Working to be Anti-Racist

Posted on June 15, 2020

All Black Lives Matter

This Morning Buzz is by Sarah Henricks; Los Altos Hills County Fire District

What I’m reading: The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League

What I’m eating: a LOT of homemade funfetti birthday cake that I made for the hubby

What I’m watching: 13th

I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to figure out what my role is in fighting the atrocious injustices that Black people face at the hands of police, law-makers, covert racists, and centuries old systems that were specifically designed to keep Black people down and raise white people up. Not to mention the microaggressions Black people endure EVERY DAMN DAY.

I wanted to write an article about how my implicit biases (known and unknown to me) and my past silence have effectively made me complicit in the murder of hundreds of Black people. And they have. I wanted to talk about all the things I planned to do to effect change. Then I saw a response from Phoebe Robinson to the “I take responsibility” video about how nice it would be if white people would stop being performative and actually do something. 

Stop talking about what you’re going to do and do it, regardless of likes or shares. Educate yourself; amplify Black voices; use your platform to spread anti-racism; donate to organizations that are out there doing the work; speak up when you see something that is wrong; support Black-owned businesses; vote in local and national elections; learn about the policies that are in place in your city; protest if you can, support protestors if you can’t. The article from Katie Babits and Kylie Bayer has great resources to help get started. 

Do the damn thing.

In an attempt to use whatever little platform I may have, here are a few things I’ve started doing to be anti-racist. I’m trying to start at home, ordering and reading books by Black authors about the Black experience, the history of racism in this country, and how white people can recognize our implicit biases, unpack and understand our white privilege, and take ownership over our own participation in white supremacy (I think it’s encouraging to see that Me and White Supremacy, by Layla F. Saad, is on back-order almost everywhere I’ve looked). Also, if I’m buying those books, rather than borrowing them from the library, I’m ordering them from Black-owned bookstores. Here are 25 books by Black authors to add to your reading list.

My daughter sees mostly white faces when we Duo with friends and family, and with COVID-19 restrictions still hanging tight in San Francisco, we don’t have many opportunities to interact with other people, so I’ve ordered her books whose main characters are Black. I want to make sure that she grows up recognizing that diversity is normal and should be treasured, not exploited. Apparently, at just 3-months old, babies begin to look more at faces that match the race of their caregivers; our kids are watching us, y’all, it’s imperative that we are setting a good example!

We all need to look internally and examine our implicit biases more closely. We all need to ensure that we are actively demonstrating anti-racism to our families and our children. We need to examine our organizations and identify the processes that are in place to hold Black people back – whether those be in the services we provide or our hiring practices. These are just a few of the things that I’m doing to start taking a more proactive role in effecting change and being anti-racist. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. I’d rather be late to the party than to never show up at all. What things are you doing to be actively anti-racist?

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