Thanks for this. I really admire the fact that you are sticking with this in spite of all the bullshit that has gone on in this community. I apologize if my comment made it seem like people had to do everything
To white people who are reading this and wondering about what goals you can set that are not impossible, here is a list of 10 simple goals you can try for:
1) Don't pay for a type of entertainment if you have heard from people of color who you know or read that the contents of that entertainment promotes racism (more than most entertainment promotes racism, since a lot of it does), or the creator(s) have been overtly racist. For example, not paying to see The Help
or buying the book is something easy you can do. It also means that when your white friends or family ask you if you've read it or seen it, you have a great way to introduce the idea to them.
2) Actively read books by authors of color. This is another place where you can introduce the idea to white friends or family by recommending a book you really like. This is not hard to do and 50books_poc
is a good place to start to get recommendations.
3) When someone starts telling a racist joke, tell them that you do not think it is funny to tell a joke that makes fun of someone's ethnicity, country of origin, language, or the way a person looks. Don't be that person who just sits there and laughs awkwardly.
4) If you're not an assertive person and can't see yourself doing #3
, try getting up and leaving when someone tells a recist joke or makes a racist comment.
5) At very least do not laugh
. It doesn't matter if they think you're rude. Remember, they are the one telling a racist joke.
6) If you're worried about alienating yourself at work or on your softball team, try telling someone with whom you are very close when they say or do something racist. Pick someone whom you know will love you no matter what-- they are more likely to listen to you than they are to anyone else. This can even lead to a dialogue where they might ask you questions about where they can learn more 101.
7) Sit down and watch one movie or TV show, or read one book with your attention to race issues tuned in as much as you can. Think about what you see and hear. Take notes (for yourself, not for public consumption).
8) Sit down and try to make a list of any times you remember having feelings that could be attributed to white privilege or racism over in recent memory. Then ask yourself why. Pick one racist behavior or thought pattern and work on improving it.
9) Actually try to do the Invisible Knapsack exercise for yourself. There are a couple ways to do it: you can either follow Peggy McIntosh's list and check off the ones that apply to you, or you can start from scratch and do your own list. If you do your own list, you might want to compare it to hers to see if it matches up.
Don't post your complaints about how it doesn't apply to you in anti-racist communities
Like with #7
, pick one way your white privilege applies, and try to notice every time you see it coming into play.
10) Make a promise that if someone tells you you've said something racist, or that you're showing your privilege, you will take a step back from the conversation, apologize sincerely, and then dedicate some time to contemplating why you said or did that thing. Promise yourself that you will not argue even if you feel misunderstood. Try to analyze the situation in your head until you understand how your privilege factors into the problem. Don't ask people of color to teach you or explain their reasoning or expend more energy when you have hurt them.
Just pick one thing. Work on that one thing. Eventually, you will find that that one thing becomes something that doesn't take as much effort as it used to. Then you can add another thing.