As educators it’s important for us to recognize how we might benefit from anti-Black rhetoric and narratives. We know that we are entrenched in white supremacist logic and that our educational systems are not excluded from the violent histories that have caused generational trauma for Indigenous and Black communities.
Black History Month is important because it is a time of resurgence, celebration and affirmation in the public eye and collective consciousness that Black communities feel and know year-long. It can also be an incredibly difficult and frustrating time for Black communities to feel pressure to speak out, be visible, and see the world celebrate Black History Month without making systemic changes that actually make a difference.
So how do we, as non-Black educators, continue to do this work throughout the year? How can we continue our learning, address the systemic barriers in the institutions we work in and centre Black joy at all intersections?
This month, more than ever, it is important to do the work on our own. Here are some things to either get you started, or continue your learning:
- Follow the queer, trans, Black leaders in our communities and listen and raise up their work.
- Advocate, create and demand educational curricula that centers Black histories, cultures, voices and futures beyond deficit narratives.
- Connect the struggle and resilience of Black communities through history to the discrimination and prejudice faced today
- Recognize that the Black LGBTQ community is diverse and that no one voice can or should represent an entire community.
- Think about your positionality and experiences: how do you benefit from anti-Black narratives?
- Think about how you can create change: is it personal learning? Is it community initiatives? Care mongering and donating funds to Black organizations?
- Start where you’re at, and then do more: if reading and educating yourself is where you are at, start there. If you can do more, you must.
Policing Black Lives - Robyn Maynard
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity - C. Riley Snorton
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - Michelle Alexander
The Skin We’re In - Desmond Cole
Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada - Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, Syrus Marcus Ware.
A Different Booklist: https://www.adifferentbooklist.com
Black Canadian Authors: https://nowtoronto.com/culture/books/11-books-by-black-canadian-authors?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_content=nowtoronto&utm_campaign=hootsuite
Anti-Black Racism in Canada (HuffPost) https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/racism-canada-anti-black_ca_5ecd6c6cc5b670f88ad48d5c
Black Lives Matter Toronto/Mutal Aid Fund: https://blacklivesmatter.ca
Black Legal Action: https://www.blacklegalactioncentre.ca
NIA Centre for Arts: https://niacentre.org
Black Youth Helpline: https://blackyouth.ca/services/#how-to-access-our-services