Media for CEOs: Black History Month

Books, films, podcasts & TV that could change how you think about racism.

by Orianna Rosa Royle
Last Updated: 16 Oct 2020

Diversity of thought is key to business growth. But it is often lacking in Britain's boardrooms, in part because senior business people tend to come from similar backgrounds.

If that sounds like your team, then you may be unaware of the broader inequality currently facing black people - both in and out of the office in the UK.

Knowledge of racism and black history can help you address the inequalities in and around your own firm, in order to be a good corporate citizen but also because it will ultimately make you stronger as a business.

Here are some films, series, books and podcasts to explore.

Read: Biased

Social psychologist, Jennifer Eberhardt reveals how unconscious bias affects every sector of society, leading to enormous disparities in the boardroom. In a single interaction, bias might slip by unnoticed. Over thousands of interactions everyday, they become a powerful force - one that Eberhardt shows can be overcome.

Read or watch: Naughts and crosses

Malorie Blackman reimagines present day London as part of an alternative history in which Africa colonised Europe 700 years prior, rather than the other way around - with Africans having made Europeans their slaves. The series which has been adapted into a six-part television series on BBC One, offers a fip side view of discrimination, power and class.

Listen: Code switch

From today's beauty standards and where people of colour fit into it to how racism affects our friendships, the podcast features a panel of journalists of colour commenting on how race and identity impacts every part of society and current affairs, from politics to pop culture.

Listen: How to build a racially diverse business

The Black Lives Matter protests have prompted boardroom soul searching about how to engage a more racially diverse workforce. So this Bottom Line episode on BBC One explores the importance of unconcious bias training, the benefits of diversity in the workplace and inclusivity solutions.

Watch: Hidden figures

Based on the untold true story of three African-American female pioneers who worked at NASA in the 1950s and '60s as "human computers". While making calculations which helped launch the manned spaceflight program, they also faced racial and gender discrimination at their workplace - an institution which supported prejudices.

Read: 100 Great Black Britons

To celebrate the role of people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain, Windrush campaigner Patrick Vernon and historian Dr Angelina Osborne penned 100 Great Black Britons. It challenges the concept of “Britishness” with in-depth exploration into each individual’s (often overlooked) contribution to British History.

Listen: Pod Save The People

Hosted by organiser and activist DeRay Mckesson, Pod Save the People analyses the day’s headlines and their deeper impact on race, society and culture, while providing guidance on how to tackle the issues.

Watch: Explained

The explainer series explores a wide range of culturally relevant topics from current events to social trends, featuring interviews with relevant experts.

In just 16 minutes, this episode discusses how slavery and centuries of systemic inequality has created a racial wealth gap today.

Watch: Blindspotting

Poignant in light of the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of US police, Blindspotting expresses the mental toll of witnessing a white police officer shoot a black man with no provocation. The timely film explores other key issues which impact black communities including gentrification and struggles with identity.

Read: How To Be an Antiracist

When it comes to racism, neutrality is not an option. In his guidebook, Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracism Research and Policy Center, helps readers become aware of racism and take the next steps to oppose it actively.

Image credit: Biased/ Penguin Random House press

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