6 books & movies to help you learn about racism 

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Health Assured team

08 February 2023

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is just around the corner. Held on the 21st of March each year, this day honours the topic of racism and highlights it in our awareness as an ongoing issue we must acknowledge and work on together.

So to honour this important month, we’ve put together some fantastic resources you can dive into to learn more about the history of racism, how it impacts life today and what you can do to help.

1. So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo (2018)

This fantastic #1 New York Times bestseller by Ijeoma Oluo has touched millions. In the book, Ijeoma touches on how racism seeps into every aspect of life. Down-to-earth and eye-opening, this read will guide you through white privilege, police brutality, micro-aggressions and the Black Lives Matter movement.

2. Seven seconds (2018)

In this gripping Netflix drama, we see African American cyclist Brenton Butler tragically pass away in a brutal car incident white police officer behind the wheel. 

The plot follows the story after this death—and in the scenes that follow, we get an insight into how this murder gets covered up by a group of corrupt police officers, which many people have drawn similarities with the Black Lives Matter storyline.

3. I am not your negro – James Baldwin (2017)

Whether you’re a reader or a movie fanatic, this one suits everybody—you can pick up the book or watch the documentary-style film. Both give an insight into the history of racism in the US. 

Based on James Baldwin’s unfinished memoir of his personal account of the lives and assassinations of his three close friends: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the story paints the picture of what director Raoul Peck envisions the book would’ve been.

4. How to be an Antiracist – Ibram X. Kendi (2019)

If you’re looking to learn more about how you can actively make a difference, this is the book for you. Written by the director of Boston University’s Centre for Antiracist Research, Kendi argues that not being racist isn’t enough. We should all strive to learn anti-racism as a way of life so we can dismantle the systems that have maintained inequality to this date.

5. Me and White Supremacy – Layla F. Saad (2020)

This fantastic book will take you on a journey of introspection so that you can peel back the layers and learn new ways to combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor. With thousands of moving reviews, this is great for those searching for an eye-opening book that will powerfully impact your life in an inspiring way.

6. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Receiving countless awards, 12 Years a Slave is a carefully depicted drama that follows the life of Solomon Northup as he is kidnapped by two con men from New York and sold into slavery. We watch as Solomon faces injustice, cruelty and a fight to retain his dignity. After 12 years a slave, we find out what happens in this heart-wrenching story.

Watch our podcast episode with Health Assured counsellor Indigo Ramsay talking about racism and mental health.

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