I have mostly kept my hands off the keyboard on my blog on this issue. I’ve supported it since the beginning – but I am a white middle-class woman, I am not the voice people should be turning to on this issue. There are amazing black voices out there you should be turning to. Here are a few:
Blair Amadeus Imani, Advocate, Historian, Organizer, Public Speaker, and Author
I follow Blair on Instagram after I heard her Ted Talk “Queer & Muslim: Nothing to Reconcile”. She has this series called “smarter in seconds” where she covers a topic in very, very brief. Just enough to get me thinking. In writing for this blog post I found Blair also has a webpage which you may find useful.
Ijeoma Oluo is a writer, speaker and internet yeller. She is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race. (this is directly from her website)
I follow Ijeoma on Twitter. She posted in March about potentially deleting her twitter account (which would be so sad, but if it’s just a source of anxiety I can’t blame her!). I hope she can take a break, and perhaps come back to twitter someday, but I will be patient if she decides she’s healthier without it.
I follow Rachel on Instagram and Twitter. I LOVE her approach on instagram where she breaks down the unconscious grammar choices and makes them conscious. I found her as a writer, I love her for her approach to the black voice.
And finally, I am going to add Raphael Warnock and Stacy Abrams. If you aren’t already listening to them and following them – you should. And I don’t normally ask people to be nerdy enough to dig into politics the way I do – but you should hear Warnock’s first speech on the senate floor. It brought me to tears it was so beautiful (it’s like the man has spent most of his adult life perfecting his talents in public speaking).
I know their voices are important. If you need an argument of why you should be listening to our brothers and sisters of color – believing their voices – let me explain why I go looking to meet them where they are and I listen to their stories.
One of my first jobs was in an IT call center. I was one of about 4 women in a company of 100. The sexism was real. It was almost daily. When I was a new hire, two managers stood behind me while I was on a call and joked about sticking their fingers in my ear to see if I would react. Managers. And yet many of the men in the company told me people weren’t sexist and the company was incredibly inclusive. Many of them didn’t believe what I experienced on the phone until I pulled the recordings. A secretary (another woman) saying a woman can’t possibly fix the computer, she wants a man. A man asking my cup size on the call (yes seriously). Another man saying my voice is sexy and I must get great tips.
Sexism that blatant happened and the men around me didn’t believe me until I shoved the proof in their face. Some still laughed it off – funny jokes, why can’t I just laugh about it? So when my black brothers and sisters tell me that their experience with law enforcement is so vastly different from mine – I believe them. I don’t ask for them to provide me proofs. The proof is on the news so often. The statistics show black criminals with the same background have a higher rate of conviction and harsher prison sentences.
Someone I am adding last minute- Trevor Noah. This is a video he put out this morning: