How to Be An Anti-Racist, Pro-Black Ally: A Resource List

A resource list for the Asian American community to do our part in dismantling anti-Black racism.
June 13, 2020

Photo by Koshu Kunii via Unsplash

As protestors gather across the country to denounce anti-Black racism and a police system that unjustly targets and victimizes Black Americans, many Asian Americans are wondering: how can we help?

We know that for many of you, our readers, true allyship is something that you endeavor towards. And yet, given how prevalent anti-Blackness is in our communities, the journey to our own re-education and decolonization can be a long one. Perhaps you want to learn more about the history of allyship between our community and the Black community, or perhaps you want to talk to your friends and family and help them along and need some translations and timelines to start the conversation. While we can't claim to have an exhaustive set of resources (we are heartened to see so many out there!), we've compiled several links to books, articles, videos, graphics and more that we hope will help.

We each have a moral and ethical obligation to do our part in dismantling systemic racism, educating our community, examining our own biases and mistaken beliefs and supporting the Black community in whatever ways we can. This is particularly true as Asian Americans who have benefited from the work done by Black activists and educators in our own quest for equity, justice and equality. We hope some of these resources will help you in your own journey.


Start Here

A Comprehensive Anti-Racism Resource for Asian Americans
This living document, compiled by Emily Chi and Jessica Yi, formerly of The Slant, contains a comprehensive resource list to links on anti-Blackness, the model minority myth, Black Lives Matter, Vincent Chin, the L.A. Riots, as well as ways to speak to family and friends, including translations. While we have some of the links they've featured on this post, we strongly suggest you take a look at their resources as a place to answer many of your questions.

Resources for Non-Black Asians on Anti-Blackness
Another resource list, one that was first compiled in 2016 and has had its links verified recently.

Starting Conversations
Resources in 21 languages to help folks talk to their communities.

Fantasy World Master List of Resources on How to Dismantle Systemic Racism
For a resource list less centered on Asian Americans and created by a Black woman, Patia Borja has compiled a comprehensive living document for resources on dismantling systemic racism (mobile friendly version can be found here). The site is constantly being updated to add new links and includes links to bail funds, legal aid funds, Black businesses and more.

Racial Justice Resources
Racial justice resources, including resources for educators and a timeline of events that led to protests (linked below).

Scaffolded Anti-Racist Resources
This document aims to address anti-racism through stages. While it's targeted towards a white population, this resource is helpful in identifying the responses people might have when confronted with the issues surrounding systemic racism and the action that needs to be taken, along with activities and resources to educate oneself.


Coalition History 101

The Black Power Movement and the Asian American Movement
A very quick, shallow introduction to the history and influence of the Black Power Movement on the Asian American Movement. Useful for someone who needs an overview.

3 Ways Black People Have Shown Solidarity with Asians that We Don’t Talk About
There needs to be a deeper dive into the points raised in this article, but basically, it provides lesser known connections between Black and Asian communities. For instance, Vietnamese-owned nail salons targeted low-income Black communities when opening businesses, and we saw that the majority of interracial marriages were between Asian men and Black women during the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act, when it was hard for Asian women to enter the United States. Our communities have been connected and have been allies to each other for a very long time.

The Secret History of South Asian and African American Solidarity
A fascinating look into South Asian and Black solidarity throughout history. From Black newspapers covering the anti-colonial unrest in India within a racial framework to Black activists supporting the Indian freedom movement, there is a long coalition history that must not be forgotten.

Black and Asian American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List
A curated list compiled by Black Women Radicals and the Asian American Feminist Collective of Asian American and Black feminists working together to build movements.

Activist Amy Uyematsu Explains Concept of "Yellow Power"
Writing in 1969, Amy Uyematsu writes about the relationship between the Yellow Power and Black Power movements. While some of the language seems dated, it's still a valuable piece from an activist of that time.

Yuri, Tupac and a Harlem House
On the parallel stories of Yuri Kochiyama and Tupac, written by Taiyo Na in 2014 after Kochiyama's death.

Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity by Vijay Prashad
In this landmark work, historian Vijay Prashad refuses to engage the typical racial discussion that matches people of color against each other while institutionalizing the primacy of the white majority. Instead he examines more than five centuries of remarkable historical evidence of cultural and political interaction between Blacks and Asians around the world, in which they have exchanged cultural and religious symbols, appropriated personas and lifestyles and worked together to achieve political change.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs
A documentary tracing the evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American activist who was involved in the Black Power Movement in the 1960s and continued as an activist for auto workers' rights, civil rights and other social change for the rest of her life.


What is Today's Movement About?

A Timeline of Events that Led to the 2020 'Fed Up'-rising
A clear and concise timeline that traces this country's history of violence (particularly state-sanctioned) against Black people, from the beginning of slavery in America to the creation of America's first police force and subsequent slave revolts through Emmett Till and Bloody Sunday up to Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and other recent murders to today. A must-read for anyone unclear of the context in which today's protests occur.

Why This Started in Minneapolis
An informative piece on why Minneapolis' history and geopolitical climate led to George Floyd's murder and subsequent protests. It's a city of long-time racial tension and segregation, hidden behind the guise of a progressive metropolis.


Drawing Parallels

Strange Fruit of the Black Pacific: Imperialism's Racial Justice and Its Fugitives by Vince Schleitwiler
Set between the rise of the United States and Japan as Pacific imperial powers in the 1890s and the aftermath of the latter's defeat in World War II, Strange Fruit of the Black Pacific traces the interrelated migrations of African Americans, Japanese Americans and Filipinos across U.S. domains.

Black Lives Matter Activist: Why We Stand with Kashmir
An excerpt from a 2019 address given by Black Lives Matter activist Linda Cheriyan at a vigil for Kashmir, drawing parallels between the occupation and oppression of Kashmir with the oppression faced by Black people in America.

Black Lives Matter, Taiwan's '228 Incident,' and the Transnational Struggle for Liberation
An essay by Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein, drawing parallels between Eric Garner and the oppression of Black people at the hands of state-sanctioned, fascist governments, with the oppression Taiwanese people faced over half a century ago at the hands of the Kuomintang and lessons that can be learned.

Bitter Fruits: On Ferguson and the Ghosts of the Philippine-American War
An essay by Patrick Rosal linking parallels between the justification used for state brutality in this country and the justification of brutalities committed against Filipinos during the Philippine-American War.

To Chinese Immigrants in the U.S. in June 2020
A webcomic by Claire Zhang tracing the Tiananmen Square Massacre with what's happening today. With Chinese translations.


Responses to Asian Anti-Blackness and Asian Complicity

George Floyd death eases tensions between two communities
A BBC article that details the history of tensions between Minneapolis's Hmong community and the Black community, and how a mother of a young Hmong man who was also killed by the police joined the protests, along with others part of a Hmongs 4 Black Lives group.

"We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd" - The Patriot Act
Hasan Minhaj makes an impassioned plea to the Asian American community not to be complicit or silent.

Tou Thao and the Myths of Asian American Solidarity
A piece that calls for Asian Americans to think about who we're talking about when we're talking to Asian Americans — and if we're truly representing all Asian Americans or only some of us. Fodder for thinking about the fallacy of lumping us all into one.

A Letter from a Yale student to the Chinese American Community
Eileen Huang, a junior at Yale, writes an open letter to the Chinese American community about anti-Blackness in the Asian American community. The website includes translations of the letter into Korean and Chinese (also linked below). There has since been a critique to the letter and a response from another student to that critique. It may be worthwhile to read through all of them and share them with friends and family to continue to have deeper conversations about this issue.

Asian Americans Need to Talk About Anti-Blackness in Our Communities
This article lays down the Asian American response to the most recent Black Lives Matter protests, either with calls for solidarity or others criticizing protesters. It calls for Asian Americans and other people of color to stand with Black communities, drawing upon our intertwined history such as the L.A. Riots, coalitions during the Civil Rights Era and injustices towards Asian Americans such as Vincent Chin's murder.

It's Time for Asian Americans to Unite in Solidarity with Black Americans
Penned by Jeff Yang, this piece calls for Asian American voices to be loud and traces the history of the debt our community owes to Black activists in our own search for civil rights in America.

Officer Who Stood By as George Floyd Died Highlights Complex Asian American, Black Relations
On the tensions between Black and Asian American communities and the necessity to break down anti-Blackness.

'Model Minority' Myth Again Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians and Blacks
A 2017 piece from NPR's Kat Chow on the ways the myth of the model minority has been used to obstruct coalition between Asian Americans and Black Americans.

Showing Up for Black Lives Matter
A piece we published in 2014 by Nadia Khastagir.

An Apology to Black Folks
A piece we published in 2014 by Kai-Ming Ko.

Asian Allyship: Myths and Facts
Graphics by Jason Kim that answer some commonly asked questions and misconceptions.


Translations to Talk to Our Communities

There are many translations and helpful graphics being made out there. We've included a few we've seen circulated a little more often, but we encourage you to look at the Anti-Racism Resources for Asians list, as they have broken them down by language/ethnicity.

Useful Terms Translated into Other Languages

Letters for Black Lives
Originally published in 2016, the letter and many translations have been updated for 2020. This letter is a good place to start as you begin to talk to family members or other community members who may not understand the significance or context of what is going on. There is also a Canadian version and South Asian American version.

Eileen Huang's Letter to the Chinese Community
Translated into Chinese and Korean.

Addressing Anti-Blackness Within the Vietnamese/Chinese and Asian Community
A thorough list of articles on Black Lives Matter, with Vietnamese language posts for sharing with friends and family. Video links include Vietnamese and Chinese subtitles. Also includes translations for how to talk about the movement.

An article explaining the current situation in Chinese

The Difference Between Overt and Covert Racism (image)
Translated into Japanese and Korean


How to Talk to Your Children

Black Lives Matter Instructional Library
Click to see different categories of books and hear books read aloud. Includes children's books on activism/advocacy like "A is for Activist," Black history, self-love and empowerment, books in Spanish, etc.

Teaching Tolerance
A website full of teaching resources for classrooms, parents and for the workplace. Topics include race and ethnicity, gender and sexual identity, ability, class, bullying, etc.

How to Talk to Our Kids About Race
This webpage includes a list of podcasts, articles, books and more for parents to learn how to talk to their children about race based on their age, as well as resources from NPR, National Geographic, Sesame Street and more. There is also a small list of children’s books to help spark those conversations.

Other links for families:


Anti-Racist Media to Educate Yourself

Black Lives Matter: Movies, TV Shows and Books on Systemic Racism
This CNET article lists books, movies, shows and children's books on systemic racism and is a good place to start.

Workshops / Workbooks / Webinars / Educational Resources

Anti-Racism Educational Resources
Anti-racism educational resources. Includes articles/books/podcasts/webinars for adults; lesson plans/guides for parents/educators; media resources on racism; etc.  

Ellie Yang Camp Asian American Anti-Racism Writing Prompts
Ellie Yang Camp provides a three-pronged approach for Asian Americans towards anti-racism. She provides ways to think through your understanding of whiteness and the model minority myth, how to unlearn anti-blackness and how to develop a path toward compassion and self-love.

Black Life Matters: Anti-Racism Resources for Social Workers and Therapists
Provides a list of free anti-racist webinars targeted towards social workers. Also includes a list of mental health reources for BIPOC.

A group that facilitates workshops to help unlearn racism and internalized tools of oppression. They have a group for Chinese Americans as well as People of Color.


Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (Free on Spotify)
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and anti-racists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law and science — including the story of his own awakening to anti-racism — bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow is a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status — denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement. Since its publication in 2010, the book has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year; been dubbed the “secular bible of a new social movement” by numerous commentators, including Cornel West; and has led to consciousness-raising efforts in universities, churches, community centers, re-entry centers and prisons nationwide. The New Jim Crow tells a truth our nation has been reluctant to face.

The End of Policing by Alex Vitale (free ebook)
This book attempts to spark public discussion by revealing the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control. It shows how the expansion of police authority is inconsistent with community empowerment, social justice — even public safety. Drawing on groundbreaking research from across the world and covering virtually every area in the increasingly broad range of police work, Alex Vitale demonstrates how law enforcement has come to exacerbate the very problems it is supposed to solve. In contrast, there are places where the robust implementation of policing alternatives — such as legalization, restorative justice and harm reduction — has led to a decrease in crime, spending and injustice. The best solution to bad policing may be an end to policing.

Verso has made several of their other ebooks available for free:

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Stephenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination and legal brinksmanship — and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to "model minorities" in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

    Free Content from Publishers
    There are several publishers out there making books and articles relevant to the Black Lives Matter movement free for a limited time. We've listed several of these, but there are many more.

    Film / Television

    When They See Us (Netflix)
    A television miniseries based on the true story of the Central Park Five.

    Just Mercy (free for month of June to rent)
    A film based on Bryan Stephenson's memoir, following his early years forming the Equal Justice Initiative and his defense of a man wrongly convicted of murder sitting on death row.

    Fruitvale Station
    An award-winning film based on the true story of Oscar Grant, who was murdered by the police in Oakland, Calif. The film follows Grant's last day.

    The 13th (Netflix)
    Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

    Selma (free for month of June to rent)
    Telling the story of the marches, including Bloody Sunday, that took place in Selma, Ala., that paved way for the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

    The Hate U Give (Hulu)
    Based on the bestselling YA novel, this movie follows a young Black girl trying to fit in at her wealthy, predominantly white school and the complications that arise after she witnesses one of her friends killed by a police officer.

    A list of other documentaries on racial justice available for viewing on Netflix


    1619 Podcast
    This podcast narrated by Nikole Hannah-Jones details the year 1619 to present and the history of enslaved Africans brought to Virginia. This five episode series covers topics including land ownership, healthcare, music and plantation life.

    Brunch & Budget Podcast: How the Racial Wealth Divide Affects Your Wallet Part 1
    This podcast episode highlights the ways the racial wealth divide is perpetuated by art, media and culture. Topics include generational poverty, American money culture, redlining and more, as far back as Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the present.

    Code Switch
    A podcast examining the intersections of race, ethnicity and culture.

    Voices of the Movement
    A podcast bringing stories and reflections from leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.


    Ways to Help

    Supporting the Movement — Bail Funds, Mutual Aid, Legal Resources and more

    National Resource List
    Includes links to legal providers and action items for people to help in various ways.

    National Bail Out
    National Bail Out is a Black-led and Black-centered collective of abolitionist organizers, lawyers and activists building a community-based movement to support Black folks and end systems of pretrial detention and ultimately mass incarceration. 

    Bail Funds
    Organized by state.

    Mutual Aid Document
    Originally created for Fordham University students, this document includes links to mutual aid funds, individual funds, fundraisers, jail support, bail funds and more.

    Feed the Revolution
    Nikkei Progressives and Azay in L.A.’s Little Tokyo are raising funds to serve food at the next Black Lives Matter L.A. meeting on June 14.

    Supporting Black-Owned Businesses

    Black-Owned Bookstores in the United States
    This is a crowdsourced list of Black-owned bookstores categorized by state.

    More Black-Owned Independent Bookstores
    A list compiled by LitHub which lists by state and also includes online-only stores.

    MOFAD Community Food Resources List
    Links to Black-owned organizations and restaurants that are providing food and meals to protestors and those affected by COVID-19.

    Guide to Black-Owned Restaurants in NYC's Five Boroughs

    List of Guides to Black-Owned Restaurants in L.A. and Orange County

    NYC Black-Owned Businesses

    Black-Owned Etsy Shops

    Supporting Mental Health Resources for the Black Community

    Sista Afya
    Provides women from across the Black diaspora with low-cost group therapy sessions, workshops and more, which cover topics like managing the stress sparked by consuming news.

    Therapy for Black Girls
    Their mission is to combat stigma around therapy that might otherwise prevent Black women from seeking care. TBG includes a podcast, directory of culturally competent therapists and more.

    Inclusive Therapists
    Includes Directory of Inclusive Therapists, Racial Justice Resources for Therapists and Learners, and more

    Decolonizing Therapy (Dr. Jennifer Mullan)
    Focuses specifically on Queer Indigenous Black Brown People of Color (QIBPOC)

    Supporting Asian American Businesses

    How to Support Asian American Businesses Looted During Nationwide Protests
    A compilation of businesses that experienced damage during protests. The list is not comprehensive, but includes GoFundMe links for certain states and links to organizations that will help distribute funds to Asian American businesses that need recovery assistance.

    Recovery Fund for NYC Chinatown Businesses Damaged
    Organized by the Chinatown Partnership

    A couple more GoFundMes for specific businesses:

    Joy's Beauty Supply in San Bernadino, Calif.
    The Kang's beauty shop, which they have owned for 20 years, was damaged during protests. These funds will help pay for damages done to the shop.

    Sunny Optometry, Santa Monica, Calif.
    This small optometry business, run by a 90% women staff of Asian, Black and Latinos, is raising money to pay for damages and lost inventory.

    Kings Jewelry in Bronx, N.Y.
    The Shen family is raising money for their mom's medical bills, store damages, car damages, and to pay back their customers whose items were stolen by looters during a protest in New York.


    Karissa Chen


    Karissa Chen is Editor-in-Chief of Hyphen magazine. She also serves as the Senior Literature Editor.