66 Articles About Racism In Britain & The Black British Experience

Because understanding Britain's colonial legacy and how it impacts on the lives of Black British people daily matters.

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Earlier this summer – and since – the Black Lives Matter movement has seen hundreds march in solidarity across the world and in the UK. Anti-racist content has flooded social media. Both protests and social media activism were in direct response to the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white police officer in the U.S. state of Minneapolis. But not him alone. We learned the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, and so many others. All examples of police brutality and victims of systemic racism. On Sept. 23, the Kentucky attorney general announced that the three police officers who were under investigation for the death of Breonna Taylor would not be prosecuted. Instead, Brett Hankison will face charges for "wanton endangerment." This has sparked a new wave of calls for justice.

While it's important that Black Lives Matter and the way in which racism is baked into society in countries around the world is garnering so much attention, it's long overdue. The UK has its own long history of racism which is barely acknowledged or understood by most. If the ongoing conversations and protests have made you realise you require further educating, this list includes articles that can help you begin to fill those gaps. (There are also books about race in Britain you can read, Instagram accounts you can follow, UK organisations you can support, and podcasts you can listen to.) Understanding Britain's colonial legacy and the way it impacts on the lives of Black British people daily is not something that can be achieved by the clicking of one or even a few links, but it is a start. There is a wealth of brilliant writing out there from Black journalists, writers, and historians and about the life and work of important Black British people. Get to know it.

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Being anti-racist must be a conscious and continuous effort — when Black Lives Matter is no longer trending, education and activism will keep going. Staying informed and keeping on top of news and conversations about race – and then sharing this new knowledge with family, friends, and colleagues – is one of the most effective ways to do your bit in creating an anti-racist society. The articles below, all published within the last few months, are a starting point for staying up to date on discussions of race in the news and will be updated regularly:

Anti-Blackness In Modern Britain

Anti-Blackness is a specific form of racism that is widespread within modern British society. It’s part of the legacy of Britain’s colonial past and it affects the way Black people are treated and exist in Britain at every level. These articles will help you better understand what anti-Blackness is and how it manifests itself in British society.

Racism In Modern Britain

Once you’ve understood the concept of anti-Blackness, you may want to consider doing further reading and research into racism in Britain more widely. These articles break down the various profound ways in which discrimination impacts the lives of people of colour in the UK of all kinds.

Black British History

Despite what your school curriculum may have made it seem, Black British history is British history. You may have learned about slavery as a bare minimum, but chances are you did so from a white British perspective. Besides, there is so much more to Black British history, it’s past time to get acquainted with the origins of Notting Hill Carnival, the contributions of the Windrush Generation, and the activist heroes whose names you should already know.

Britain’s Colonial Past & Legacy

To be fully educated on the extent to which racism against Black people underpins British society, it’s vital to look back at the country’s history of colonialism and oppression of Black people. “The UK is not innocent” has been shared widely across Instagram in posts related to the protests for George Floyd – the below articles are just a starting point for getting acquainted with the horrific truths behind this statement:

Activism & Allyship

Bringing learnings from your research and the sentiments shared on social media into your every day – your actions, your thinking, your conversations with family, friends, and colleagues – is the only way to effect real change for Black people and communities in the UK. The articles below share both practical information on effective steps you can take to be a better ally, as well as taking a deeper look at the negative impacts of performative activism and optical allyship on the Black Lives Matter movement:

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