How to be Antiracist

So unless you’re living under a rock, you know that there are massive protests going on around the entire United States. I’ve already seen white people asking for resources to understand what’s going on or how to be antiracist. Eventually the protests are going to end, but our work doesn’t end there. Its simply not enough to be not racist. You need to be antiracist, and let me state, it is your job to do the research. Please, do not ask Black people to give you resources or teach you. Unless they’ve very specifically offered already. With that said I will give you resources and history here. If you’re reading this and want to provide additional resources by all means send them to me and I will add them

This is by no means exhaustive list or history, and yes I’m a straight white male. I have biases like everyone. The first step is recognizing those biases and trying to change them.

Side note: yea this is different from my tech posts, if you don’t like it you’re part of the problem and also feel free not to use the stuff I put out for free.

All Lives Matter

Let me start with this one. Please for the love of God, if you hear someone say Black Lives Matter, do not, under any circumstances say back All Lives Matter. Would you go to a breast cancer awareness fundraiser and tell everyone all cancer awareness matter? Or what about prostate cancer? No, so don’t do it for Black Lives Matter.

What you need to understand about the phrase Black Lives Matter is that the ‘too’ is implied. Meaning when you hear someone say “Black Lives Matter” its “Black Lives Matter too.” It doesn’t mean only Black Lives Matter or that Black Lives Matter more. Because right now police decidedly treat Black people differently than they do white people.

A quick note on blue lives matter, first of all there’s no such thing as blue lives, becoming a cop is a choice. Black people didn’t sign up to be black. Secondly, police officers already have massive amount of protection under the law. Killing a police officer is a capital offense, including their dogs. So police dogs have more protection under the law than Black people do.

MLK

Stop quoting Martin Luther King Jr to quiet protests. White moderates and especially conservatives love to parrot MLK quotes any time there are protests. If you were offended or uncomfortable with Colin Kaepernick’s protests you most assuredly would have been in the 2/3rds of people that viewed MLK unfavorably when he was alive.

The single biggest thing you should start with as it pertains to Martin Luther King Jr and yourself is read Letter from Birmingham Jail. Read it, understand it. If you still don’t understand it read it again, or message me I’ll be happy to talk with you about it. https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html

Police Brutality

So there’s literally no way to cover all these topics in depth in one post, literal books have been written about them for decades. What you need to know, we have a serious policing problem in the US, so much so that US police kill more in one month than police in other countries kill in decades.

What you can do, stop making excuses for police. If after watching or learning of police murder someone on video don’t say things like:

  • well they should have just complied
  • they should have respected the police’s authority
  • they committed X crime Y amount of years ago

and so on. All of these fall under “they were no angel”/Victim Blaming and you get to hand wave it away as if they got what they deserved. We live in a world where your average citizen has to remain calm, cool and collected while trained police officers point guns in their face. Yet constantly victims of police brutality are held accountable in the court of public opinion instead of the trained officer being held accountable by the law or public opinion.

Stop voting for “law and order” candidates. I’ll talk more about this under Dog Whistle Racism. Vote for progressive district attorneys who vow to hold police accountable. If they don’t hold them accountable, vote them out.

Donate to anti police brutality organizations. Here is a list, but please as always do your own research to verify they are legitimate. https://fundersforjustice.org/organizations/

 

White Privilege

Yea I said it, I have it. If you’re white, you have it too. Regardless of your socio-economic class. It doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard, or that your life isn’t hard, or that you didn’t grow up poor. Stop taking offense to this term. It simply means you benefit from System Racism in ways that minorities do not. For instance, study after study has shown resumes with white names get more callbacks.

It means I get the benefit of the doubt when I run through someone’s neighborhood.

Or when I’m literally breaking into my own car in the middle of Fiesta Texas because I lost my keys. Seriously, not a single person called the cops or Six Flags security on my wife and I.

It means cops interaction with me is largely peaceful. And I get pulled over less.

It means having a pantry full of weed while Blacks sit in jail convicted of marijuana possession.

Or never having to have “the talk” with my kids. If you read that and think its about sex education, boy you’re in for a treat with this one. Black parents all have to talk to their kids about how they interact with the police or just in general when in public.

It means not having to worry about getting arrested in my own home, because the police don’t believe I live there, and this wasn’t even the specific incident I recalled.

Recognizing your privilege doesn’t make you weak. What it does mean is you should use that privilege to call out racism when you see it.

Dog Whistle Racism

You need to be aware of how politicians use Dog Whistle Racism to influence you. The reason its called Dog Whistle is because on the surface it doesn’t appear as racism. Most of these terms or phrases appear normal on the surface. Its not until you read the connotation and learn the history of their use that you understand its about racism.

Lets start with “thug.” For as long as I can remember the word thug has been used by white people to describe black people because they know its socially unacceptable to use the n-word in public. Seriously ask yourself when was the last time you ever heard a white person call or describe another white person as a thug?

“Inner cities” used to describe black people.

“welfare queens” this one is particularly insidious as it implies people don’t deserve help in any fashion from the government. Its also ridiculous anyway.

“where are the black fathers” more on this in system racism

Black on Black crime. Invariably whenever there is a police brutality some racist will ask what about black on black crime, as if making a good faith argument. First of all, you can care about more than one thing at one time. Secondly, the numbers clearly state that cross racial crime is rare and that most crimes are committed against member of the same race. When was the last time you heard someone talk about white on white crime? Yea you haven’t.

“Law and Order” candidate or “tough on crime” originally coined by Nixon in 68, he made it abundantly clear to whites that he wanted to police “the other”

The purpose of Dog Whistle Racism is to divide us, and make you fear and or blame “the other” whether that other is Black people, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants. Stop falling for it, and call it out when you hear someone use it. Silence is consent.

here is a book on dog whistling called Dog Whistle Politics.

https://global.oup.com/academic/product/dog-whistle-politics-9780190229252?cc=us&lang=en&

Casual Racism

Stop calling the police on Black people for doing every day normal things. Stop asking to touch their hair, I can’t believe I even have to say this, just stop. Don’t assume a Black person doesn’t belong. Call out racist jokes when you hear them.

Even if no malice intent is meant you can still marginalize, denigrate or humiliate the person you’re interacting with.

Again it is not Black people’s job to educate you on these things. And they may not even say anything to you about it if you do it. It is your job to educate yourself to try and be a better person and to call out these things when you see them. And its our job to call these behaviors out when we see them.

Parents

Racism is taught. Let me say that again, racism is taught. No one is born racist. However, kids as young as 6 months old can distinguish skin color and ethnicity. You need to start talking to your kids about race, racism and being antiracist.

Depending on their age there are a number of things you can tell them about whats going on right now. The older they are the more in depth you should be going. The education system is largely going to cover the 60s Civil Rights movement and depending on what state you live in, tell your kids that the Civil War was about states rights. Unfortunately until we can make drastic changes in the education system its on us to educate our kids on the history of racism in this country. You don’t want to raise the next bbq becky, or Amy Cooper or these two. But more that its about raising good people and frankly racists aren’t good people.

Here is a list of books with age recommendations on them.

Capitalism

We live in a capitalist society. You can vote with your money. Support black owned businesses, consume books, tv shows and movies from black authors, writers and directors.

I’m assuming you can google and therefore putting it up to you to figure locally owned black owned businesses in your area.

Systemic Racism

“The system isn’t broken it was built this way”

Households headed by a black person earn on average little more than half of what the average white households earns. And in terms of their median net worth, white households are about 13 times as wealthy as black households – a gap that has grown wider since the Great Recession.

The report found nearly half of all single black and Hispanic women have zero or negative wealth, meaning their debts exceed all their assets. The median wealth for single black women is only $100; for single Hispanic women, $120. This compares to just over $41,000 for single white women. About a third of single Hispanic women and one-fourth of single black women have no checking or savings account. The study is called “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future.”

Or Housing Discrimination

More Black men in jail than were slaves in 1850

So we make it harder for Blacks to get jobs, harder for them to get education, to build wealth like white Americans do, arrest them at higher rates, incarcerate them at higher rates and with harsher punishments than white people committing the same crimes. And then racists have the gall to ask where the fathers at?

Court Cases

These are just some of the court cases you should be aware of. If you have more please share and I’ll add them.

1896, Plessy v Ferguson, The case stemmed from an 1892 incident in which African American train passenger Homer Plessy refused to sit in a car for blacks. Rejecting Plessy’s argument that his constitutional rights were violated, the Supreme Court ruled that a law that “implies merely a legal distinction” between whites and blacks was not unconstitutional. As a result, restrictive Jim Crow legislation and separate public accommodations based on race became commonplace.

this lead to creation of Jim Crow laws across the nation. https://www.crf-usa.org/black-history-month/a-brief-history-of-jim-crow

1954, Brown vs Board of Education This case held, unanimously, that segregation of schools violated the 14th amendment and effectively ended school segregation in law, but not in practice. https://www.thirteen.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_brown.html

History of state sanctioned violence

There’s nothing more that I could say that wasn’t already covered extremely well by Erica Buddington on twitter. https://twitter.com/ericabuddington/status/1266602291592867841

Read those, understand the literal centuries of pain and if you still can’t understand you have no soul.

 

Resources

To help you understand and educate yourself and others these are some resources you can use. Again, by no means exhaustive.

Documentaries/Speeches

13th on Netflix

Dark Girls

Eyes on the Prize

Slavery by Another Name

Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Books

The New Jim Crow

Me and White Supremacy

How to be Antiracist

and a comprehensive list of books by topic

Speakers, Authors, Comedians

Patrisse Cullors – Artist, Author & speaker

Michelle Alexander – Author & speaker

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi – Author & speaker

Tim Wise – Author  & speaker

Beau of the Fifth Column – youtuber, videos range from police training, to toxic masculinity and racism

Leave a Comment