Today is International Anti-Racism Day, and the theme for this year is “Youth standing up against racism”. They took the streets in large numbers during the 2020 Black Lives Matter marches to protest racial injustice. This day encourages everyone to reflect on their own behaviour and racial prejudices in order to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination.
Why 21 March?
On March 21, 1960, South-African police opened fire on a black crowd protesting apartheid pass-laws in Sharepville, a township near Johannesburg. This law required non-whites to carry papers at all times so that the police could control their movements at all times. The Pan African Congress (PAC) called a national day of protest. They urged their supporters to go to police stations, hand in their passes and let themselves be arrested. When the Sharpeville police called in reinforcements because the crowd was growing, the peaceful protest devolved into a bloodbath. Almost 200 people were injured and 69 people, including 10 children, were killed.
The United Nations declared March 21st to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In modern-day South-Africa, the 21st of March is celebrated as a public holiday in honor of human rights.
Why do we still need this day?
Racism still exists in many forms in our modern society. In Western society, we mostly talk about structural racism. Structural racism is a system in which public policies, institutional practices, cultural representations and other norms all contribute to the perpetuation of racial group inequity in various ways.
Anti-racism is a process and people must become aware of the problems in society. Dare to engage in a dialogue and educate yourself. We’ve compiled a list of interesting sources down below.
When They See Us is a Netflix series based on the true story about the wrongful prosecution of five boys in 1989 for raping a white woman in Central Park, New York.
13th is a Netflix documentary that explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the US. It is titled after the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery except as a punishment for conviction of a crime.
Code Switch is a podcast made by journalists of colour in which they have conversations about race and how it impacts every part of society. From politics to sports and everything in between.
Momentum is a podcast hosted by Chevon and Hiba that features movement voices, stories and strategies for racial injustice.
Uncomfortable conversations with a black man is a YouTube channel made by Emmanuel Acho. He talks about race with many different people.
Dipsaus is a Dutch podcast by and for women of colour. Dipsaus is socially critical, culturally interested, politically involved and always with a good dose of humour, originality and deep-rooted self-conceit.
I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript Remember This House. The film explores the history of racism in the US and is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
Baratunde Thurston explores the phenomenon of white Americans calling the police on black Americans who have committed the crimes of … eating, walking or generally “living while black.”
“I’m Not Racist” is a song by American hip hop artist Joyner Lucas. It features a heated discussion about race and society from the perspective of a white man and a black man.
Ook Hier. Ervaringen van Racisme (Also Here. Experiences of Racism) is a Dutch documentary created by presenter Dwight van van de Vijver. He portrays Dutch people who are subjected to racisme on a regular or even daily basis in the Netherlands.
Verdacht (Suspicious) is a Dutch documentary in which 14 Dutch people report their bizarre experiences with police controls.
In every episode the Dutch podcast A World From Scratch, Tamar Guttmann gives her guests an imaginary blank sheet and pencil and asks them to imagine the system of their field from scratch. Listen to the podcast episode of “Racial Equality From Scratch” with Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing.
Belgium colonized Congo for many years. Throughout 6 episodes of the series Kinderen van de Kolonie (Children of the Colony), Congolese and Belgians discuss their personal memories of the colony and its impact on their lives.
Zwijgen is geen optie (Silence is not an option) is a Belgian podcast featuring heartfelt conversations with admirable people about the important issues of our time. In the episode ‘racisme dient een doel’ (racism has a goal), we hear Olivia Rutazibwa speak. She is a professor at the University of Portsmouth and effortlessly connects racism, social inequality and colonial history.
Le bon, l’aveugle et le racisme is a French short film about Theodore, an American slave who managed to escape from his owners. Unfortunately for him, they found his trail.