“To what extent are we willing to push people into, what I like to think of as productive discomfort, in this work? Are you we going to water things down so we can, at least, get people to the table? Are we just going to call it equity and put it off to the side? Or are we going to dig in and say no, decolonization, white supremacy, oppression? Where are we going to fall on that as a group? And if it means that some folks say hey, I'm out that's not for me, maybe we take that chance... some folks said when they first entered into this work they thought that the equity conversation was supposed to be a side conversation, it wasn't supposed to be a center conversation...but I think for me, I would not continue to be a part of this conversation if equity weren't a central part of the conversation.” - April Hathcock, virtual group debrief, May 21, 2019
To read more about April’s reaction to the meeting read her blog post
Expectations of leaders...
Often the most ardent spokespeople for valuing diversity and creating equity in our systems also possess a determination that is rooted in wanting to help “those disenfranchised people”, or “that marginalized group.” The assumption is that “those ____ people” (fill in the blank: Black, Asian, Gay, differently-abled, etc.) need “our” help.
With all of the best intentions, this perspective—and often the associated “advocacy”—is not the real work of allies, even though it may make us feel like we are.
Think about the last time you were in a meeting and witnessed a person’s contributions being overlooked by those in power at the table. Or listened on as colleagues belittled a colleague who is different from you and them. Or saw a social media post from one of your “friends” that was clearly meant to put down members of another group or with different life experiences.
Then you, because the comments or...
“The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference”
-Elie Wiesel, writer, professor, political activist, Holocaust survivor
I often tell people, “If you want to influence people to do something for you, you have to start by having a clear ask.” Well, I want white people to stand up, en masse, and end racism. I know it’s a bit of audacious of me, but hell, being called audacious is the least of my concerns right now.
I, as a black woman, have been working my tail off for years to end racism and every other form of oppression. I won’t stop doing my work, but let’s keep it real. I can’t end racism.
I need white people, people with white privilege, to exercise that privilege—in the service of ending racism. Now is the time to stand up, take a deep breath, anchor to your values, push through the fear, and find the courage to dismantle the system of racism that benefits you and greatly oppresses the rest of us.
So, what is race?