A reading list of recent articles on race, civil rights and policing in America

Dear fellow white people, please choose empathy. Please recognize that just because we haven’t lived something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because we’ve never felt things doesn’t mean that no one has. Our point of view is not universal, it is privileged.

Please accept that racism is real. It has a major, constant, overriding impact on the lives of human beings. Only we, as white people, have the privilege of pretending racism doesn’t exist.

Please acknowledge that this is a story about a broken system. Yes, many police officers are good people and good cops. But bad people, bad cops exist too. Real people are responsible for acts of unforgivable violence, and they should be held responsible. Please recognize that this is not a story about vilifying the police. It is a story about how we can improve a public institution.

Please recognize the existence of experiences beyond your own. Can you imagine what it would be like to feel that your life doesn’t matter? Like your fathers’ life, your mothers’ life, your brothers’ life isn’t important? That they can all be taken away with impunity? I can’t imagine. But I can read about experiences beyond my own, I can learn about them, I can try to understand. I can think about ways to improve the world we all live in. I can acknowledge injustice and support the fight against it. I can grieve the loss of all lives.

Please choose empathy. Please choose to educate yourselves.

I Am Tired Of Watching Black People Die – Hannah Giorgis for BuzzFeed.

To be black in America is to exist in haunting, mundane proximity to death at all moments.”

Haunting deaths and feelings of helplessness – Roxane Gay for The New York Times

“It’s overwhelming to see what we are up against, to live in a world where too many people have their fingers on the triggers of guns aimed directly at black people.”

Death in Black and White – Michael Eric Dyson for The New York Times

“A nonviolent protest was hijacked by violence and so, too, was the debate about the legitimate grievances that black Americans face.”

Why Black Americans Fear the Police Nikole Hannah-Jones for ProPublica

“For those of you reading this who may not be black, or perhaps Latino, this is my chance to tell you that a substantial portion of your fellow citizens in the United States of America have little expectation of being treated fairly by the law or receiving justice.”

Killings symptomatic of broader problem President Barack Obama

“‘When people say black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter,’ Mr. Obama said. ‘It just means all lives matter.’ Still, he added, ‘The data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents.'”

We can oppose both violence by and toward police  – German Lopez for Vox

“You can oppose both violence against police and racial disparities in police shootings — by wanting to limit the unnecessary, unjust violence in the world. The policy solutions to these two issues also aren’t in conflict.”

St Louis’ Black Police Union Speaks out against Poor Policing – Shaun King for New York Daily News

“Even the name of the African-American police union in St. Louis, The Ethical Society of Police, clues us in to the fact that they felt like their white counterparts in law enforcement often lacked the basic integrity required of the job.”

How Dallas PD has been improving their policing – Philip Bump for The Washington Post

Transparent data, better training, building relationships with the community. The police department struck by this tragic attacks was an example of good policing in our country.

15 ways to end police brutality – Zak Cheney Rice for Mic

Summary of a report produced on improving policing for all parties – police and the policed alike.

Want more links?: A curriculum on race and racism in the United States of America

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