In the process of writing my novel and starting this website, I’ve had to immerse myself in a culture I wasn’t part of. As a white man who lives in a rural county, I’m somewhat isolated. But since I was writing about a black man, I needed to understand black culture in a deeper way than I did previously.
I’ve always had an interest in racial issues, but I haven’t done a deep dive into the world of black Americans. Fortunately, the Internet’s a thing now, unlike when I was growing up, and there are plenty of places to learn, if you have the desire. Here are some of my primary sources:
Twitter. Almost my entire feed (my Twitter name is @PLDOF_) consists of African-Americans. They’re on all sides of the political and theological spectrum, so I get a wide range of opinions. Clicking on links to news stories is also a key way to get information. If one of the folks I follow believes something is significant enough to link to, I want to know why. (A future blog will list some of my favorite Twitter feeds).
- Blavity. This site is probably the one I check more than any other. Lots of news stories, and updated regularly. The site says it reaches more than 7 million millennials per month. That’s a lot of visits.
- TheGrio. A wide range of news, sports and entertainment coverage. And stories like this, which warm my heart.
- The Root. The Root is easily the most aggressive, in-your-face site on this list. It takes a more militant tone than the others I follow, and, in my opinion, is more slanted in its coverage. It makes no pretense of objectivity. That stance provides valuable insight into one segment of the black community, but that also makes it a challenge for white readers who aren’t used to that kind of thing.
- News One. Another site that’s frequently updated. It has some interesting articles, like this different take on how the Mueller Report is a sign of white power in America.
- BET News. The online news home of the venerable Black Entertainment Television. As might be expected, this site has a lot of video on it. There’s still some entertainment coverage on the site, but it’s much more news-focused.
- The Undefeated. This site is owned by ESPN, so it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of coverage of black athletes. But there’s a lot of great writing, too, and it even has a page dedicated to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs.
This list is far from exhaustive; there are many more sites that I regularly visit, and I’m sure I’ve left out lots of great sites. But in my daily visits, these are the ones I count on most often.
If you’re white, and you’re interested in learning more about black community and culture, you would do well to add these sites to your browser. You can’t understand a community — any community — without spending time in it.