Anti-racism resources: Black History Month 2020
Winston Clements is a specialist in Diversity and Inclusion with an emphasis on unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, recruitment and selection. He is passionate about supporting the world’s leading organisations to deliver cultural change that is truly inclusive.
Every October we celebrate and commemorate Black History Month. It is an opportunity for people, governments and organisations across the United Kingdom to recognise the contributions black people make to society. But this year is different from the last. We have witnessed horrific events that have galvanised the fight against racism. These acts of brutality are not necessarily new or on the increase. However, the undeniable way in which they have been exposed, has increased awareness in a more profound way than ever before. As the American Actor Will Smith put it in a recent interview, “racism is not getting worse, it’s getting filmed.”
There is now recognition that it is our collective responsibility to challenge and dismantle racism in all its forms and at all levels. “Not being racist” is no longer acceptable and we are seeing a shift towards being “anti-racist.” People are marching and educating themselves on racism, whilst leaders are ensuring that bias is being addressed in the workplace. But we have been here before. The Brixton riots in the 80s, The Los Angeles riots in the 90s, as well as several incidents in the U.S and globally in the past decade. Therefore, much more work is needed in order to embed sustainable change, otherwise we will end up with another false dawn.
We all have the opportunity to make positive change in our communities and workplaces. Inspired by Black History Month, the consultants at EW Group have curated some of the resources that have helped them to better understand how racism works. Our list includes TV shows, films, books, and voices exploring racism. Read, share, and let us know your recommendations so that what we can continue to add to this list.
- Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap. Systemic inequality. This episode of Explained looks at the financial wealth gap based on race in America. You can watch the full episode below.
- Stephen: The Murder That Changed a Nation. Crime. This BBC three-part series investigates the failings of the Met Police in bringing justice to Stephen Lawrence’s family after he his racially motivated murder at a London bus stop in 1993.
- Black History Matters. Sport. BBC Sport will recognise this Black History Month by releasing a series celebrating the achievements of black athletes in British sport.
- The School That Tried to End Racism. Systemic change and unconscious bias. This Channel 4 series follows students at a British school who aimed to eliminate racial bias.
- I May Destroy You. Consent, sexual assault and race. Described as one of the best series of 2020, I May Destroy You explores racism, consent, and sexual abuse by following the experience of Arabella, a young victim of sexual assault in present day London.
- When They See Us. Based on events of the April 19, 1989, Central Park jogger case, this series explores the lives of the five suspects who were prosecuted on charges related to the sexual assault of a female victim, and of their families.
- Black History Month at Channel 4. To celebrate Black History Month, Channel 4 has released a collection of productions celebrating black history and culture. Check out the full collection.
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story. This series traces the tragic case of Kalief Browder, a Black Bronx teen who spent three horrific years in jail, despite not being convicted of a crime.
- Hidden Figures. Gender and racial inequality. Hidden Figures follows the true stories of three black female mathematicians who helped NASA during the 1960s in the race to space and explores the challenges they faced which their colleagues did not.
- 13th. Crime and structural inequality. America has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its prisoners. This award-winning documentary looks at the racial inequality of the American prison system and how it benefits from the mass incarceration of African American people.
- Moonlight. Identity, sexuality and masculinity. This Oscar-winning film follows a young black man’s coming of age and his struggle with sexuality, race and masculinity, delving into the lasting impacts of homophobia and inequality.
- Knock Down the House. Race, gender and class. This documentary film follows the primary campaigns of four female candidates – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin – who ran in the 2018 American mid-term elections.
- Sitting in Limbo. Windrush and racism. After living in the UK for 50 years, Anthony Bryan was wrongfully detained and threatened with deportation by the Home Office. This film follows his story, part of the Windrush Scandal.
Podcasts and talks
- How to Get Serious About Diversity and Inclusion in The Workplace. In this TEDtalk, Janet Stovall explains why single-mindedness can sometimes be a good thing in helping us to accomplish positive change.
- Want a More Just World? Be an Unlikely Ally. Nita Mosby Tyler speaks about why allies are important in the fight for equality in this TEDxtalk.
- I Can’t Be Racist. Psychologist Dr Keon West explores racial prejudice in modern day Britain. Listen to the full episode on BBC Sounds.
- Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man. Emmanuel Acho has “uncomfortable conversations” on racism, social injustice and rioting. Watch the full episode below.
- About Race. Author of bestselling book Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White People About Race, Reni Eddo-Lodge, speaks to guests about issues surrounding race in her podcast About Race.
- A Black Man’s Death is Political. Untold is a platform for sharing stories from people or groups who don’t normally have a voice. Listen to the full episode on the Untold Podcast.
- Brit(ish). From media representation to the police treatment of black people, Afua Hirsch delves into Britain’s complicated relationship with race, heritage and belonging.
- Why I’m No Longer Speaking to White People About Race. Reni Eddo-Lodge offers an honest, nuanced and intersectional overview of racism in modern day Britain. This is one of the most popular anti-racism resources having recently reached number one, making Eddo-Lodge the first black British bestselling author.
- Girl, Woman, Other. The first black winner of the Booker Prize, author Bernardine Evaristo takes us on an intersectional journey by following the lives of 12 women in the UK.
- Natives. Artist, activist and author, Akala, reflects on the inconvenient truth about the legacy of Britain’s colonial past – and the effects this has on black people in current-day Britain.
- Black and British: A Forgotten History. Historian and broadcaster David Olysoga reveals overlooked and forgotten histories of the slave-trading empire and the legacy this has had in the UK.
- Rainbow Milk. This story follows a teen from a Jehovah’s Witness family in post-Windrush London and the battle he faces with his racial and sexual identities.
Also, check out our Best books on diversity and inclusion blog post.
Articles and additional anti-racism resources
- Why your workplace should be celebrating Black History Month
- What to do if you witness racism at work
- Racial microaggressions: definitions, examples and practical actions
- ‘I can’t breathe’: why George Floyd’s words reverberate around the world
- Could racism be addressed through education?
- Racism at work – inclusive leaders must focus their attention and act
Black people have been largely overlooked and ignored by the writers of history. This is why the observance of Black History Month is so important. If we only tell history from one perspective, we perpetuate ignorance which ultimately results in injustice and inequality. We hope this resource list will contribute to a deeper understanding of racism both in our workplaces and the wider society. Now is the time for action. Now is the time to bring an end to discrimination. Now is the time to combat racism. Speak to our team to explore how we can work together in helping you to build a truly inclusive work culture that stands against racism.
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