I don't see racism as theoretical because to me, it's not an idea or a concept. It is a system of direct actions and decisions that affect every human, at every stage of life. It is committed to its insidiousness; to oppress, harm, and murder (if not literally, then spiritually) not only an entire race, but a swarth of skin colors deemed "too dark".
We are all complicit.
We are all oppressors.
We all harm.
If you think this isn't you, or if you're relying on the ideas of "kindness" or your deeming yourself a "good person", I'd ask that you take a deeper dive into White fragility and privilege, and keep diving until each word and concept feels like a mirror. A mirror that reflects back to you an image that inspires your personal growth.
I am always struck by the fervor of White people who try to wash racism away, as if one spin and rinse cycle will cleanse us of hundreds of years of grime.
"But I made a donation. I read a book. I joined a club. I shopped Black."
Yup. Me too. And yet here we are.
One action, or small series of actions will not pound out the dents and polish away the identity and racial reputation this country has carved out for itself.
So, what do we do?
In this liminal space between Dr. Martin Luther King Day and the start of Black History Month, I'm reflecting on how to best utilize my voice, privilege, and influence. I may be a Black Woman- an intersection which Malcolm X referred to as "the most disrespected group in America", and still I acknowledge the immense power in who I am and my ability to sit down at my kitchen table with an open heart, and write these words to each of you.
"How will you be anti-racist today?"
How will you commit to taking a greater stand, putting more on the line, and using your own voice, privilege, and influence?
A donation, book, club, or purchase is only scratching the surface.
They are needed.
And so are public social media shares from Black creators and activists.
So are organizing efforts for democratic candidates.
And PTO's for underserved schools.
And jobs for Black teachers.
And mentorships and internships for Black students.
And CEO and upper management appointments for Black professionals.
And equal pay for Black women.
And policing practices that KEEP BLACK PEOPLE ALIVE.
And health practices that KEEP BLACK PEOPLE ALIVE.
I would love to see less of my White counterparts chastising their followers for not listening or doing enough, and instead see a little more of them stepping up and leading by example.
You're an influencer?
Put more on the line.
The information is out there.
The "what" has been taken care of for you.
The "how" has been taken care of for you.
My question is... "when?"
In this liminal space between Dr. Martin Luther King Day and the start of Black History Month, I ask that you rethink your commitment to anti-racism. Moving from ally to accomplice means recognizing that anti-racism is not tied to an event or holiday; it's to be woven into who we are, who we become, and the world we create.