Friday, June 26, 2020

Listen, Learn, Act

Listen, Learn, Act


by Ted Miller

(originally posted in Tumbleweird July 2020 -


For the past several weeks, the top 15 entries on the New York Times list of non-fiction best sellers have been almost exclusively books about racism. It would seem that Americans are suddenly writing and talking about race, and that America is suddenly open and eager to listen and learn. Or, I should say, it seems that white America suddenly wants to learn about race. Black Americans live with racism in America every single day.


Nothing I can write in this column is more important or powerful than the voices and writings of Black people whose words have fallen on the deaf ears of white Americans since before Frederick Douglass gave his speech about the Fourth of July in 1852. I challenge you to open up your hearts and minds to books by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) authors. Read articles by BIPOC columnists (including those featured in July 2020 issue of Tumbleweird), listen to podcasts by BIPOC anti-racists, watch documentaries, educate yourself. If you want to know about racism in America and in yourself, but don’t know where to start, there is a list of resources in the Tumbleweird issue, copied below. 


And as you learn more, use your own voice, your own financial support, and your own actions to dismantle the systems of oppression that have been built on centuries of racist ideas and policies. 


Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”


For me, I’m trying to know better so that I can do better. I know many others are trying to do the same. 


Perhaps this really is a turning point in our reckoning with the violent and racist history of this nation.


Black Lives Matter

Resource recommendations:

Anti-Racist Resources


Anti-Racist Reading List from Ibram X. Kendi:

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Dark Matters by Simone Browne

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Democracy in Black by Eddie S. Gladdening Jr.

Blood in My Eye by George L. Jackson

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

This Bridge Called My Back by Cherrie Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

You can also order books today from these Black-owned independent bookstores!



About Race

Code Switch

We Live Here

Solidarity Is This

The Nod

Television and Movies:

12 Years A Slave ( available on Amazon Prime)

13th (available on Netflix)

Amazing Grace (2018) (available on Hulu)

Dear White People (available on Netflix)

Fruitvale Station (available for free on Tubi)

I Am Not Your Negro (available on Amazon Prime)

If Beale Street Could Talk (available on Hulu)

Malcolm X (available on Netflix)

Selma (available on Netflix and Amazon Prime)

The Hate U Give (available on Hulu)

The Innocence Files (available on Netflix)

The Tuskegee Airmen (available on Hulu and HBOGo)