Action steps Toward Antiracism
What is antiracism, you might ask, and how does it different from just not being racist?
The answer lies in the level of action versus passivity.
Not being a racist is passive. You have your beliefs, and those are great, but you don’t take any action, which leaves the status quo as is: people receiving different treatment at the systems-level (incarceration policies, school to prison pipeline, school funding, police stops and getting pulled over, police brutality, food deserts, and more) based on the color of their skin.
Antiracism is taking action steps that concretely defy racist systems of oppression that negatively impact those with darker skin. It’s all about doing something, not just thinking something.
There are many who are awakening today to racial injustice in the United States, and I applaud you for “waking up.” However, just like when you wake up in the morning after a night of sleep, you don’t just sit in bed all day. You get up and DO something!
But what can I do, you might be thinking …
Below are some ideas I have had on categories of actions we can all take toward racial equality and dismantling systemic racism, with specific action steps in each category:
* centering Black voices and experiences, and listening without cross talk or defensiveness
* educating ourselves on black history, systemic oppression, and white privilege through books (“How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi is a great place to start), podcasts (One of my favorites is “Code Switch” https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510312/codeswitch hosted by journalists from NPR talking about race), and news articles (I like https://www.theroot.com for Black-centered news)
* education on racial injustice through books and open conversations with our children (https://socialjusticebooks.org/booklists/ is an excellent resource for kids, young adults, and educators)
* difficult conversations with others about racial inequality (like that racist uncle of yours with whom you have heated discussions over the holiday dinner table)
* sharing educational resources with others through conversation or social media
* supporting Black-owned businesses (https://www.supportblackowned.com is just one resource you can use)
* promoting Black-owned businesses to others in your community
* “calling out” businesses with racist business practices, having one on one dialogues with the owners, and if unsuccessful, posting publicly about these practices on social media
* donating money to organizations that support racial equality and civil rights (https://www.aclu.org and https://blacklivesmatter.com are solid places to start)
* encouraging others to donate to these organizations or hosting fundraisers to support these organizations
* making donations to Black educators who are doing the exhausting and triggering work of gathering and sharing information on racial inequality (Rachel Cargle of The Great Unlearn is a brilliant Black female writer and educator, and you can learn from her and support her work at https://www.patreon.com/thegreatunlearn/posts )
* Signing petitions for relevant civil rights situations and topics on racial injustice (here’s one place to start: https://www.change.org/t/racism-en-us)
* writing letters and/or making phone calls to government officials about specific civil rights topics that resonate with you
There are lots and lots of ways to take action. The point is to do SOMETHING.
Don’t just stay in bed. Don’t go back to sleep. It’s a bright new day to take action toward change.
If you are inspired by this blog post and would like to reach out to the author, life coach and trauma-informed yoga teacher, Jen Larsen, please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to start a dialogue.