The ways in which culture in the US makes it difficult to act against racism is part of the machinery of racism itself. Acting effectively and responsibly against racism is not just a question of attitude and willingness, it also requires skills to prevent falling into the pitfalls set by systemic racism. This presents particular challenges for White people in acting against racism.
Being told that you have said or done something racist can really throw White people. Ampersand at Alas, A Blog offers reminder that overreacting only compounds the problem.
- Breathe. Stay calm.
- Take the criticism seriously
- Don’t make it about you
- Let Occasional Unfair Accusations Roll Off Your Back
An index of principles (and a few links to resources) from Andrea “tekanji” Rubenstein about acting responsibly from a position of privilege.
- Learn What is Meant By “Privilege”
- Accept Your Privilege
- Understanding Your Privilege
- Adopt a Language of Respect and Equality
- How to Approach Minority Spaces
- Treat Us Like Humans, Not ‘The Other’
- If You’re Not the Problem, Then You’re Not the Problem
A guide to avoiding common pitfalls in discussing hard social justice questions in the form of an ironic guide to derailing those discussions.
This website is a simple, step by step guide to derailing an awkward conversation by dismissing or trivializing your opponent’s perspective and experience. Just some of the many issues you can apply it to include:
After reading this guide you will be able to marginalize anyone!
Mely at Coffee & Ink has another ironic guide to making discussions of racism unproductive.
As you read, keep in mind that your goal is not to learn or to educate, to listen or be listened to, to increase your understanding of difficult issues, or to exchange opinions and communicate with other people. Your goal is to make discussions of race so difficult and unrewarding that not only your opponent but any witnesses to your argument will never want to discuss race in public again.
A big set of resources from Julie Pagano
I put these sections in a vague order, but keep in mind that this isn’t a nice path you go through and magically you’re an ally. These are steps you have to continually go through over and over again. You never stop working on becoming an ally.
Decker Ngongang experience at the nonprofit advocacy organization Echoing Green has lessons about the ways predominantly White organizations can fail to address its own institutional racism.
Investigating and disrupting institutionalized bias requires fundamental changes in the culture of institutions like Echoing Green. It requires focusing less on individuals and more on structures and institutions, including the cultural and social mechanisms that maintain institutional bias.
To thoughtfully addresses the pervasiveness of bias in society requires openness to the development of new, diverse, identities and find new ways to thrive with the new constraints presented by new voices, new awareness but also the new freedoms that come with fully inclusive community.