Resources for Learning

Documentaries and Film Clips

13th by Ava DuVernay
13th is a feature length documentary series that looks at the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It explores how this exception within the amendment has acted as the base to mass incarceration of black people.
 

Injustice by Ken Fero and Tariq Mehmood
Available for free online, Injustice looks at the struggle for justice for the families of those who have died in police custody in the UK, starting with the tragic story of David Oluwale, the first black person to die in police custody.
 

Ferguson: A Report from Occupied Territory by Fusion
Available on YouTube, this documentary looks the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, looking at the links between racially targeted law enforcement and the court system.
 

The British Black Panthers
This BBC radio documentary looks at the journey of black power in Britain.

 

Books

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
This exceptional book, now 10 years old, explores what legal scholar Michelle Alexander calls the rebirth of the caste system in the US, through mass incarceration of black people and the relationship between this, ‘the war on drugs’ and how the criminal justice system is used as a system of control.

You can read an up to date interview with the author here as well as listen to a podcast

 

Against Equality: Queer Revolution Not Mere Inclusion - edited by Ryan Conrad
This collection of essays asks some hard questions about our community and its struggle for ‘equality’, challenging more mainstream conceptions of inclusion with critiques that are particularly relevant for now on state oppression. Although the book covers a broad range of topics, the selection of essays in ‘Part 2: Don’t Ask to Fight Their Wars’ and ‘Part 3: Prisons Will Not Protect You’ are particularly useful reading to explore the intersections of LGBT+ and Black struggle. 

 

Rest in Power by Sybina Fulton and Tracy Martin
This book is a tribute to Trayvon Martin, a young black man murdered by a local gun-wielding neighbour whilst walking home from the shop with a bag of Skittles. It explores the hostility and inaction of the response to his murder by the police and the legal system as well as his mother and community’s organising around this. 

 

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today.

 

Articles

Race and Policing by the Runnymede Trust
A series of publications related to race and policing in England and Wales - both the main report, “Justice, Resistance & Solidarity: Race and Policing in England and Wales” as well as supplementary articles.

Black trans people are disrespected in life and barely acknowledged in death - our lives matter too” by Melz Owusu
Melz Owusu looks at the situation for black trans people facing police violence and brutality, in relation to the case of Tony McDade. You can also see Barack Obama’s words about this here via PinkNews.
 

There’s overwhelming evidence that the criminal justice system is racist. Here’s the proof.’ by Radley Balko, Washington Post
A forensic long read from the Washington Post summarising a huge amount of studies into racism in the US criminal justice system.

 

Art

Read about Kara Springer’s piece - A Small Matter of Engineering - and the response to it.
 

Creatives respond to racism and police brutality
 

50 artists interrogate 25 years of police brutality
 

Betye Saar: the artist that helped spark the black women’s movement
 

Committing to our own learning

It’s not just about learning to understand why things are as they are. We have to first and foremost tackle our own ingrained prejudices, and commit to a lifetime of learning, growing and understanding.

Harvard's Project Implicit lets you take a number of tests that explore your implicit biases in a number of areas, including race, gender, sexuality and disability. 

Racial Equity Tools contains thousands of resources, including workshops and learning tools, to support you in your journey.

The Open University has a free one hour course on Race, Ethnicity and Crime. In it you’ll explore the idea of criminalisation and how this leads to over-policing, as well as the lived consequences of racialisation. There are lots of other free courses available from places such as FutureLearn, like University of Exeter’s 6 week course on Empire: the Controversies of British Imperialism.

The 11 step guide to understanding race, racism and white privilege is a brilliant resource provided for free which, while in a US-context, is completely applicable to the UK as well.

There are a huge amount of events on EventBrite to help you in your learning. There are free discussion groups like the Left Book Club’s online discussion on Race, Class, Power and Protest or Speak Up! Act Out!’s forum on Racism, Being an Ally and Challenging Injustice.  
 

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Race by Robin DiAngelo
This brilliant book by a white educator explores the very real barriers to progress caused by white people refusing to acknowledge their own role and participation in racist systems, and while more diagnostic that focussed on solutions, offers a needed insight into exploring our own racism as white people.
 

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen
Learning the skills to effectively challenge and be comfortable with difficult conversations are essential to allyship and activism. Whilst not directly about racism or Black struggle, this excellent book provides practical tools and exercises to practice beginning and engaging in challenging and difficult discussions.