The Anti-Racism resources MGS staff have been reading
At MGS we encourage our staff to reflect on and share learning resources on anti-racist practice internally with each other. We asked what’s been top of their reading list this month. If you’re struggling with where to start your own learning journey to becoming anti-racist, read on for some easy places to start.
Is there a resource that you’ve used that has been helpful or enlightening for your anti-racism learning? Share them with us at ESSM@museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk
Sheila Asante, ESSM Project Manager
For me I think one of the key things is to diversify the voices you see regularly on spaces like social media. These don’t need to be anti-racist voices per say, just including a variety of people that are interested in the same activities that already interest you is important. I also follow several anti-racist platforms on Instagram including: @everydayracism_ and @_lyneezy (whose ‘Parking Lot Pimpin’’ series is an excellent, succinct explanation of many anti-racism issues). I also follow @novareidofficial, her book, The Good Ally’, has just come out. I highly recommend following her and buying her book. As she says: ‘Anti-racism work is not comfortable. Nor should it be. Some of what I share will make you want to slam the book shut and you’re probably going to hate me at times, but I urge you to keep going. Any discomfort you feel is temporary and pales in comparison to what Black people and People of Colour often have to experience on a daily basis.’ She doesn’t hold back!
Neil Ogilvy, Forums Facilitator
My resource is more of a person than a thing (is that cheating?), but basically anything that Akala does. From my own limited understanding, his knowledge of Britain and the racism that occurs here and why is almost unparalleled. He is also a really powerful speaker.
Over the last few years he has done a whole host of Q&As, podcasts, talks, etc. most of which can be found on YouTube by searching his name. Here’s one example:
His book Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire is also very good and explores the racism that he has faced in his own life and how it is created in the modern day through the legacy of the British Empire.
Victoria Hawkins, QA Manager
Climate justice runs through much of what has influenced me, and there is a frank discussion to be had about the racism of our first world capitalist lifestyles – from food to clothing to electric cars.
I found the book Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall really interesting for highlighting how geography plays its part in each country and how this has been framed as something else by politics. At a similar time, I also read The No-nonsense Guide to World Food by Wayne Roberts and realised the close connection between our food supply chains and racism – we moved away from supermarkets after that and try to pay the producer where possible!
A recent(ish) BBC programme, The Black American Fight for Freedom was also really good at highlighting the level of systemic racism for me, and the triple whammies of health, education, and criminal justice. It was focused on America, but the importance of those three things and the consequences of not providing them resonates everywhere.
I’d also recommend George Monbiot’s Out of the Wreckage, A New Politics for an Age of Crisis for the way it challenges society. Although he doesn’t tackle racism, he challenges the way we have been raised to think, the stories we’ve been told. There has been such a strong focus on individualism and a particular view of success since the 1970s in Britain, which is now over 50 years of that kind of societal thinking. I believe it’s important to understand what influences our thinking and thought patterns. Individualism, neoliberalism does not help us to see society as a whole and the value of everyone within that society – be it local society or global.
23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang also helps to give an understanding of how the world is set up to benefit white western countries. Much like with climate change, I find it’s something you just have to keep revisiting, keep educating yourself and learning and then act within the spheres you have influence over. To anyone unsure of where to start with big issues, I’d say just start somewhere and don’t be afraid to acknowledge mistakes or gaps in your understanding: it’s a process not a quiz. “Before I learnt to run, I walked. That time spent walking was not wasted.”
Rosie King, Marketing Officer
The best resource for me was talking to my pals about racism and unpicking ideas that many of us were taught at school about ‘not seeing colour, everyone is equal’, which is teaching that just doesn’t work in our racist society. These conversations were facilitated by lots of different resources but one I go to regularly for articles and podcasts is gal-dem. It’s refreshing, educational, and widens my world to get media that isn’t framed by a white lens.
MGS encourages you to borrow and share books and periodicals, and when purchasing, to make conscious choices around the sellers that you use. We have intentionally not included any links to sellers within this post.