The Papers are a bit different this week. The ongoing protests in America, and now elsewhere, have resulted in the widespread and overdue realisation that many people (me amongst them) need to improve their understanding of structural racism, and to take steps to help that go beyond tokenistic support. Below you’ll find various resources, aimed at white and non-Black allies, that I hope you’ll find useful.
I’ll just quickly start by saying I’m receptive to the limits of “anti-racist reading lists” that Lauren Michele Jackson highlights in this Vulture piece. Cameron Kunzelman explains what Jackson’s getting at better than I can here – “Jackson is specifically pointing to the tendency in these lists to: 1. Suggest that all these works give a reader transparent access to blackness, 2. Treat that blackness as a monolith”.
There’s also the way that such lists only matter if people actually do the reading, which, you know, many won’t. To that end I’ve geared this towards smaller and more digestible resources, while still including book recommendations lower down for those who want them. These problems are complicated and overwhelming, and we can’t hope to properly understand them without investing serious time into educating ourselves – but that doesn’t mean reading articles and watching videos isn’t a good place to start.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants has released an exemplary statement about the Black Lives Matter movement, reflecting on the mistakes the Council’s made up to this point.
We discuss and debate policy on ‘safe’, depoliticised terrain, talking often about labour shortages and ‘legitimate concerns’, ‘integration’ and bunting, but rarely about the explicitly anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic roots of modern immigration policy.
And far too often, we fall back on the technical language of policy and law to define realities and experiences which are at their heart the products of racism and of a racist ideology that says some people are inherently less deserving of equal justice than others.
This MCV piece deals with the flawed argument that current hiring practices are solely based on talent, and contains lots of advice for those specifically in the games industry.
“Hiring the best person for the job” and being “colour-blind” are terms that are easy to hide behind. Their intention is to show that you’re hiring based on ability and objective traits.
But what we perceive as the best fit is flawed. It’s based on our own knowledge and experiences. How we perceive the job to be done best. It ensures failure to give Black people the same opportunities because they don’t match our existing definition of what it means to be a good developer.
Hiring managers and team leads ignore an individual’s unique experiences because marginalised candidates often don’t follow the clear career path that takes them from red brick university to summer internship, to junior role straight after their degree. This unconscious bias at the hiring stage sees games companies miss out on perspectives and creativity that could enrich their team and drive real change in the industry.
GamesRadar has put together a thorough and considered list of helpful actions you can take. It also includes a guide on how best to hold police accountable for their actions, a reading list, and thinking exercises that might help you examine your own privilege. The below guidance is particularly worth taking note of right now (I’ve messed up here too).
4. Be careful about content
Graphic videos and photos of black people being killed are shared so frequently that many people of colour are traumatised; psychologists have documented a rise in PTSD symptoms, including anxiety, feelings of dread, and depression. If you’re sharing explicit content, like a police shooting, make sure you post a clear warning, so people can choose not to watch. Similarly, be careful in conversation – not everyone can cope with talking about police brutality, so don’t dive straight in with distressing details. Most importantly, check in with the black people in your life. There’s a constant stream of incredibly upsetting content right now, so reach out and let them know you’re there if they need support.
Here’s a collection of Liam Hogan’s work, which challenges the false-equivalence often asserted between the indentured servitude of the Irish and racialized perpetual hereditary chattel slavery.
For those in the UK, here’s a huge list of people you can write to, petitions you can sign, and places you can donate to. It also includes reading suggestions.
This UK-specific resource is also good, and more comprehensive than anything else I’ve linked to here. There are links to multiple allyship guides, as well as various organisations attempting to tackle specific police injustices. If you do nothing else – go follow the people it lists at the end on Twitter and Instagram.
Here are some podcast and film recommendations from Instagram.
There are loads of reading lists for books in the links above, which is another reason not to do a slapdash one here. I will point to Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race as the only book of its sort that I’ve read, and The Good Immigrant as the one I intend to read next.
These links are obviously far from exhaustive. Please feel free to share anything else you’ve found helpful in the comments.