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Ways to better understand the Black experience in the UK

After 2020’s global backlash to racism, with Black Lives Matter taking a front stage, we were all passionate about reading, watching, listening, and learning more about how to help combat racism, both in ourselves and in the systems we enforce. However, after more than a year later, it seems as if complacency has snuck in, once again. It’s our job to educate ourselves on what our Black and Brown peers go through on a daily basis, to open our eyes to the issues facing our fellow man. These books, podcasts, films, and tv shows are a good place to start understanding the history of racism within the UK and its contemporary counterparts.  


Read:

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge 

This Sunday Times best selling book explores ‘everything from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, from whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race.’ The author began this book with a blog post in 2014 after being frustrated with the obliviousness of white people when discussing race. It quickly went viral and this book is an extension of that one blog post. In a series of seven essays, Eddo-Lodge digs into the truth of what it is to be a person of colour in the U.K. today. Although it focuses on British history and colonialism, the systemic nature of the racism she illuminates is accessible to all in the Western world. It is an essential handbook for those looking for more meaningful discussions about race and race relations.  


Natives by Akala

Natives is part memoir, part analysis of race and class relations, both systemic and personal. Not only does it focus on contemporary British culture, it reaches back into historical eras to look at the ways that inequalities over the centuries have shaped the individual trapped within the systemic loops of poverty and racism. It’s an honest, if pessimistic, view of race within the UK, which means it is essential for those looking to learn more about what it’s like to live as a person of colour. 

Brit (ish) by Afua Hirsch

This book is a critical look at what it means to be a British person of colour in contemporary culture. Bombarded by the question, “where are you from?” Afua looks at the historical and social reasoning behind Britain's identity crisis. This crisis is highlighted in the book by looking at the historical identity of being abolitionists whilst remembering the harrowing aspects of slavery. “We have tied ourselves in knots attempting to become a post-racial society without ever truly understanding racialized identities.” This book is a key part of anti-racist education.  

Gal-dem

Gal-dem is the quintessential magazine for stories of people of colour and marginalised genders created by people of colour and marginalised genders. They aim to address inequalities and misrepresentations in the journalism industry by advocating and platforming the work of the misrepresented with essays, opinion articles, music, news, arts and lifestyle content. Look to them for contemporary journalism from a diverse range of people. 


Listen: 

Say Your Mind Podcast

A podcast combining current affairs, tarot, humour and the perspective of a Black, British, Nigerian woman. This is a fantastic way to better understand what it’s like to be a Black person in Britain right now. 


Good Ancestor Podcast

This podcast, hosted by NYT best-selling author of Me and White Supremacy, Layla F. Saad interviews change-makers and culture shapers exploring what it means to be a good ancestor. 


About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge

This podcast is hosted by the author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge where she interviews key anti-racism activists and looks at recent history and how it has led to current political decisions.


Watch: 

Sitting in Limbo 

In this powerful dramatisation of the Windrush scandal, Anthony, actor Patrick Robinson, is wrongfully detained after 50 years of living in the UK and is threatened with deportation. This film helps to educate us further on the injustices that took place over the course of this scandal. 


In the Long Run 

This series, created by and starring Idris Elba, follows the Easmon family, during the 1981 anti-racism protests, as a relative from Sierra Leone moves into their Hackney home. In the Long Run uses humour to depict what it’s like to move into British culture from another country and highlights the importance of this time period. 


Burning An Illusion 

Another series set in 1980’s Britain, this explores a young Black woman’s coming of age in West London against the harsh backdrop of Thatcher’s policies. Pat, played by Cassie McFarlane, must decide when and where to take a stand and how to maintain her relationships. 


A Moving Image

This film explores the common practice of gentrification, how complicity of it works, and follows the main character, Nina, as she discovers how she can atone and work for a better world with her art. 

Written by:
Stevie Deale

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