Was anyone else glued to the news in horror watching the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd?
Anyone still grieving the death of Ahmaud Arbery? Breonna Taylor?
Are you still pissed about a Harvard graduate, writer, former Marvel editor, current biomedical editor for Health Science Communications, and board member of the Audubon Society who was threatened by a white woman who called the police on him for asking her to please leash her dog in Central Park?
(And if you’re not, why not?)
Perhaps you’re feeling powerless… why on earth – despite all the protests and uprisings, despite the ongoing efforts of the people around you (especially your Black friends and colleagues) – are these deaths still happening?
Grief & outrage are NOT the same as action.
And (even more) action is required.
A lot of the white people I know don’t know where to start. It feels overwhelming. Sometimes it feels scary. Intentionally dismantling a system you’ve benefited from your whole life might feel like giving up a big piece of your pie.
But, what if it could feel like making more pie for everyone?
When people begin to move ‘beyond school’ we often encourage them to step outside of the infrastructure they’ve known their whole lives and spend a period of time intentionally refusing to participate in the trappings of the system. This is called De-Schooling.
It’s a time to detox, to breathe fresh air, to think clearly and intentionally about where they are and where they SHOULD be. It’s also a time to begin thinking, learning, and re-educating ourselves in a more holistic, integrated approach to learning together. It’s a time to shift your thinking and mindset and, most importantly, your perspective.
It’s hard to see a thing clearly until you choose to step outside of it.
De-schooling Anti-Racism involves an intentional choice to step outside of Systemic Racism.
De-schooling Anti-Racism involves doing the work of asking ourselves the hard questions:
- Why have we let it get to this point?
- Why have we not moved against police brutality, as white people, harder and sooner?
- Why have we allowed a system in which people with less power are actively murdered on the regular by people with more power?
- Why do we tolerate and gloss over the myriad of micro aggressions that happen around us, daily? And that we, as white people, are still guilty of doing ourselves.
- Why are we willing to raise our kids within a system that perpetuates violence and inequality without putting a stop to it, here and now?
- Why are we not willing to be the change?
As the dominant power (economic, political, social and otherwise) why are WE as white people allowing this and creating an environment where it’s acceptable, or if not acceptable, at least tolerated?
In her excellent article, Upping the Ante on Anti-Racism, Sharon Hurley Hall says this:
If you’ve been Black all your life, as I have, you know that racism isn’t going away anytime soon. If you’re a white anti-racist, you may know this too, or you’re catching on fast. Every day, we all have a choice about whether we’re working against racism or overtly or tacitly supporting it. …The question is: what are we going to do about it?-Sharon Hurley-Hall, Upping the Ante on Anti-Racism
Sharon’s Anti-Racism Bootcamp is an excellent place to start.
Led by Sharon Hurley-Hall and supported by Lea Jovy-Ford, this is an online training Bootcamp for anyone committed to understanding and eradicating the damaging biases we still have that perpetuate dangerous actions and reactions towards others, based upon their skin colour.
If you’re lucky (read: Aware), it may start to become more obvious to you how riddled with assumptions, beliefs and biases you are, based upon your reactions and responses to the people you come across in life, personally and professionally. If it isn’t obvious, then this needs your attention and work.
This is about becoming a better person. And understanding that this WILL empower you to navigate your worlds (personal and professional) with more positive impact for yourself and for others, both online and off.
DURING THE BOOTCAMP, WE…
- Examine the unconscious biases you still hold, that may be unconsciously, unknowingly and deeply buried and how this is perpetuating our racist culture.
- Understand what being anti-racist actually means, and what impact being anti-racist will mean for your own life.
- Learn how to identify anti-racism in our world, both personally and professionally, and how to address it when we see it.
- Make a commitment to being actively anti-racist, in the here and now and for the long haul.
The question is: ARE YOU READY?
Looking for Anti-Racism Resources for Kids?
P.S. If you’ve got to here and you’re wondering “but what’s in it for me?” when it comes to dismantling racism for everyone, we’ll be covering that next time…