Newkirk Zwagerman stands with all the protestors who demand justice for George Floyd and countless others. Systemic racism and implicit bias are nothing new, but we are hopeful that the protests being held across the world will push us to a new normal. A normal where everyone understands that Black Lives Matter, without question or qualification. A normal where police are held accountable for their racial bias and the violence comes to an end. However, words are not enough to change people’s hearts and minds. Words, without action, won’t bend the arch of justice. Americans need to focus on the changes in our laws that need to be made in order to bring Black Americans out from under the oppressing rock that has been holding them down for far too long. Our legislative and justice system needs to hold individuals who engage in racial discrimination, harassment, and violence towards Blacks accountable. This is why we continue to fight to have Courts recognize that implicit bias is just as harmful, if not more harmful, as people’s explicit expressions of racism.
As Martin Luther King Jr. stated: “While it may be true that morality cannot be legislated, behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me.” These protests in our cities across the country have awoken people who were for whatever reason ignorant of the effects of racial bias on Black lives every day. We hope these protests bring about the necessary changes in our Courts and Legislative bodies.
The other critical aspect of changing hearts and minds is education. Below is a great list for those who want to learn how to have conversations about race with friends and family members as well as confronting the bias we all have inside of us. We invite everyone to start by taking a look at their own racial bias. This ten-minute Implicit Bias Test is a great place to start educating yourself about the implicit bias you hold. Take the Harvard implicit bias test.
Then read books and watch documentaries and films to learn what you can do to address bias in your own household, workplace, and community. Recommended readings can be found all over the internet but here is a great start:
- How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
Movies/Shows to watch:
We also encourage those who are able to donate to those organizations that fight racial injustice every day such as the NAACP, Urban Dreams,
ACLU, and countless others.