As Black History Month winds to a close, I thought I’d share my praxis for this year. I am, I’ll admit, cribbing from my church’s newsletter and blog a bit here.
It’s no secret that I am the white pastor of a white church in a pretty white town in a pretty white state (DeWitt, Clinton county, and Iowa are about 97%, 92%, and 86% white, respectively). It is easy for me to go through my day without ever entering a predominantly Black space or having a face-to-face conversation with a Black person. And what’s true in my daily life has also been true in my media consumption: a lot of the books I read, podcasts I listen to, people I follow on social media, and tv shows and movies I watch are predominantly white.
So, this year, I decided to do a little project for Black History Month. Instead of listening to more stories about, say, Henrietta Lacks, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Martin Luther King Jr., I decided to work on my media habits. I invested some time and energy in predominantly Black media. Admittedly, I was better at it at certain points in the month than I was at other points.
So, here’s where I ended up:
Twitter: I started following quite a few more Black people (or, at least, people who I know are Black). This includes @staceyabrams, @tressiemcphd, @JIJennings, @ReignOfApril, @BigGhostLtd, @Nettaaaaaaaa, @questlove, @BlackGirlNerds, @JamilahLemieux, @Combat_Jack, @brokeymcpoverty, @bomani_jones, @JamilSmith, @eveewing, @FeministaJones, @ProfessorCrunk, @Moore_Darnell, @writer9706, @RevDrBarber, @JoyAnnReid, @deray, @wkamaubell, @PureKwest, @revdrseed, @thephiwa, @pastortraci, @DaBuhuro1, @om3, @CoryBooker, and @BarackObama. A few of those were already on my feed, but many were added this month. And that’s a little more than 14% of the people I follow.
Podcasts:I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I looked at what I was listening to. Again, there were already some Black people on the list, but not enough. So, here are the Black (or predominantly Black) podcasts that I’m listening to. I should point out that there are very few podcasts that I listen to every episode of, so it’s not like I’m listening to the whole back catalog. But I am listening to these and they’re in my feed for the future: Reveal, In Black America, The Nod, Pod Save the People.
Finally, there were a few articles and podcast episodes that I really appreciated:
- Black History Month Includes Black Queer History, Too (Article from Out Magazine)
- Symbolism and Cynicism: On Being a Writer During Black History Month (Article from Believer Magazine)
- Jazmine Headley, Whose Child Was Snatched From Her Arms at a Public Benefits Office, Gets a Public Apology From New York City Council (Article from the Root)
- ‘What happens in this house stays in this house’: Black women sound the alarm about domestic violence in the African American community (Article from Mississippi Today)
- The Real Cost of Being the POC ‘In the Room’ Required to Shut Down Obviously Racist Products (Article from ColorLines)
- Black and White: Racism in America (Episode of The Liturgists podcast)
- Monumental Lies (Episode of Reveal podcast)
So, overall, not great, but a vast improvement over the terribly homogenous media environment I was in before.