A list of practical resources for white people striving to become better allies
- Educate Yourself
Education is essential for becoming a better ally. If you do not understand the concepts of white privilege and systematic racism how can you effectively combat them? This need not be an expensive process as there are many free resources available.
- The Historian David Olusoga’s documentary ‘Black and British: A Forgotten History’ can be accessed for free on iPlayer.
- Bernadine Evaristo’s Booker Prize Winning novel ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ is available to listen to on the BBC Sounds app.
- The author Reni Eddo-Lodge, has also asked that rather than buying new copies of her book people lend it to their friends and family, and donate the cost of buying it to the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
If you are unsure of where to start, there are several anti-racist reading, watching and listening lists:
- 33 Books by Contemporary Black Authors
- Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Booklist for White Readers
- Anti-racism resources for white people
- 19 Anti-Racist Movies and TV Shows You Can Stream Right Now
- 10 Anti-Racist Podcasts and Talks That Are Helping Me Become a Better Ally
2. Support your Black Friends
Perhaps the most important part of being an ally is supporting your black friends, family and co-workers during this time. It is, however, important that you reach out to your friends for the right reasons. This is about how to be a supportive ally and, therefore, you should not vent about your own feelings of sadness and outrage at the recent events. Nor should you ask your black friends for anti-racist resources, it is not their job to teach you about racism, there are plenty of resources that you can use to teach yourself. Instead you should listen to your friends and ask how you can support them. Also understand that they may not want to speak to you about what they are experiencing and feeling and nor should they have to.
- Holy shit, being an ally isn’t about me!
- Before You Check in On Your Black Friends, Read This
- How to Care for Your Black Friends Without Making Yourself a Burden
3. Have Conversations with your Family and Friends
It is important to have conversations with your family and friends about the Black Lives Matter Movement. There are multiple resources available, detailing the most effective ways to initiate these conversations:
- How to Talk to Your White Family About Racism
- How White People Can Talk to Each Other About Disrupting Racism
4. Hold Universities and Schools to Account
A lot of attention has been focused on decolonizing the GCSE syllabus, however, much less focus has been centred around discussions of universities. Through syllabus’, reading lists and infrastructure, named after wealthy slave traders, universities often uphold systematic racism. Furthermore, a report in the Guardian found that BAME staff and students in UK universities faced ‘overt racism, including assaults, monkey chants, the N-word and other verbal abuse, to institutional and structural racism, indirect racial discrimination and microaggressions.’
Some of the ways you can enact changes at your universities are:
- Support Decolonize Movements
- Consider how your Curriculum upholds systematic racism – e.g. Medicine: ‘Medical schools must include BAME representation in clinical teaching’
- See what resources your Students Union and the National Union of Students are promoting.
5. Write to your MP
Write to your MP asking them to put pressure on the government to suspend the UK export of tear Gas, Rubber Bullets and Riot Shields to the USA which are used against Black Lives Matter Protestors and ask that they condemn Trump’s actions. Amnesty International has provided a template letter which you can use. You can find your MP’s contact details through the website TheyWorkForYou.
6. Sign Petitions
As well as writing to your MP you can put pressure on the UK and US governments directly by signing petitions. Whilst the Justice for George Floyd petition has reached nearly 19 million signatures there are still various petitions that have yet to reach their goal:
- 30 BLM Petitions You Should Sign Right Now
- 10 petitions to sign today that support Black Lives Matter in the UK
If you have the money to make a donation Practical ways to support BLM from the UK, has a list of charities and funds to donate to. You can also donate directly to the Black Lives Matter, Fund the Movement. In addition you can choose to buy from Black-Owned UK Businesses.
If you don’t have the money to make a direct donation you can watch stream to donate YouTube videos, which will make a donation on your behalf.
In order to be an effective ally going forward we must reflect on how we oppose racism in our everyday lives:
How do I support my black friends and co-workers? Is my ally ship only performative? How do I use my privilege to fight for racial equality? Anti-racism requires a lot more than a simple Instagram post, it requires constant personal growth and practice.
There are many resources and checklists available that encourage this self-reflection and continuing education:
- 31 Resources That Will Help You Become a Better White Ally
- Do the Work Now: Anti-Racism Resources for White People
Anti-Racist Resources Available at the University of Manchester
(This is by no means a comprehensive list, but due to the temporary closure of the library this list has been limited to books that are available to read online.)
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race,Reni Eddo-Lodge.
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, Layla F. Saad.
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colour-Blindness, Michelle Alexander.
- White Rage: The Unspoken truth of Our Racial Divide, Carol Anderson.
- Algorithms of Oppression: How search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble.
- There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, Paul Gilroy.
- Heart of the Race: Black Women’s Lives in Britain, Beverley Bryan, Stella Dadzie, Suzanne Scafe and Lola Okolosie.
- Dismantling Race in Higher Education: Racism, Whiteness and Decolonialising the Academy, Jason Arday and Heidi Safia Mirza.
- The Good Immigrant, Nikesh Shukla.
- Race, Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race, Derald Wing Sue.
- Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis and Movement Building Strategy, Chris Crass.
- Racism without Racists: Colour-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America,Eduardo Bonilla-Silva.
- The condemnation of Blackness: Race Crime, and the making of Modern Urban America, Khal Gibran Muhammad.
- From #blacklivesmatter to Black Liberation, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.
- Seeing White: An Introduction to White Privilege and Race, Jean O’Malley Halley, Amy Eshleman and Ramya Mahadevan Vijaya.
- The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics, George Lipsitz.
- Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era,Ashley D. Farmer.
- The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea, Christopher J. Lebron.
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, Angela Davis.
Ahmed Iqbal Ullah RACE Centre:
- This centre (at Central Library) has a collection of books, articles and archival material ‘focusing on the study of race, migration and ethnic diversity’.
The Student Union:
- The SU has released several statements addressing the killing of George Floyd and the recent protests which you can view here
- Sara Khan, the SU Liberation & Access officer has also compiled a list of anti-racist resources, as well as links to the EDI Allies Initiative, Decolonise UoM and the National Union of Students’, Black Students’ Campaign.
Written by Isabella Wood