A Two-Minute Primer on Anti-Racist Activism

A Two-Minute Primer on Anti-Racist Activism

This week, I reached a goal that’s been on my list for a while: I attended a training called Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice work put on by the Interaction Institute for Social Change in Boston.

As a white person, I believe that it’s my responsibility to actively work to integrate an anti-racist lens into my work and to deconstruct my own internalized racial superiority. While I believe we all have this responsibility, my organizing in solidarity with undocumented immigrants makes this feel all the more salient.

The training was great. My biggest takeaway was how important is to have two things in place before any meeting, particularly one with big power and privilege disparities in the room: a transparent decision-making process and a clear, mutually agreed-upon purpose for gathering.

One of my favorite parts of the training was a group exercise in which we brainstormed resistance stories of people moving towards an anti-racist world. Here’s the list that we quickly generated:

anti-racist resistance stories (second and third pages)

Racism manifests on four levels: internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural.

As a movement, we need to work at all of these levels to dismantle racism. Here are a few steps we can take to address racism at each of these levels:

1. Internalized:

Identify and transform our inner narratives related to internalized racial superiority (for white folks) and internalize racial inferiority (for people of color).

2. Interpersonal:

Speak up when we hear other people make racist remarks. You don’t need to wait to get it perfect. Even if you’re not exactly sure why another person’s statement is off, you can say something like, “What you just said isn’t sitting well with me.”

3. Institutional:

Work to identify and change policies, procedures, and practices at our workplaces that lead to harmful outcomes for people of color. And, create systems that lead to equitable access to resources and opportunity.

4. Structural:

Work to change laws and government policy that discriminate against people of color. Campaign for people work will work towards creating system and laws that are equitable and inclusive.

I was moved by how often I heard other participants (of all colors) say, “our job is not to solve racism in one conversation.”

We need to take the white savior hat off. One of us acting alone will never take the system down. Instead, being part of this movement is about showing up, over and over and over again.

I’m curious: How does this land? What questions do you have? What’s your next step to integrating anti-racist perspective and action into your life? I’d love to hear from you below!

In love and solidarity,

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