Being ‘Non-racist’ is Not Enough – Tips For Being Actively Antiracist


Being 'Non-racist' is Not Enough - Tips For Being Actively Antiracist

It’s time for some homework for the white people sitting together in the front (me included. I was always front and center. #goodytwoshoes). It doesn’t really seem like we are grasping the lesson people of color are trying to teach us because the same stuff keeps happening and the same racist policies still exist. They just pop up disguised in different, deceiving ways. 

Are we not reading the material and reviewing the notes? Yes, we do a good job of clicking the “like” button and getting outraged at the next viral video. I can see our beaming faces now, hoping that made the teacher proud. Sure, we get an A for the comment section. We know how to show up there. 

But we are severely lacking in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The 4 Cs of teaching. I am a teacher. How did you guess? I also am a wife and mom to two people of color, and I am fed up. But, I am also a student. We’re all students now, and it’s time for us to do some homework.

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Critical Thinking

  1. Read “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” A book by Robin Diangelo, a white woman. 
  2. Read “How to Be an Antiracist.” A book by Ibram X. Kendi a man of color.
  3. Watch “The 13th.” A documentary by black filmmaker Ava DuVernay. 
  4. Compare and contrast the three. Did we notice a common theme among the three? How did the tone differ among them? Did anything surprise you? What stood out? What were the different perspectives? 

This is just a narrow list for our summer reading. There will be a more comprehensive list to read and watch throughout the year. Moving on. 

Communication

  1. Share your new understandings and findings on social media and with family and friends. 
  2. Invite others to engage in thoughtful, openminded dialogues.
  3. Form and participate in weekly literature circles to discuss the following topics of conversation in a round table like fashion. 
    • What are some ways in which I perpetuate racism? How can I challenge my own actions and beliefs? 
    • What are some racist policies in my community, state, or country? How can I work to make them anti-racist? 
    • How can we, as a group, fight against racist policies? 

Everyone still with me? Good, because it’s about to get tough for us. 

Collaboration 

  1. Seek out black groups, movements, advocates, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to see how you can help.
  2. This next part is important, so I am putting it in bold font and underlining. Listen to them. Do not try to take charge. Phew, I know that’s hard, but read it again. Listen to them. Do not try to take charge. Remember assimilation is not anti-racist.  
  3. Pick one, just one, of the ways in which you can help and work on that throughout the year. 

Then, lastly…

Creativity

  1. How will you use your white privilege for the good of humanity, especially people of color? 
  2. Think about that and find little ways to do that every day. 
  3. Reflect on your actions. Is what I am doing considered racist or anti-racist? It can only be one or the other. If it’s even 5% racist, how can you change it to be completely anti-racist? 

Congratulations! We completed our summer work. Unfortunately, we are not finished. Not even close. We will never stop learning and having tasks to complete. Too much is at stake for us to stop. Too many lives. This is our duty. 

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Being 'Non-racist' is Not Enough - Tips For Being Actively Antiracist

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LaurenBarrettWrites

My name is Lauren, and I was born in New Jersey, grew up in West Virginia, went to college in Pennsylvania, and now live and work in North Carolina. I'm a high school teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing by day, a cross country coach by the afternoon, a writer by night, and a mom to an amazing toddler boy full time. I love my faith, running, watching baseball, chocolate, scrapbooking, pretending I would actually do well on the Amazing Race, re-watching The Office, listening to Bobby Bones, inspiring young minds, and as of recently moming it! 

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