Resources on Anti-Racism
After the murder of George Floyd, the world was taken in by a surge of anti-racism. People posted black squares on to Instagram, joined marches, and vocalised their fury. Nearly two years on from the death of George Floyd, it is as important as ever that we keep the conversation against racism going. Anti-racism is not a trend. Anti-racism should not be a hot topic that captivated the world’s attention for a summer, and nothing more.
These last two years have been extremely difficult. The pandemic has remained a source of great anxiety and the economic fallout is going to be profound. On top of this, the war in Ukraine has added to this global feeling of unsettlement. However, it is possible to care for more than one social justice issue at our time. And we still need to work towards an anti-racist world.
Therefore, we thought we would point you towards resources for keeping the spirit of anti-racism going.
Inclusion Labs create programmes that work towards a world that is more accepting of difference.
Their mission is ‘to embed diversity, equity and inclusion into every young person’s educational, cultural and personal development. The impact of which will cultivate awareness and activate investment in eliminating social inequality and injustice wherever they encounter it.’
Inclusion Labs focus on young people. This is because diversity, equity and inclusion are vital values. Values that we should all – regardless of age – work towards. Children are the future – so goes the song, but it is true – so, by educating them on diversity, it sows the seeds for a more accepting, kinder society. We want a world that embraces and celebrates differences.
To this end, Inclusion Labs have a Schools Programme. The aim of the Schools Programme is to ‘create meaningful, sustained change within a school community.’ The Schools Programme consists of 4 steps, following their 6 key tennents. The first is an anonymous online school survey. This gives indviduals the opportunity to express how they feel the school handles issues surrounding diversity.
In this comprehensive, thought-provoking book, historian David Olusoga contests the myth that black people have only lived in Britain in the last century or so. He writes, ‘before that Britain had been home to small communities of black Edwardians, black Victorians, and a larger portion of black Georgians.’ Olusoga gives multiple, fascinating examples. Queen Elizabeth I turned to Africa for allies against Spain – a fact that was most certainly absent from my learning about the Tudors in school. Additionally, John Blanke, a black man, was a trumpeter at the court of Henry VIII. In John Edward Carew’s artistry of the The Death of Nelson, there is, a man whose ‘features are unmistakeably and unambiguously African. Not only was this black seaman included in the relief, which was cast thirty-five years after the battle, he was both acknowledged and celebrated.’
David Olugosa’s Personal History
Olugosa prefaces his exploration into history with his personal one. He talks about growing up on a council estate in the North-East of England in the 1970s. He felt ‘profoundly unwelcome’ in Britain.
In the 1970s and 80s, mainstream politicians openly discussed programmes for voluntary assisted reparation. These programmes were aimed exclusively at non-white immigrants.
Olusoga was eight years old when the BBC finally cancelled The Black and White Minstrel Show. ‘I have memories of my mother rushing across our living room to change television channels (in the days before remote controls) to avoid her mixed-race children being confronted by grotesque caricatures of themselves on prime-time television.’
Olusoga’s family were driven out of their home by nightly racist attacks.
Not long ago…
It is so vital to remember that this was not that long ago. At all.
If people protest that anti-racism is “complete” or going too far, then they need reminding that this all happened less than a lifetime ago.
Less than a lifetime ago, the BBC openly sanctioned racism.
Less than a lifetime ago, mainstream politicians openly discussed programmes to encourage non-white immigrants to leave the country.
We can acknowledge how far we have come since then. But there is so much still work to be done. We must keep the anti-racism spirit alive.
‘Black British history is not an optional extra. Nor is it a bolt-on addition to mainstream British history deployed only occasionally in order to add – literally – a splash of colour to favoured epochs of the national story. It is an integral and essential aspect of mainstream British history.’
We should not see black British history as a niche subject, but as an essential part of mainstream British history.
David Olusoga has also written Black and British: An Illustrated History for children. Often, mainstream history whitewashes the truth. This is the perfect book to disrupt them.
The goal of Little Box of Books is to create kids’ bookshelves that are wholly inclusive. This is because, like Inclusion Labs, we believe in the importance of educating children to fully embrace difference. However, there is no need for learning to ever stop. We can always keep learning and progressing.