Rik’s Life: 23 Things to Watch, Read and Listen to That Relate to the Current Racial Tensions in America

Courtesy of Adrian Walker.

Courtesy of Adrian Walker.

This post was originally published on December 4, 2014. It is updated frequently. 

Last week I posted a tweet:

“I greatly dislike the notion that #Ferguson has resurfaced the convo on race in this country. No, you’re just starting to listen.”

And I meant every single character.

I’ve been grappling with my place in the hot-button conversations on race that are surrounding the non-indictments in the Mike Brown and Eric Garner cases, Ferguson and St. Louis (my hometown), Tamir Rice, educational inequalities from elementary school to higher education; my list continues to grow. As a writer, a poet, an activist, a believer in justice, love and peace, I’ve found myself at a roadblock, suffocating from the minute-by-minute news tidbits being released, the OP-Eds, the conspiracies, the negligence in evidence and blatant disrespect and disregard for humanity. For a few days, I shut it off, and I considered where my voice will fit in this conversation. I still haven’t figured that much out yet, but I know that I truly believe in meaningful and transformational actions and words. And I continue to challenge both myself and those voicing their opinions, to search and say those things that are not being said: Those things that make us uncomfortable, that make us shift in our seats; those things that make us clap and cry; those things that make us angry, provoked; those things that help us to consider our place in this, find our voice, and help us to be heard. The list I’ve created below encapsulates all of these things, if not more. I’ve gathered films, articles, videos, poems, books and more, each of which I have read and seen over the past year. Some are pre-Ferguson, pre-Mike Brown, pre-Eric Garner, pre-Tamir Rice, and so forth and so on. Each item on this list, however, involves race in all of its ugliness, realities and construction. I can’t promise these things will provide you with a solution to the problem or even a notion of how we’ve gotten here, but I hope that it offers a fragment of hope, peace, inspiration, empowerment, and an inkling of motivation for you to remain in the good fight toward true justice and true peace and stop believing in the fantasy of racial progress that we’ve been pressured into believing.

Continue to breathe.

Continue to hold your hands and heads high.

Continue to live.

1. The Black Power MixtapeFilm

2. When Whites Just Don’t Get It – Article

3. Night Catches UsFilm  

4. The Case for Black with a Capital B – Article

5. The African Americans – Film  

6. The Worth of Black Men, From Slavery to Ferguson – Article

7. In Ferguson, Black Town, White Power – Article

8. The Price of Black Ambition – Article

9. The Parable of the Unjust Judge or: Fear of a Nigger Nation – Article

10. Belle – Film

11. Jon Stewart’s Loss for Words After Cop in Eric Garner Case Not Indicted Video

12. The Kitchen House – Book

13. If black Americans wants the N-Word to die, they will have to kill it themselves – Article

14. The Case for Reparations – Article

15. I, Too, Sing America – Poem

16. Chris Rock Talks to Frank Rich about Ferguson, Cosby, and What Racial Progress Really Means Article

17. What Is Common to All of Us? Redefining Black Male Identity – Article

18. We’re not a ‘post-racial’ society. We’re the ‘innocent until proven racist society’– Article

19. The Spectacle of the OtherBook

20. Question Bridge – Website

21. Slaves to Dandyism and the Styling of the Black Diasporic Identity Book

22. The Danger of the Single Story by Chimimanda Adiche – Video

23. AmeriCAN – Short Film

24. Between the World and MeBook

25. Selma – Film

26. Fresh DressedDocumentary 

Fresh Dressed from Fresh Dressed Movie on Vimeo.

27. Black Feminist Thought – Book

28. Black Looks – Book

29. Ebony Magazine August Issue “Why America Loves Black People/Culture – Magazine

30. “Why Black Men Are Dressing Formal as a means of Survival” Article

31. The Average Black GirlPoem

32. To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar – Album

33. Black Messiah, D’Angelo – Album

34. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J Cole – Album 


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