Non-Racist vs. Anti-Racist: Resources to improve our understanding


Hannah Michelle Bussa

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues, UNO has resources for students to educate themselves. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

As well-known activist and author Angela Davis said, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

Especially in this time of unrest and change, many people are working to improve themselves as anti-racists. A key part of this is self-education. However, at times, it can be difficult to access or afford materials for this education.

Luckily, all UNO students have access to Kanopy through Criss Library Services. Kanopy is an online streaming service that has videos spanning across many disciplines, from sciences to the arts. With a Criss Library Account, students can access hundreds of documentaries and other videos free of charge on any of their devices.

For UNO students wanting to improve themselves as anti-racists, Kanopy has three key documentaries that are a great place to start.

I Am Not Your Negro: James Baldwin and Race in America

For those wanting a look into the history of institutional racism in America and how we got to this point, this documentary connects the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s to the Black Lives Matter movement of today.

At the time of his death in 1987, James Baldwin had been working on a book called Remember This House about his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. This documentary uses the thirty pages he had completed to tell this story.

This film is not for the faint of heart, as it has powerful and vicious imagery. But for those who are looking to shock their systems and get to know the powerful truths of American history, this documentary is one to watch.

Say Her Name – The Life and Death of Sandra Bland

Though many know the names of Black men who have been killed due to police brutality in America, not as many may know about the Black women lost at the hands of the same violence. This documentary follows Sandra Bland’s family after her in-custody death.

Sandra Bland had been a Black Lives Matter activist herself, and an alumnus of an HBCU. This powerful story looks at the failures in the system that led to her death. Though it was ruled a suicide, this film looks deeper into the evidence surrounding her death after being arrested for a traffic violation.

For those wanting to learn more about an activist lost too soon and the impact her death had on her family and the world, “Say Her Name” is the perfect film.

Out of Omaha

For UNO students wanting to learn about injustices on a local level, “Out of Omaha” is the perfect documentary. This film follows twin brothers Darcell and Darrell Trotter right here in Omaha, Nebraska, including footage on UNO’s campus.

Omaha is more divided than it may seem. The racial divisions of Omaha are put under the microscope in this film. “Out of Omaha” opens eyes to injustices and what it takes to overcome them.

These three films are a place to start, and Kanopy has many more documentaries available for UNO students to watch. It may be difficult to navigate these times, but Kanopy is a great service in the path forward of self-improvement.

As author Ijeoma Oluo says, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”