Racism is a complex social dynamic, not a discreet act. It is a system into which I was socialized. White progressives are white people who think they are not racist, whereas white determines education, health, work, relationships, wealth and lifespan. We see ourselves as objective and unique and exempt ourselves from further examination.
The racial status quo is comfortable for white people and this conversation about racism can be uncomfortable. What can we do with our discomfort? We can use it as a door out or ask ourselves why it unsettles us.
**We can pay attention to our bodies, our nervous systems and begin this all-important healing process. Our minds, nervous systems, attitudes, relationships, and culture can all have a little more room to grow and transform.
Prejudice and Discrimination
•Prejudice: pre-judgment – everyone has prejudice at some time; it is unavoidable
•Discrimination is action based on prejudice – we all have it. I am less relaxed around a group that I am unsure of. When a racial group’s collective prejudice is backed by the power of legal authority and institutional control, it is transformed into racism.
•People of color may hold prejudices and discrimination against white people but lack the social and institutional power that transforms these into racism. It is temporary and contextual. Whites hold the social and institutional positions to infuse their racial prejudice into laws & policies
What can white people do?
•Own being white and raise our awareness of our unintended racist conditioning
•The main purpose is for us to become more educated about racism at a deep level and become more self-aware. I can receive feedback on my problematic racial pattern to help my growth. It is not helpful to talk about others unless an example made of a behaviour. It is also not useful getting philosophical about the topic of racism.
Emma Dabiri suggests the following:
•Stop the denial
•Denounce the white saviour
•Stop trying to be a good person
•Pull people up on racism
•Stop reducing BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) to one dimensional characters
•Read- educate yourself and read BIPOC writers fiction and non-fiction
•Recognise this is killing you too.
INDIGENOUS ALLY TOOLKIT (Concordia University)
•An Ally disrupts oppressive spaces by educating others on the realities and histories of marginalized people
•An Accomplice works within a system and directly challenges institutionalized and systemic racism, colonization, and white supremacy by blocking or impeding racist people, policies and structures
•A Co-resistor stands together in resistance against oppressive forces and requires constant learning (in relationship, deeply involved, listens critically and understands an issue)
To Be An Ally:
•First examine your motives (it cannot be about individual or organisational self-interest)
•Actively support the struggle
•Speak up even when you feel scared
•Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who have less
•Acknowledge that the conversation is not about you
•It becomes a way of life and benefits you as well as the community. It is life long.
•Indigenous peoples are the experts of their own realities. They are grandparents, parents, children, siblings, teachers, doctors, social workers, entrepreneurs, human beings. They are resilient.
•Educate yourself on the history of Indigenous Peoples. You will never be an expert, but you can work in allyship.
•Ask, How can I use this in my everyday life?
•What steps can I personally take to amplify marginalized voices?
•How can I use my position and privileges to listen, shift power dynamics and take steps towards reconcili-action?
Things not to say:
•Canada’s indigenous peoples or our indigenous peoples – rather the indigenous peoples of what we now call Canada
•Don’t perpetuate stereotypes like alcoholic etc
•Talk about the nation (correct name) rather than indigenous cultures
•Can you and your people forgive us for what we did? (Your actions are more important than centering yourself).
•Get over it- colonization continues today. Get the statistics of children in care, adults in prison, unemployed, unhoused etc.
•You were conquered (they survived genocide)
•Acknowledge that you are a guest on this land
•Recognise that multiple nations exist on Turtle Island
•Respect any cultural protocols or traditions
•Listen to the experts and ask what you can do
•Build relationships based on mutual consent and trust
•Research to learn more about history
•Continue to support and act in meaningful ways
•Being an ally means risking your voice to elevate others
•Commit to becoming anti-racist vs not racist
•Talk about it, join groups online or in person
•Educate ourselves, reflect on our implicit bias
•Be accountable – own our thoughts, behaviours and call it out
•https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GmX5stT9rU&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR2vGTPrUhXQzi245xKUXUf2S6qALlFWZdcYt8g0q2w2xI_A0_bBHip2whE CBC Racism in Canada
•Baldwin, James (1961) Nobody Knows My Name
•Battalora, Jaqueline (2013) Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and its Relevance Today
•Benjamin, Akua et all (2010) Race and Wellbeing: The Lives, Hopes and Activism of African Canadians
•Bishop, Ann (2002) Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Circle of Oppression (2015) 3rd Edition (2005) Beyond Token Change: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in Institutions
•Davis, Angela (1981) Women, Race and Class, (2012) The Meaning of Freedom and Other Difficult Dialogues
•Devenny, Jenny (2016) Race Cars
•My GrandmotherDiAngelo, Robin (2018) White Fragility
•Elliot, Jane, (1968) Brown Eyes Blue Eyes exercise
•Este, David et al, (2018), Racism and Anti-racism in Canada
•Glassman, Bernie (1998), Bearing Witness: A Zen Master’s Lessons in Making Peace
•Kendi, Ibram X. (2020) Anti-racist Baby, (2020) Stamped: Anti-racism and You, (2019), How to be Anti-racist, (2016) Stamped From the Beginning
•King, Thomas (2012) The Inconvenient Indian, (2014) The Back of the Turtle
•Linklater, Renee (2014) Decolonizing Trauma Work
•McIntosh, Peggy (2019) On Privilege, Fraudulence and Teaching as Learning: Essays 1989-2019. (1989) White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
•Menakem, Resmaa (2017) ’s Hands
Oluo, Ijeoma (2018) So You want to Talk About Race
Roediger, David (2002) Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past. (1998) Black on White: Black Writers on What it Means to be White
Saad, Layla F. (2020) Me and White Supremacy
Walker, Alice (2006) We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For
Williams, Rev. Angel Kyodo (2000) Zen and the Art of Living with Fearlessness and Grace
Movie of a workshop: The Color of Fear