'In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.'
Angela Davis - American political activist, philosopher, academic and author
Systemic racism is embedded within our world in ways that we don't even notice. It's not just overtly racist acts like hate crimes and violence that represent the deeply ingrained racism that pervades societies.
"Racism is deeply embedded in our culture and our communities including our schools, the justice system, the government, and hospitals. It is so pervasive that people often don't even notice how policies, institutions, and systems disproportionately favor some while disadvantaging others." - What is Anti-Racism, www.verywellmind.com
As conscious people concerned about social justice and doing good in the world, we may firmly believe we're not racist. And yet, racism is a learned response and is often indirect, embedded in our unconscious beliefs, attitudes and behaviours. To dismantle racism, we can challenge ourselves to examine underlying attitudes, as well as get educated about the history we won't have been taught in school.
Learning & Unlearning
"The beauty of anti-racism is that you don't have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it's the only way forward." - Ijeoma Oluo, author of #1 New York Times bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race
When getting started with anti-racism work, we can often feel afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing, or not doing it perfectly. The important thing to know is that we're learning and unlearning together. I get things wrong all the time - it's part of the process.
If you want to engage in anti-racism work, you may need support along the way. It's important to ask questions, learn and listen only from educators who're experts in teaching about anti-racism. Don't expect your Black, brown or mixed heritage friends to educate you as they may not want to, and it could be highly triggering for them. As Nova Reid says, "Being anti-racist is about reducing harm. This is your work to do, not theirs."
If you want to learn more, here's some resources I've found really helpful
Connect on Instagram
Nova Reid @novareidofficial (click her bio for Beginners Anti-Racism Guide, to join her email list & to pre-order her book The Good Ally)
Black Lives Matter @blklivesmatter
Rachel Elizabeth Cargle @rachel.cargle
Layla F. Saad @laylafsaad
Ibram X. Kendi @ibramxk
Ivirlei Brookes @ivirlei
Nova Reid's TED talk Not All Superheroes Wear Capes
Rachel Cargle's Public Address on Revolution on YouTube here
'13th': an acclaimed documentary film on Netflix by Ava DuVernay
"White Women Who Truly Want to Help, Here's How": a video by Ivirlei Brookes - find it at @ivirlei on Instagram in her highlights
The Good Ally by Nova Reid - available to preorder now
What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri
Don't Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children by Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga