We sadly have returned to days of protests by people of colour in America because Mr George Floyd was brutally murdered by a white police officer.
It has been nearly two weeks now that America has had to face another round of marching and protests against systemic and institutional racism.
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I have read and watched all sorts of excuses given by white supremacists in this very sad state of affairs.
Oh, George Floyd was not a good person, had a criminal record, etc, but then many responded swiftly.
The reason why he had to go to jail briefly has been adjudged as wrongful incarceration.
I did not know that a policeman could kill someone without any trial or even discussion of a perceived crime.
If you ever lived abroad, you can almost touch the racism, the look they give you if you walk into an expensive shop suggesting you can’t afford it because you are black, the comments by your Professors who have no idea that there is an airport in Nigeria or that you come from an English speaking country.
Then there are shocking looks when you speak English really well.
What about when a random white person walks up to you without any provocation and asks you to return to your country because you are black?
African Americans have spent the longest, walking on eggshells around white persons and defending themselves at all times for reasons that have nothing to do with competency or efficiency but skin colour and losing their children to racism and police brutality.
We have no idea how privileged we are when we are all the same colour.
Our challenges are a different sort but having to deal with daily racism can be daunting and unpleasant and can lead to death in Floyd’s case.
Let’s pause now and take a look at some books that speak to these issues as Americans begin a journey that will hopefully change things around.
1. How to be less stupid about race: On racism, white supremacy and the racial divide by Crystal Fleming.
This book discusses the issues of white supremacy ad entitlement and injustice and opines that many Americans are just waking up to these issues while offering a roadmap for transforming acknowledgement into action.
2. I am no longer talking to white persons about race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
This book by award-winning journalist became a New York time bestseller.
Eddo-Lodge is frustrated by the fact that many persons who do not understand racism, have never lived it are discussing racism and misleading people because of their illiteracy.
The author is also quite upset with how black history has been strategically eradicated.
The book explores the interrelationship between race and class.
There are more poor black people in America than there are white poor people by percentage.
Indeed, in the face of this Coronavirus pandemic where health care is very disproportional and blacks are more likely to die from the virus than white people as a result of a long-standing poor Medicare for black people and coloureds.
3. Any book by the assassinated civil rights leader Martin Luther King or about him can paint the picture of what African Americans have been facing since the Transatlantic slave trade.
Discrimination, racism, police brutality and continuous slave trade mentality by white persons who do not consider blacks’ human beings especially those from white supremacist movements like Ku Klux Klan.
At a time like this aside from reading books by and about him, it’s time to visit his soul-stirring speech, ‘I have a dream’.
4. So you want to talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
This is a straight forward and actionable guide on issues that need to be talked about including the N-word, privilege and police brutality in America. This is a book for self-reflection.
Oluo uses bold and simple language and sometimes uses humour to bring forth the issues.
Any book by or about Muhammed Ali.
The world’s greatest heavyweight boxer who faced racism at every level and went on to conquer through his fights.
I am currently re-reading two biographies of Muhammed Ali.
Any one you find is highly recommended.
5. Racism without Racists, colour blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America by Eduardo Bonilla Silva.
According to this author, if you meet people who tell you they don’t see colour, they just see people, they tend to sweep their racism under the carpet pretending they do not understand.
Describing this as colour blind racism, the author is convinced that this colour blind thinking hinders racial equity and promotes racial segregation in its subtlest form.
Any book on racial healing as we see young white persons joining the black lives matter march which is beautiful to see. We need a discussion across board and understanding.
Any books on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to give you a better understanding and perspective.
Any book by or about Muhammed Ali. The world’s greatest heavyweight boxer who faced racism at every level and went on to conquer through his fights. I am currently re-reading two biographies of Muhammed Ali. Any you find is highly recommended.