Let’s talk about race and diversity: resources to keep the conversation going

Carla Thomas

We recently shared our own thoughts, and those of a few key industry figures, on the topic of diversity and inclusion – specifically, but not exclusively, within the realm of digital marketing.

The conversations that started in 2020 were very important first steps – especially for an agency that had historically been pretty homogeneous – but for any truly meaningful impact to be achieved, they need to continue, becoming more frequent and resulting in actions off the back of it. In both our workplaces and our homes.

The Future of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report 2021 from Human Resources Today set out to find out if and how organisations have changed their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and the findings show that there is certainly still plenty of work to be done.

So, where to start? We believe the real effort comes in gaining knowledge and momentum and then, in turn, using the learnings to effect actual change. Here’s how we’ve started and how you could too…

Our team recommendations

There are millions of resources for education, perspective, empathy and awareness – available in different formats for different learning preferences. The trick is finding the most credible or recommended by reputable sources. Our team have shared a number of such resources internally and we’re hoping to help by sharing and updating this list as further content is created and discovered. Uncovering the lessons here will help you build and uphold expectations within your family and your business.

Podcasts

Arguably the preferred learning style of 2020! If you’re a podcast lover – these consolidated lists of the best podcasts currently available are a great starting point:

The eight podcasts recommended by Vanity Fair are great listens if you’re wanting to deepen your knowledge of Black History across the world. Told by some of the most knowledgeable and passionate in this space, these podcasts shed a different light and explore untold but just as important narratives.

Mashable’s list of 12 podcasts with black hosts covers something for all, from culture and society to self-help topics. Where talking about race is important, many of these podcasts showcase black voices beyond that. Listen to one of their recommendations to broaden your knowledge, understanding and engagement within the areas spoken about.

Of the 19 podcasts Stylist recommend for compelling discussions around race, The Receipts, No Country for Young Women and Slay in Your Lane (also a great book), come highly recommended. The podcasts highlighted in this list are especially great for gaining knowledge on the black British female experience.

If you have a relevant podcast series or episode, please do share with us. We’d love to include it here and if you’re looking to optimise your own series, we published a post on optimising your podcasts that is a great starting point.

Series and films

Another firm favourite – exacerbated by 2020 for most! Binge-worthy series and brilliant movies or documentaries give us a relaxing yet emotive way to learn. Here is an easy place to start:

Netflix launched a Black Lives Matter genre which to-date includes 49 recommended titles and is constantly growing. It has a mix of documentaries, political, sitcoms, stand-up comedy and non-fiction so something for all!

Builtvisible recommends:

Self Made is an inspirational docuseries based on the life of Madame C.J. Walker who was the first female self-made millionaire in America. The docuseries highlights the intersect of being both female and black in the 1800s during her rise to success.

She Did That is another uplifting documentary that can be watched on Netflix. Having a sole focus on the accomplishments of black women building successful businesses, it features tips that are helpful and inspiring to all who dream of the same.

Ted Talks

There’s nothing quite like a Ted Talk for bitesize insights that are both informative and digestible. We came across these useful collections:

The collection of TED Talks on the topic of Race are great for cultivating your understanding and finding ways to implement takeaways within your day-to-day and professional life. For example, the tips for inclusive leadership playlist talks about the wider business benefits of diversity and how to walk towards them.

For anyone working or interested in tech, the diversity hub features some great talks on why tech needs diversity and how to eliminate human bias in AI. For those wondering how to be an ally in creating diverse workspaces, there are some great talks on this too.

Race in America is a big global talking point, heightened by last year’s events. To help you understand racism in America, this Ted Talk playlist covers how to end systemic racism, the effects it has on communities and overcoming biases. Although spoken by Americans about America, a lot of the advice and talking points are also for the world to think about.

We’d love to hear further recommendation on individual talks that resonate and tackle specific areas within the topic of diversity and inclusion, so please let us know your favourites.

Books

Our team has a resident book worm, with her own Instagram account for reading recommendations and a book club Slack channel that the rest of us lap up for the next Kindle upload or bookstore wander (oh how we miss those right now!). Here is the best list we found and then a few personalised suggestions from the team below.

Oprah’s list is a great place to start with 44 titles across a mix of history, fiction and non-fiction.

Builtvisible recommends:

Queenie is a great novel based on the life of the fictional character Queenie which is relative to the experiences of black millennial women in the UK. Greatly told, this novel is witty, funny, emotional and relatable. It has been dubbed the new Bridget Jones!

My sister, the serial killer is set in Nigeria and covers a range of topics such as dating, family and colourism from a cultural standpoint. The general tone of the book is light-hearted, so it makes a great read for commuting.

An American Marriage follows the story of an African American woman and her husband after he is wrongly incarcerated. We see the knock-on effect this had on their lives and go on the wife’s journey of putting hers back together. The story is told from three perspectives, each encompassing guilt, love and racism.

Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race is a must read for a greater understanding of race relations in the UK. Reni Eddo-Lodge discusses the topic in very simple terms, bringing her points to life with examples of real world situations.

Businesses

One of the most direct and sustainable ways to support the Black community is to shop at Black-owned businesses, many of which have also been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

99 Black-owned UK businesses to support. There are loads of categories to choose from, from interior to skincare so take a look for inspiration.

Pro tip: Find and follow them on Instagram! If you are being presented with these products and services regularly you are more likely to see their latest items or offers and to think of them when it comes time to buy.

Professional platforms

As part of a re-look at our hiring process to ensure its inclusivity, we came across this hiring platform. Their aim is for 20% of all marketing and communications professionals to come from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background and for this 20% to stay in the industry until they reach the very top jobs. See how you can support their efforts here:

No turning back 2020


We urge you to start and maintain conversations on diversity within your teams, networks and communities. This is not an area to shy away from any longer, it can only make you stronger and better as a business and an individual.

Have you read or come across anything interesting that would be helpful for us to add? We’d love to build out this list. Drop us a line or comment on our social posts.

Join the Inner Circle

Industry leading insights direct to your inbox every month.