|English: No racism Lietuvių: Ne rasizmui (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
"So You Think You're Ant-Racist?"outlines what it calls "Six Critical Paradigm Shifts for Well-Intentioned White Folks." Here are two paradigm shifts that really stood out:
The Base Shift: Human relations programming --> Social justice activism
Food fairs, multicultural nights, and diversity festivals are fun events that may bring people together temporarily. But do they contribute to eliminating racism? The most anti-racist shift for white people is to understand that confronting racism is going to be uncomfortable, difficult, emotional, and painful. So why do we put so many resources into human relations programming? Who might we be trying to protect?
Focus on intent --> Focus on impactThese two shifts are also really useful to me, because I think we all have a tendency to become stuck in the inter-personal/intent box. It's good to remind ourselves that racism is about systems, social, political, and economic and that those systems can't be dismantled with inclusion/diversity efforts alone. Even more than that, those systems of racism operate whether or not we mean them to or not. Being a good or bad person or understanding oneself as not "personally" racist is immaterial to the way racism works. I think about these facts as I process discussions about voter suppression and the rampant coded racial discourse in this current election cycle.
Of course you don't mean to be racist. Neither do I. But as a White person, I'm still working on understanding racism and my own whiteness. I, too, am a product of racism. I must take responsibility for the impact I have, regardless of my intentions. Racism hurts, whether I mean it or not.
What about you? What are some anti-racism practices that keep you focused and engaged with the values of racial justice?