“No one becomes becomes ‘not racist’, despite a tendency by Americans to to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be ‘anti-racist’ on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.”Ibram X. Kendi
“At the very least, participatory involvement with the many forms of art can enable us to see more in our experience, to hear more on normally unheard frequencies, to become conscious of what daily routines have obscured, what habit and convention have suppressed.”Maxine Greene
Racial injustice & systemic oppression permeate our institutions, and the arts are no exception. They can also be a powerful tool in deconstructing privilege and anti-racism work.
These resources are just a start, for us and the arts community. We pledge to do more, not only now but moving forward. Learn more about our Statement on Racial Equity, and please contact us to add to this page at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teaching Tolerance: Art and Activism Grades K-5
Art is a natural way for children to express their feelings and ideas. Looking at, thinking about and particularly making art together helps children build community and see themselves as important parts of their world. These twelve mini-lessons align with Common Core Standards and capitalize on children’s natural relationship to art by prompting them to examine the ways art relates to community leadership and activism. The lessons can be used individually or as a full series and are not dependent on sequence.
PBS: Art and Social Justice Grades 6-12
Many artists create work that intersects with political activism and social justice causes. Throughout history, art has been used as an accessible tool for communication, raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change. This video collection will introduce students to artists who create work that inspires dialogue about problems faced by communities around the world, and will provide inspiration for classroom projects with a social, public or political purpose.
The United States has seen escalating protests over the past week, following the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis police. Educators everywhere are asking how we can help students understand that this was not an isolated, tragic incident perpetrated by a few bad individuals, but part of a broader pattern of institutionalized racism. Institutional racism—a term coined by Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture) and Charles V. Hamilton in their 1967 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America—is what connects George Floyd and Breonna Taylor with Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Emmett Till, and the thousands of other people who have been killed because they were “black in America.”
This context seems vital for discussions both inside and outside the classroom. The following articles, published over the course of JSTOR Daily’s five years try to provide such context.
This collection of K-12 classroom blended and online learning solutions for educators and students promotes critical thinking and learning around historical and current events topics through the lens of diversity, bias and social justice. Filter dozens of lessons by grade level and topic, from “On the Rise: Anti-Semitism in Europe” to “Athletes and Activism”.
The GlobalOneness Project Grades K-12
The Global Oneness Project helps students “explore cultural, social, and environmental issues with a humanistic lens” through multicultural articles, webinars, films and photo-journalism. The easy-to-use website lets educators filter by grade, topic, standard, and accompanying lesson plans.
This free curriculum invites students to tell their own stories. Through telling them, they identify the challenges they face in a racialized society and articulate their visions for a future that offers inclusion, equity and justice to all diverse people who make up our society.
Book & Media
Lists to Deconstruct White Privilege and Support Conversations on Race & Racism
Browse this virtual library to find children’s books on activism, self-love and empowerment, Black history and libros en español. Includes links to videos of each book being read out loud.
“To help people be better allies, lists of antiracist books, films and podcasts are being published in droves. There’s never a bad time to learn, but such a list can become erroneously prescriptive, a balm to centuries-old lacerations that cut deeper than the individual reader…So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of books, films and podcasts about systemic racism, acknowledging that they are just books, films and podcasts. You’ll find research on how racism permeates everything from the criminal justice system to health care. “ – NPR’s CodeSwitch
Anti-Racism Reading, Listening and Watching ResourcesThis anti-racist resource guide was crafted amidst the anger of the latest black body turned hashtag #AhmaudArbery. It is consistently being updated to address the current climate of our country and the personal growth needed to sustain this life-long journey.It is important to start somewhere, even though there is no end point. This is a tool. This does not even brush the surface of anti-racism resources, but it is a start. Learning, re-learning, and decolonizing history are all necessary pieces of this journey, but should coincide with other things like listening, taking action, financially supporting, decentering whiteness, etc.
Black Artist Perspectives
ARTS.BLACK is a journal of art criticism from Black perspectives predicated on the belief that art criticism should be an accessible dialogue – a tool through which we question, celebrate, and talk back to the global world of contemporary art.
Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.
“When the story of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police began making news last week, Anthony McGill felt something roiling up inside him. The clarinetist, a veteran of the Cincinnati Symphony and Metropolitan Opera orchestras who now holds the principal clarinet chair at the New York Philharmonic — making him the first African American to hold a principal position in that 178-year-old ensemble — began to write down some thoughts. Then he grabbed his instrument.”
Social movements need people behind-the-scenes to organize and educate, provide resources via funding, and offer emotional support for those weighed down by the burden of activism. And then there are the artists, who use their creativity to articulate the range of feelings at the very heart of the movement. From murals to digital doodles to weaved portraits, these individuals are channeling their energy on calling attention to the pressing crisis of white supremacy.
America heard the sound of complete artistic freedom in black music, and then claimed that music as its own. “And that’s ironic,” Wesley Morris tells us. “Because this is the sound of a people who, for decades and centuries, have been denied freedom.”
Striving towards Equity in the Arts
HeArtWork provides workshops, conversations and consulting at the intersection of culture, identity, equity and art. Tina LaPadula and Daemond Arrindell have been facilitating racial equity and social justice workshops as a team since 2014, as representatives of Arts Corps, working with schools, community partners and arts & cultural organizations around Seattle.
They come to the work of social justice from a unique perspective and approach, bringing their creativity, teaching artistry and community development work into play. They feel that the complex framework of our country’s systematic inequities require nuanced tactics to interrupt them effectively.
What Does it Mean to Decolonize a Museum? by Elisa Shoenberger
In the past few years, museums across the US, Europe, and Australia are trying to tackle the challenge of decolonizing their institutions. However, the very meaning of decolonizing is being debated. Find more information about Decolonize this Place.
When, in 2015, students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa demanded the removal of a statue of British colonial and diamond merchant Cecil Rhodes from their campus, they initiated what was to become a global call to ‘decolonize the university’. In the same year, students at University College London began to ask the question: why is my curriculum white?
Decolonizing the Music Room is a nonprofit organization using research, training, and discourse to help music educators develop critical practices and challenge the established dominance of white Western European and white American music, practices, and narratives. DTMR aims to disrupt the minimization and erasure of non-dominant cultures and identities in the field of music education to build a more equitable future through their work.
As protests against the police killing of George Floyd continue to rock the US, people all over the world are reckoning with what they can do to directly support positive social and political change. Many have opened their pocket books to donate to progressive organizations that do legal work, push for political reforms, and pay bail bonds. If you are interested in financially supporting change in the arts world, here is one list to help direct your giving.
Black-Led Arts and Heritage Organizations in Washington State from Artist Trust
Artist Trust is committed to anti-racist work and recognize Black voices, stories, and artists have been erased throughout history because of systemic racism. We’re using the the power of our platform to uplift these voices.