First Step: Self-education to Combat Anti-Black Racism

Do the Deep Work: When we’re not on social media, what are we doing?

Awareness is important and essential – but what happens when we step away from our screens? What will happen a week from now? A month? A year?
Anti-racism work is an ongoing, introspective, deeply connected process that involves a commitment to work on ourselves as individuals. This self-education is essential because it is a foundational step that makes further systemic work possible and effective.



We have a deep responsibility to educate ourselves and actively work within our family circles, wider social circles, and our cultural and religious communities from a place of knowledge. This means that we must have a willingness to tread into uncomfortable territory.
This is the territory where we contend with our role in facilitating and benefiting from anti-Black practices, where we challenge familial, social, and cultural norms while engaging in self-education as a lifelong habit. This territory does not accommodate a one-time “fix.”
For white people and non-black POC, the work cannot simply end with heartbreak and outrage. The work cannot end with the deep shame we may feel for not doing enough. The work doesn’t end with the alleviation of that shame through social media posting. The work doesn’t end with posts, re-tweets, and shares.

Social media is an essential, necessary, public form of creating awareness and inciting action. But, the work we do when we step away from our screens is absolutely vital.

This is a first step reading guide. 

First Step Guide

It’s a short, concise selection of books, films, and articles meant to serve as just that – a first step into deeper work. Two sources for this list are included at the end of this post. They include numerous titles beyond the ones mentioned here.
Yes, let’s stay informed and let’s raise awareness. But, let’s also commit to doing the deep work. It’s essential and it’s where change happens.

1. Books




For younger readers, but incredibly helpful for everyone:


The following titles have been recommended by the Festival of Literary Diversity and provide essential insight into anti-Black racism in Canada.



2. Films


  • When they See Us (Ava DuVernay) – Netflix
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) – Rent on YouTube or Google Play
  • I Am Not Your Negro – Rent on YouTube or Google Play
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) – Rent on YouTube or Google Play

3. Articles


  • Anti-Racism Resources – longer list of reading, audio, and visual material compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein, May 2020
  • Black History Month Library – an online library of black history resources compiled into a fascinating virtual collection by Charles Preston.

    Do you have an essential read that helped you better understand anti-Black racism? Send us a note at and we’ll continue to update our list with more resources.