📌 A quick disclaimer
This forms part of our ‘How to be antiracist’ pathway in our Inclusion Works programme. For this pathway, we’ve made a conscious decision to focus on racism directed at Black people, given the current climate and Black Lives Matter movement.
We appreciate that racism is a major issue for other groups in America and around the world, and we’d love to do that justice in future content.
For now, we’d welcome your views and experiences on all forms of racism — please join the conversation here.
We also appreciate that people have different experiences of racism and are at different points in their journey learning about what they can do to combat it. This learning pathway is best suited to white people and non-Black people of colour that consider themselves at a beginner or intermediate level of their antiracism education.
An ongoing self-education about racism will help you:
✅ unlearn racist patterns in your own thinking
✅ learn to see and take issue with racist patterns in society — this includes thinking critically about media, politics and what happens at work
✅ stop ‘personalising’ racial groups and attributing disparities to the behaviours or qualities of the group members. For instance, “Black neighbourhoods are overpoliced because they are violent” or “I never meet Asian applicants for interview because they have no interest in my industry.”
✅ keep open ears and an open mind when people of colour point out a problem
✅ work to understand to the best of your ability what it is like to not have a privilege that you have
Ida B Wells Art GIF by @studiosoriginals.
Self-education is particularly important for white people. White people who haven’t experienced racism (we acknowledge some white people have) have the most work to do to ‘get it’. But what is getting it?
Diane Flinn, a white woman and managing partner of Diversity Matters, says:
I believe that white allies can “get it” if we define “getting it” as becoming attuned to the subtle effects of racial bias in everyday interactions and environments. We can “get it” if we recognise the systemic presence of racism and how race-based oppression is allowed to continue. If we identify and own racial privilege and, as white people, have our own experiences of exclusion so we can authentically empathise, then we are “getting it.” We “get it” when we value equity, human rights and social justice.
From White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy, a Q&A with Teaching Tolerance.
✅ Challenge yourself to think of your place within racism. Reflect and ‘confess’ (privately is a fine place to start) to the times that you have made racist assumptions, turned a blind eye or upheld a racist practice without realising.
✅ Take stock of your discomfort and debrief with someone if you can.
💡 A note for white people: don’t expect help or energy from a person of colour when you are emotional unless you really know it’s okay. (Much more on this in our pathway How to be a Better Ally.)
✅ Ask yourself, “Why did I have to seek this out? Was there a reason I was not taught this at school or through my upbringing? Did I choose to not see something?”
Original tweet by @wyattcenac.
✅ Trust marginalised voices have a perspective that you do not have if you are not part of that group
✅ Remember that high-profile racist acts often reflect generalised attitudes rather than being an anomaly caused by one evil person. Ask yourself, “Could that have been me doing that racist thing? Or someone I know?”
💡 Millions of Amy Coopers on The Cut addresses this. Amy Cooper was socialised to leverage a deadly racist trope (that she was a white female victim being threatened by a Black man) for comfort and triumph in an argument. How many women socialised like Amy might do — or have done — a similar thing?
✅ Pass along resources and inspiration. Lend books, send links and buy gifts for others to share self-education resources. Be vulnerable, humble and share what you unlearned and learned.
✅ Take time, value introspection and make it stick. Self-education is a journey, not a quick fix. There is no Antiracism 101 or Woke in 10 Minutes. Even people that do antiracist work can show racist tendencies in other areas of their life.
📈 For example, research (Matlock & DiAngelo, 2015) shows that white parents that profess to be antiracist still make racist choices about the schools they send their children and deny their children’s awareness of race.
🖱️ Explore these multimedia hubs of resources
Anti-racism Resource Guide curated by Ariba Jahan
Anti-Racism Resources curated by Survivors Network (more UK focus)
A Detailed List of Anti-Racism Resources curated by Katie Couric, Wake Up Call on Medium
📚 Add some of these books to your reading list
Books to Read for a Better Understanding of Systemic Racism, Whiteness and the Black Experience, list, People
13 Books You Should Read About Black Lives, list, The Strategist
These Books Can Help You Explain Racism and Protest to Your Kids, list, NY Times
Education Teachers GIF by @VarkeyFoundation.
🎧 Subscribe to a new podcast series
The top 10 podcasts to think about race, diversity and equity at work, list, EU Startups
Podcast recommendations, list, About Race (the website for Renni Eddo-Lodge’s About Race podcast)
✍️ Empathise with raw and personal accounts
First Encounters With Racism, collection of short essays, The New York Times
Native Americans are recasting views of indigenous life, article and photography, National Geographic
Finding Asian Identity in a Black and White America, essay, Vice
📻 Listen to playlists
Some strong language
Black Lives Matter, playlist, Spotify
Hip-Hop songs tackling racism and other social injustices, playlist, YouTube
This Is How I Feel: A Playlist By Young Black Listeners, curation of YouTube videos with notes from contributors and Spotify playlist, NPR
From the music video for Solange feat. Sampha — Don’t Touch My Hair.
📺 Watch documentaries, feature films, short films and series
Ten “Must Watch” Black History Documentaries, list, PBS
Black Lives Matter, genre, Netflix
Anti-racism films, curation, National Film Board of Canada — a mixture of short and feature-length films you can watch on their website for free
What is Systemic Racism?, 8-part video series, Race Forward — great for discussing with your team
🔎 Take a critical eye to racial disparities through news, data and analysis about current affairs
For example, you could learn about racism through Coronavirus:
The COVID Racial Data Tracker, US focus
COVID-19 is deadlier for black Brazilians, a legacy of structural racism that dates back to slavery, The Conversation, Brazil focus
Coronavirus is the ultimate demonstration of the real-world impact of racism, The Guardian, UK focus
Reading Read GIF by @StevenKraan.
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