Black Lives Matter: What can White readers do?

I am hoping that, like me, you are currently in the process of finding some informative reading about the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether it is to find a copy of a book recommended to you or if you are finally getting round to reading that book you’ve always intended to read, now is a great time to get reading, reflecting, and promoting. 

Right now there is a lot of focus on listening: Read. Research. Reflect. The Black Community is telling us that they are under attack, and we need to look to, and raise up these voices to learn what we, White people, can do to help change the world. These are not ‘new voices,’ Black people have always been talking about this. These are new ears and new platforms.

Having said all that, the next step is action, and that feels scary and undefined. It isn’t enough to Hear, we need to do something and change attitudes and conversations around race. So lets get into some actions that the bookish folks out there can do to support the movement:

  1. Buy books by Black Authors. Tell the publishers and the booksellers that this is what we want. Unfortunately, the loudest noise is made by opening wallets. Show publishers that they will make money if they invest in Black Writers. (Don’t use Amazon, search around for price matches, or go local in Birmingham!)

Can’t afford books right now (cause the economic world is on fire, as well as everything else)? Here are some ideas at low cost/free: 

  1. Borrow from friends (safely, it’s thought that Coronavirus can live on paper for up to 4 days, so leave an incubation period and wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling) 
  2. E-copies. Hive.co.uk sell E-copies which are cheaper than a hard copy.
  3. Libraries. Your Library may not be open, but it may be possible to check their inventory. Find out if they have the books you want. If they don’t you can request them and they will look in the budget to see if they may be able to afford them. 
  4. Reviews! This is such an important part of the reading world that I know I am terrible at. Writing reviews that are specific and informative can result in moving other readers to pick up that book. So do it do it do it. If you have read something you enjoyed by a black author, jump on Good Reads and shout about it!
  5. And chat about it. If you care about someone’s work and their message then be part of their megaphone! Tell your family, tell your friends. Ask people about what they are reading, and share what you are reading. Post on social media and start getting the conversation moving. Champion black voices in your reading groups. Ask for threads signposting to the work or shops of Black creators in your networks. 

If you have any other suggestions, please add them in the comments.

Published by Heddwen Bethan

I have a Masters in English literature and Creative Writing and work as an arts administrator in Birmingham. I spend my free time cooking, talking about nothing in particular, and writing.

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