Educate, donate, advocate – a beginner’s guide to anti-racism and supporting our Black, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and ethnic minority friends
The last few months have been full of bad news and this last week might have been the worst yet. There is a lot of pain and anger across the world right now – and rightly so. The Weekend Edition believes that to be silent, is to be complicit. We recognise that we have a voice and that we have a duty to speak up and support our Black, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and ethnic minority friends, both overseas and here in Australia. We know that everything happening is upsetting and overwhelming to see, read and hear – but it is not acceptable to give in to being overwhelmed or simply shut off because we don’t understand. If you don’t understand, make it your priority to understand – not just what’s going on, but how you can enact change. It is also not acceptable to consider this a solely American issue – here in Australia we are faced with an enormous number of Indigenous deaths in custody, mistreatments of refugees and asylum seekers, an undercurrent of racism that is hidden behind ‘jokes’. This is unacceptable. Being silent, brushing it off as a joke, pleading ignorance or taking a neutral position just allows the continued oppression of minority groups. It has been inspiring to see the number of people across the world, regardless of their skin colour, upbringing or privilege, speaking up and sharing their support on social media these last few days. That said, sharing or liking a post on Instagram or simply declaring #BlackLivesMatter isn’t enough, either. What we need to do is turn our intentions into impact. To use our privilege to help minorities. In his book How to Be an Antiracist, historian and author Professor Ibram X. Kendi explains that to simply say or think “I’m not racist” isn’t enough – to combat racism we need to identify as its true opponent, being an anti-racist. By being an anti-racist, we are considering how we can fight and confront racism. His message is simple – there is no ‘not racist’ neutrality, we are either racist or anti-racist, the latter of which means we have to take responsibility to listen, learn and take action. Here at The Weekend Edition, we are stepping up and standing with our Black, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and ethnic minority friends, and educating ourselves on how we can be allies, how we can be anti-racist and take action with real consequences. Right now, their voices are what need to be heard above any other – but we also know that there is a lot of information out there and that it can be overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled the list of resources and incredible voices that we personally, as a team, are referring to to assist us in becoming better, anti-racist allies to enable change.
The first step towards implementing anti-racist practices is by educating yourself on the issues at hand. The best place to start your education is here in Australia, with Common Ground. The Aboriginal-led organisation’s mission is to provide access to engaging and authentic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content, to build a foundational level of knowledge for all Australians. From here, there is a vast collection of material that will help provide insight, from books and essays to podcasts and movies.
Deaths inside: Indigenous Australian deaths in custody 2019 – Guardian Australia
How to Be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi
Dark Emu – Bruce Pascoe
Talking to My Country – Stan Grant
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah
Me and White Supremacy – Layla F. Saad
Too Much Lip – Melissa Lukashenko
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
White Tears/Brown Scars – Ruby Hamad
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia – Anita Heiss
We must bear witness to black deaths in our own country – The Canberra Times
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
An Antiracist Reading List – The New York Times
Indigenous Deaths in Custody Report – Australian Human Rights Commission
This Book is Anti-racist – Tiffany Jewell
In Search of Black History with Bonnie Greer
Pod Save the People
Is Australia Racist?
The Australian Dream
Dear White People
When They See Us
In My Blood It Runs
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975
Systemic Racism Explained
The Hate U Give
There are countless organisations doing amazing work to support Black, Indigenous and ethnic minority communities at home and across the globe. In Australia alone, these groups tackle an incredibly long list of issues, including improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, advocating for LGBTIQA+ members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, covering legal costs and combating unreasonably high incarceration levels amongst First Nations communities, and working towards justice for those that have died in police custody, to name a few. Below is a list of organisations that you can donate to here and in America. The list is by no means exhaustive, and we encourage further research and reading to discover the true multitude of worthy causes that need your help.
The Healing Foundation
Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA)
Justice for David Dungay fund
Justice for Yuendumu: Inquiry on Police Shooting
In Memory of Joyce Clarke
Grandmothers Against Removals
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR)
National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Women’s Alliance
Pay the Rent
The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia
ADVOCATE AND PARTICIPATE
Show up to protests
Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) are organising the Black Lives Matter – Stop Black Deaths in Custody Meanjin this Saturday June 6 at 1:00 pm, starting at King George Square. If you do decide to protest, protect yourself – wear a mask and gloves and maintain your social distance.
Petitions go a long way in helping to enact change and policy. To get you started on your mission for action, consider signing End Aboriginal Deaths In Custody (Australia) or Justice for George Floyd (America).
Support indigenous artists and businesses
Whether through music, art, design or fashion, there are thousands of supremely talented indigenous artists that are creating vital work. In Brisbane, Open House and Blaklash Creative in West End are terrific supporters of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creative endeavours. Elsewhere, the Bábbarra Women’s Centre is an Indigenous textile-producing art centre where Aboriginal women in the community of Maningrida design, print and sew clothing, silks and artwork. Supply Nation works to creative a sustainable Indigenous business sector, elevating businesses across several industries including food and hospitality, retail, construction and education.
Be actively anti-racist, call out and hold your friends and family accountable for their comments/actions
Sure, it’s a hard conversation to have – but not as hard as the impact those racist comments have on ethnic minorities. Remember, we are striving to be anti-racist. That means combatting racism around us, not sitting in silence. Help your friends and family through education and refer them to this guide – even if they are ‘joking’, they need to understand it’s unacceptable. Not now, not ever.
Don’t do it for optics
Social media is a powerful tool – it can help spread the truth and information to help us in being better allies. While sharing these stories and information is definitely helpful and shows solidarity, you absolutely cannot stop your action there. Follow through and back up what you’re posting with tangible action – that’s the whole purpose of this guide.
Listen, listen and don’t stop listening
These events may be a wake-up call for a lot of us. It may be the first time a lot of us are truly listening to the words and stories of our Black, Indigenous and ethnic minority friends and communities. Open your ears and your heart now – and keep them open indefinitely. We have the opportunity to make great, meaningful change, but that takes time and needs to be maintained in the future. Don’t just do these things now. Your anti-racist actions are a life choice.
By no means are we the authority on how to be anti-racist, nor can we ever fully understand. We are sharing these resources as they are how we are putting our intentions into action to be better allies. If you wish to join us in this anti-racist action, these are our recommendations. But there are hundreds of thousands of voices that deserve to be heard more than ours. We need to ensure we are making room for the voices of black, indigenous and people of colour. Here are a few voices that we are hearing loud and clear:
Image: Mike Von