Teaching History: Educating yourself during Black History Month

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Educating yourself this Black History Month


Last year, as the Black Lives Matter movement swept the country, there were many calls for white Americans to educate themselves rather than leaning on their Black friends, colleagues, and neighbors to do the hard work for them. Today, we’re highlighting next steps for NEW members to be better allies to Black Americans in our workplaces in the coming year.

NEW Women of Color Advisory Council members Tahirah King, Senior Portfolio Manager, Dry Technology – All Channels, Mars Petcare, and Watchen Nyanue, SVP, Marketing Partnerships, Chicago Sky WNBA, have stepped up to the plate with a list of recommendations for educating yourself.

Tahirah recommends  we start with taking key actions: 

  • LISTEN - Create empathy & understanding.

  • EDUCATE - Challenge yourself to understand bias and white privilege.

  • ADVOCATE - Push for change, challenge the status quo.

Then, it’s time to start reading! Tahirah suggests:

  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds 

  • The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein 

And Watchen recommends looking into #SharetheMicNow, the social media campaign which has promoted the concept of white women with social clout giving their 'mic' to Black women with account takeovers. She also recommends "White Fragility, a book that has been helpful to a lot of people when thinking about how white people can be better allies."

Education doesn’t end with a stack of books on the night table. There are many wonderful options to educate yourself with TV, film, and podcasts as well! Tahriah recommends: 

  • '13th'

  • 'The Black Godfather'

  • 'Just Mercy'

  • IHEART Radio for great podcasts in this space.

And Watchen suggests "The 'I Choose the Ladder' podcast, which features the stories of Black women in corporate America. Many of them discuss the challenges that they face."

Beginning to educate oneself is just the start, and this list offers great options to begin a journey of learning. Continue to seek out resources to educate yourself on the needs and experiences of your friends, family, coworkers, and community-members of color, and you will reap the benefits of greater understanding and more educated allyship.

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