to focus your mind and energy primarily on the new information you may learn rather than on the unease it may cause you to feel.
If this sounds like something that may interest you, come back and visit this space to begin and extend your learning. Together, we can work toward peace, one piece at a time.
First question for reflection: Why do you want to know more about America’s history of racial discrimination and exclusion, and be part of an effort to reconcile and find peace?
This article is part of a year-long series. If my work is helpful for you, consider a contribution through Venmo to keep the anti-racism work going.