Brie Larson Urges Fellow White People to Check Out Crowdsourced “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves”

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Brie Larson, our future Captain Marvel, is increasingly using her growing platform to try and do good in the world. Today, she retweeted a tweet from NY Times Magazine staff writer and host of the Still Processing podcast Jenna Wortham that contains a link to an amazing resource: the “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves.”

The “Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves” is the perfect thing to send both white allies genuinely interested in learning more, and that special Facebook commenter who loves playing “Devil’s Advocate.” Whenever anyone asks you for stats, “proof,” or info no one who has an actual human schedule has the kind of time to provide, you can send them here.

The creators of this document, who judging by the language in the intro are at least some or all white, seem to have started this just after November’s Presidential election. They say:

“We need to be thinking about how we are thinking about this election. This sense of comfort, of insulation from the horrors of America, is precisely what this syllabus is meant to disrupt. We, white people, clearly weren’t listening hard enough to people of color, to women, to queer people, to immigrants, to Muslims, to anyone who holds a marginalized identity. This did not come as a shock to many marginalized people. Instead, as a friend of mine put it: ‘I am hurt but my hurt comes mainly from having my fears proven. Not from surprise. I am so angry because there are so many people who needed this result to prove to them the divide of this country instead of listening to the voices of their token friends. Instead of hearing. Instead of trusting.’ Now is the time to hear. Now is the time to educate and propel that education into action.”

What’s cool too is that, while the document is primarily geared toward white people, it can also be extremely useful to us marginalized folks too. “People of Color” are a varied group, and we don’t all share the same histories and struggles. While it shouldn’t be on us to do the emotional labor of educating others on the struggles of our own groups, it is absolutely up to us to educate ourselves on the struggles of those who experience similar oppression that is nonetheless not the same.

For example, I am a Latina bisexual. I’ve never been black or Asian, nor have I ever been disabled. I’ve never been Muslim, and I have always been neurotypical. So, it’s just as important for me to fill in the gaps of my knowledge when it comes to being an advocate for other groups of which I’m not a part.

So, I’ll be heading right for the pieces in the document on Black Lives Matter, for example, and I’ve been meaning to read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow forever. There’s a piece called “How to Protest Islamophobia” that I’ll be looking into. And there’s a list of Resources for non-Black Asians on Anti-Blackness that should prove really useful.

I hope that more gets added that is related to the Latinx experience, both having to do with immigration as well as moving beyond immigration (like, I’m Puerto Rican. I’ve always been a U.S. Citizen, but you wouldn’t know it by the way Puerto Ricans who aren’t Lin-Manuel Miranda are treated. And hell, I’m sure he deals with plenty of shit, too). But this list is a great start, and I hope it continues to grow. It’s like one-stop shopping for information with which we can heal the country.

And while it’s on all of us to educate ourselves, it’s particularly important for white people to do so. Not only educate themselves on the causes and effects of racism, but to use this knowledge to actively dismantle racism however they can. As white people have the most power in this country (despite what those douchebag white supremacists in Charlottesville would have you believe), they are the ones in the prime position to do something about it.

Happy reading, everyone!

(image: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.