To be anti-racist is to admit when we’re being racist. And then not only that admission, but then we challenge those racist ideas. We adopt antiracist ideas that say the problem is power and policy when there is inequity, not people. And then we spend our time, we spend our funds, we spend our energy challenging racist policy and power. — Ibram X. Kendi, Professor and the director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University
I’ve been racist. Not in overt words or action (I hope), but certainly in the ways I’ve failed to be anti-racist. I’ve let the already gaping holes in my own awareness grow, with no active effort to shrink them. I’ve benefitted from the system being stacked in my favor and worst of all, not even noticed — after all, that’s one fundamental of the benefit of white privilege, we don’t have to own up to its part in our fortune unless we choose to.
Recently, the mirror was held up to my wilful ignorance, and now I’m trying to unpack, unpick and work against my own white privilege, to not lean into or take as an excuse the white fragility that makes this painful and uncomfortable to really confront.
I know from speaking to friends that I’m not alone in coming far too late to this, and as I start to actually do the work and educate myself, I’m lucky that there are already so many resources available. So many patient black authors and creators, who speak from experiences I’ll never have to have to share, so we work to become active allies, beyond just lip service. These authors must be (quite rightly) exhausted at the seeing another entitled white woman only just really engaging and realising the privilege she’s lived with without questioning, but with patience and passion they’ve created toolkits, reading lists, and spaces where we can start to wake ourselves up.
I’ve found incredibly these resources incredibly helpful to start doing the work in owning up to and beginning to tackle my own white privilege, white fragility, and historic lack of any anti-racist action.
Please do share in the comments any resources you’ve found useful so we can amplify the incredible work that’s already been done and start to really do our own work ourselves.
Some actions we can take
- Donate to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund, the Minnesota Freedom fund, or find other ways to donate here
- Sign up to the 30 day #DoTheWork course by Rachel Cargle; Rachel also creates lots of other amazing resources which can be found here
- Talk about it: with friends and family and help point to resources we find useful, making sure to always credit the authors and creators
Reading Lists/Books I’ve been recommended
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Reading list by Sassy Latte
- Reading list by Nikesh Shukla
- Reading list by Vogue (appreciate this is a rogue source but it offers a good list)
A selection of thought provoking articles:
- My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest by Lori Lakin Hutcherson
- How Amy Cooper and George Floyd represent two versions of racism that black Americans face every day by Michele L. Norris
- UK Police Accused of Targeting Black People During Lockdown by Aamna Mohdin and Vikram Dodd
- Racism is rife in modern Britain. Nothing can change until we admit it by Hasnet Lais
- Black people in UK four times more likely to die of COVID-19: ONS
- Why I’m Done Talking About Diversity by Marlon James
Videos to watch:
- Scene on Radio Season 2: Seeing White
- About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge (I found this one about feminism and intersectionality particularly helpful at pointing out some of my own blind spots: white women crying is racist)
Please do share other resources you find thought-provoking, challenging and/or practical below- especially making sure authors and creators are credited with their resources.
There’s also a wider collection of resources created by Tatum Dorrell, Matt Herndon and Jourdan Dorrell which a colleague kindly shared and you can find here — I’ll be working my way through it too!