Listening matters. What can be done in the face of injustice and cultural division? We can listen to each other. George Floyd died not under the knee of one man but under the knee of a nation. He couldn’t breathe. His pleas were ignored. Please let’s not ignore any of our number ever again. Please, let’s listen to each other. Race is not a biological truth, it’s a cultural one. Race is built of stories—stories we pass on and tell ourselves, stories powerful enough to kill and subjugate. Stories are also powerful enough to heal and unite. But only if we listen to others. Let’s stop telling and explaining and opinionating and start listening. Some cultural work is difficult and requires a law degree or a vast political machine. By contrast listening is simple, easily available, costs nothing. Listening just takes a teaspoon of courage and a pinch of curiosity and a small commitment of time. Please let’s be brave enough to talk about race—and brave enough to listen without talking. Let’s be curious enough to listen to understand each other’s stories. Join us as we use the ALP template to listen to experiences of race and racism. Stories create the reality we all share. Let’s exchange stories and make that reality just and joyful.
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And if you want to do something but can’t quite manage a listening session and aren’t up to a protest, here are a few books we recommend. Reading, after all, is a kind of listening and an action that leads to sympathy and understanding.
Between the World and Me by Ta-nehisi Coates
history / essay
Please read this book.
The Water Dancer by Ta-nehisi Coates
If you’ve had too much news and reality, escape to this retelling of the underground railroad— in which stories are the key to liberation.
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
If you’re white and you believe racism is not a problem or not your probem or if (like me) you didn’t really understand what “institutional racism” was, please take a breath and read this book.
Incendiary Art by Patricia Smith
Please read “Sagas of the Accidental Saint.”