Let me guess,
- Read all of the ten-step guides to becoming anti-racist.
- Bought all of the new popular and trending books.
- Participated in THREE different anti-racist book clubs.
Only to realize that you can’t read yourself out of racism.
Or, maybe you:
- Said something to your boss about work Karen.
- Confronted that racist uncle.
- And, bought BLM or “No Matter Where You Are From” yard signs
Only to still feel stuck.
I’ve seen this happen all the time. And, here’s what I know. Usually, when this happens it is because people began their anti-racist journey without these three fundamental parts:
1) Truth-telling. Hear me when I say this: you cannot do this work authentically if you are not willing to tell yourself and others the truth. This work absolutely requires it. Telling yourself the truth about what you are willing to invest and risk is absolutely essential. You cannot do this work authentically or sustainably if you try to do this work on bullshit. So, what are you willing to risk? Write it down. Share it with a friend. I once saw someone wearing a shirt that read: “when the shooting starts, get behind me.” This person knew what they were willing to risk. Own it. Are you willing to risk social capital? Moving? Your job? Your health? Your prestige? Be honest. If you are in this work only for the performative blackout square, own that. If you are a leader who only wants to write a corporate statement without any real teeth, own that. If you are a pastor that wants to wait to make decisions so that you aren’t disrupting the peace, ALSO own that someone’s peace has already been disrupted and that harm and violence has already occurred.
2) Community. One of the biggest fears that I hear from white people who begin this work is the fear of losing their community, particularly when that community includes family members. As a TRA, I know that fear, and I won’t bullshit you: some of you will lose relationships with your family. Some for a few months. Some for a few years. Some forever. This work is hard. This work hurts like hell. But we know that this work demands urgency because we know that people are already losing their lives. And it must be done because century after century people – even those that may be “well-intentioned – chose to choose white supremacy and white comfort over BIPOC bodies. You can stop the cycle. And, you can stop the cycle by investing in doing the work and building new communities. In fact, in order to do this work well, it must be done in community.
3) Accountability. Who is doing this work with you? Who is holding you accountable? Check out my list below of over 350 educational resources. This list includes (but is not limited to) organizations, educators, facilitators, peer-reviewed articles, books, movies, podcasts, and hashtags.