6 Black History Month Challenges for White Folk

Huey from The Boondocks

What would a Black ‘future’ month look like? How would you create a racially equitable system for the future? If it’s hard to conceive of that, ask yourself why. Learn more about why focusing on ‘equity’ is more effective than ‘equality’ rhetoric: https://www.centerforsocialinclusion.org/our-work/what-is-racial-equity/

Consider not using MLK Jr’s “I have a Dream Speech” coupled with mis-using his work as an example of ‘he didn’t care about skin color and we are all equal.‘ Instead, consider learning about EQUITY and MLK Jr’s framing of justice that interrogated capitalism and white supremacy/racism as a SPECTRUM (not some binary) that goes from from ‘liberal’ whites all the way to ‘conservative’ whites. http://www.beacon.org/A-More-Beautiful-and-Terrible-History-P1333.aspx

Map out your own anti-Black racism (conscious or unconscious). Then, actively combat it by being ‘anti-racist’ and not ‘post-racial’. Resource: https://aorta.coop/portfolio_page/dismantling-anti-black-bias-in-democratic-workplaces-a-toolkit/

If you have white children, talk to them about racial inequities and how they benefit from white privilege and anti-Black racism as a 400+ year long ‘system’/history. Try not telling them, “We don’t see color- we are all equal.” One of the most unproductive responses, if your white child comes home and tells you that a Black kid at school was bothered, “Because she was Black,” is to tell them, “That’s not right. Our family doesn’t see color. We are all the same.” Consider framing a productive answer through anti-racism curriculum: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10643-011-0458-95.

If you (as a white person) find the title and/or content of this post ‘racist’, ask yourself why. Believe me, when I point out the patterns of how white racialized consciousness operates in most white people’s heads, I am told I am ‘racist’– despite the research, my 3 degrees focused on black feminist thought and critical theory. I’m not saying it’s ALL white folk, however, there are obvious patterns and ways of thinking that have been shaped by white racist structures. Check out Arnold Farr’s work on racialized consciousness here: http://sistahvegan.com/2009/09/07/racialized-consciousness-and-impact-on-food-philosophies/
Lastly… Learn the difference between ‘race-neutral’ and ‘anti-racist’ behavior/thought patterns. And please stop being a bystander with the excuse that you didn’t want to hurt your mom’s, brother’s, best friend’s, son’s, etc feelings and therefore, didn’t want to challenge their anti-black racist (or any racist) comment, belief, action. Stop saying, “I just try to be neutral”. Overall, you cannot remain neutral on a white supremacist high-speed train in which the driver has fallen asleep. “Oh, I don’t want to hurt their feelings and ‘wake’ them up because I might embarrass them for falling asleep on the job [of being fully loving human being],” is going to get us ALL KILLED. If your physical safety or job security isn’t in jeopardy then speak up and act as an ally. You can refer to my article here http://sistahvegan.com/2017/11/26/the-return-of-the-ngger-breakers-the-white-racist-vegan-playbook/

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