Reflections on Anti-Racism
Ijeoma Oluo, author of the NYT bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race, tells us, “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.” Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility reminds white people that to avoid re-wounding people who have already been harmed by racism, white people need to start by doing anti-racism work on ourselves and among each other.
I’m grateful for a plethora of books, podcasts, and webinars, and for colleagues and friends who help me to move forward in my own growth.
Here’s some of what I’m learning:
I’m learning that as a white person, if I’m feeling comfortable with myself and what I’m doing to combat racism, then it’s likely that I’m not fully awake to the reality of systemic racism in this country.
I’m learning that I don’t get to be an exemplary white person who never messes up, who never says or acts in ways that cause harm. I’m learning that as uncomfortable as it is to be confronted with my shortcomings, my discomfort cannot be compared to the experiences of those who are on the receiving end of racist words and actions.
I’m learning that if I’m called out and I feel defensive, even if I believe with every bone in my body that I was in the right or that I was misunderstood, what I’m called on to do is to listen and believe and strive to understand.
I’m learning that the internal work is not enough – I need to take a hard look at the systems embedded in my own business, the organizations I belong to, and in my community, and take sustainable measures to bring about inclusion and equity.
I’m learning to take what Professor Michele Williams termed “uncomfortable, imperfect action.”
What I’ve been watching/hearing this week:
Antiracism, Allyship, and Authenticity: Building Internal Capacity for Institutional Change. Presented by the Center for Positive Organizations of the University of Michigan and the Managerial and Organizational Cognition Division of the Academy of Management: https://positiveorgs.bus.umich.edu/videos/antiracism-allyship-and-authenticity/
Robin DiAngelo and Resmaa Menakem In Conversation with Krista Tippet of On Being (DiAngelo is author of White Fragility and Resmaa Menakem is author of My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies). https://onbeing.org/programs/robin-diangelo-and-resmaa-menakem-in-conversation/