Don't Forget to Include Joy in Your Fight for Racial Justice

A photo of two Black women standing against a white wall with huge smiles. They are laughing.
Photo by Thought Catalog.

If you are one of the many (probably white) people waking up to the need for racial justice and trying to educate yourself about all the problems Black, Indigenous, and other racialized people face, you might feel like your life has just become full of one atrocity after another.

While it is CRITICAL to remember that being exhausted, overwhelmed, and depressed from reading about injustice is nothing compared to actually experiencing it, it is also critical that we don't see BIPOC folks only through a lens of suffering.

If we only observe the misery of any particular group of people, we get a pretty damaging, one-dimensional view of who they are.

Remember: JOY is a thing! And it matters! Seeing and celebrating Black and Indigenous joy, sovereignty, and fun is vital to the movement.

So how do you do that?

Simply mix joyful and beautiful content made by and about BIPOC folks in with the tough stuff.

On Instagram, look up the #indigenouspride, #blackboyjoy, and #blackgirlmagic hashtags. Follow some artists whose work you just love (some of my faves are @coilyandcute @makerchamp @ohhappydani and @holysmoookes)

On Netflix, watch an old school Queen Latifah or Will Smith rom-com, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Beyonce's Homecoming, Michelle Obama's Becoming, The Last Dance, #blackAF, Nailed It, or some standup by a Black comedian.

Check out some podcasts: 2 Dope Queens (now finished, but still funny and brilliant), Tell Them I Am, Coffee With My Ma (some episodes are tougher than others), Scam Goddess, or The Nod.

Basically, pick your medium of choice and then look up BIPOC creators working with it and read/watch/view/listen to their work! Google is your friend. You are allowed to search "Black indie folk musicians" or "Indigenous comedy writers" if you don't know where to start.

Oh. And don't pirate their work. For pete's sake.

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