How to Educate Yourself on the BLM Movement
In the midst of protests, social media blackouts, and petitions, it can be difficult to fully grasp just what the Black Lives Matter movement is. One of the most important ways to show your support and acknowledge your privilege is by educating yourself on the history of systemic racism.
What is systemic racism?
Systemic racism is a form of racism that is expressed through social and political institutions, infecting the nature of our society. This implies that a number of issues such as wealth, employment, education, criminal justice, housing, surveillance, and healthcare are infected with racism, singling out black lives and making tasks such as finding a job or buying a home significantly harder.
What is the BLM movement protesting for?
While the overall intent of the movement is to eliminate systemic racism, this outrage in particular is aimed towards abolishing and defunding the police force. ‘Abolish’ and ‘defund’ are intimidating words that many may take out of context, but are pretty easy to break down.
It is important to understand that while a police officer may not be personally racist, the system they work for builds racial bias against minority groups. Protesters everywhere have decided that in order to cleanse the system, it first needs to be abolished. This call aims for a police force that requires more training on things such as implicit bias and proper justice to be served when police step out of line. Defunding police is fairly simple, cutting spending in the police force and redistributing this money into the community where it may be more needed.
How can I learn more?
There are a number of resources on the internet to understand and work with the Black Lives Matter movement, but a good starting point would include documentaries, books, podcasts, and articles. Compiled below is a list of media that will help you better understand privilege and the history of black culture.
Documentaries and movies:
When They See Us (Netflix)
Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise (Amazon Prime)
White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism (Robin Dianglo)
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (Richard Rothstein)
So You Want to Talk About Race (Ijeoma Oluo)
The Diversity Gap (Bethaney Wilkinson)
1619 (The New York Times)
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast (Race Forward)