Because allyship can't be proven with a few social media posts.
The last few weeks, and really, the last few centuries, have been exhausting for Black Americans. The violent cycle goes: trauma —> invisibilization —> normalization —> repeat. How do we stop the runaway train that is white supremacy? There’s no one answer—a complex problem needs many solutions. But the question I consistently pose to those who claim to support Black people is, “When is the last time you read a book written by a Black person of your own volition?”
The answer I often receive is silence and an averted gaze. But these books contain so many of the answers. Black people have been yelling and writing about the many paths to true equity since before this country was formally founded. Spoiler alert: the 28 days in Black History Month are not enough time to acknowledge this scholarship. Our contributions to this great nation cannot be confined to one short month, and your allyship cannot be proven with a few social media posts. The best way to show your commitment to the Black community today and every day is by genuinely engaging with us. That starts with the books.
As James Baldwin said, "It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive." There's no better time for stillness, independent learning, and empathy for those disproportionately impacted by systemic issues than right now. Below is a list of recommended reads from some of the greatest Black American authors, thinkers, and leaders. Hopefully you’ll find an answer to my first question. You'll certainly find that many of your questions about the Black experience are already answered around you.