Updated: Jan 5, 2021
It’s hard to put into words suitable for public consumption the feelings and thoughts we were left with after last night’s debates. For people of color, last night only served to confirm what we already knew to be true. Racism is very much alive in this country. It’s alive in our backyards, classrooms, boardrooms, pews, courtrooms, and even in the highest office.
We are on the precipice of the second Civil Rights Movement. The time is NOW for you to take a stand against this type of hate. It is no longer enough to believe you are not racist. People of color need people to commit to being antiracist – fully and actively. The first step of being antiracist is pledging to yourself: “I will not tolerate racism in any form. Ever”.
HERE ARE SOME STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TODAY TO ACTIVELY BE ANTIRACIST
Calling out, correcting, and/or deleting racist comments on social media.
Stop tolerating ignorance when it is in front of you. Your comment to someone doesn’t need to be hostile or angry. It is perfectly acceptable to tell someone that their comment is inappropriate gently. For example: “Hi, Uncle Joe. Did you know that calling Covid-19 the “Chinese Virus” has resulted in several physical violence attacks against Asian citizens? Isn’t that just awful? I know you would never want someone to be physically harmed, so I’m sure you wouldn’t want to perpetuate hate by posting something like, right? Much love to you and Aunt Ruth!”
Real Talk: The more people know they can’t talk that way around, the less they will talk that way around you!
Educating yourself and your family on racism.
The American school system has actively whitewashed our history. You can practice being antiracist by seeking out movies, books, and other resources that provide you a more in-depth understanding of the deeply rooted racism in our nation’s history. But don’t just watch and read; apply the learning. So many fall short because they fail to do something with the information. Talk with your family or friends about what you are taking in.
Real Talk: Share the knowledge. Grow together. We will all be better for it.
Diversify Your Life.
It’s easy for those who have never experienced or witnessed the pain of racism to sit in denial of its existence. We have gotten to a place where white folx think that BIPOC are only about trauma and history because we have failed to normalize bringing Black, Indigenous, Latin, and all People of Color’s culture into our everyday lives. Be open and welcoming to inviting diversity into your real-life circles. Be willing to go out of your way to patronize minority-owned businesses, volunteer, and do business in areas with diverse populations. Real Talk: Diversifying your life doesn’t give you the license to tokenize.
What is tokenism? Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing to give the appearance of equality. (i.e., Believing you can’t possibly be racist because you have a Black friend from college).
SIMPLY STATED: TOKENISM IS DIVERSITY WITHOUT INCLUSION.
You have likely become immune to tokenism without even realizing it. We have been inundated with tokenism, especially in pop culture. Think about how many of our favorite TV shows or movies have main characters who are white, but the side kick or buddy just happens to be a person of color. That’s tokenism, friends.
BEING ANTIRACIST ALSO REQUIRES ACTION
We live in a world where social distancing is the norm and where going in public is a health risk. If you are able, here are THREE things you can physically do, right now, to take action to be antiracist in response to the things we saw in that mess last night.
Vote. I implore you to go vote early and in person.
Show Up For the Women’s March – Either In Person or Online. On Saturday, October 17th, more than 30 sister marches will take place in this country through Women’s March, both online and in-person, to support Black, poor, immigrant, and undocumented women who are disproportionately targeted, abused, and murdered by police violence. Find out more information on the marches in your area or join online. Donate to their cause.
Go and get a flu shot. Flu season is upon us, and it is going to cause complications with COVID. How is this being antiracist, you ask? Covid-19 has only magnified the systemic inequalities that persist in the United States. In September, the CDC reported that Black and Indigenous Americans experienced the highest death tolls from COVID, with Black Americans experiencing a death rate twice as high as White Americans. Getting your flu shot will help reduce your chances of contracting the flu, which will help reduce the strain on our medical system so they can focus on fighting the pandemic.