So you’ve finished Me & White Supremacy, White Fragility, and have watched “13th” on Netflix and are wondering, “What’s next?” The anti-racism work doesn’t just end after you have a new awareness, now you get to continue your journey.
I’m not Black. But I am half-Filipina. I come from a family of color (on my father’s side), but I pass as white. This puts me strangely in the middle: I’m multiracial with white privilege. This “identity crisis,” so to speak, led to a lot of confusion, frustration, and many days filled with tears and indignation during the initial period of anti-racism work I embarked upon.
Eventually I was able to come to terms with the fact that just because I don’t feel white doesn’t mean I don’t suffer from white supremacy.
I’m not here to tell you how to properly do anti-racism work, there are plenty of resources out there that can provide that (see below). Since I don’t know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I’m not here to preach and I don’t claim to understand, but I am committed to trying.
I’m here, just like you, looking for a way to help end racism. Together, we can do our part and educate ourselves as much as possible. I’m just here trying to guide and encourage people towards anti-racism work, because until everyone has equal human rights, we cannot stop trying.
Complacency will be the death of us — or more accurately, our BIPOC brothers and sisters.
I encourage you to do your own research and also refer to the resources I have provided below to aid you along your journey. I am working towards equal rights for everyone.
I encourage you to do the same.
A lot of times we don’t know where to start when it comes to changing our perspectives and beliefs, let alone the whole world. That’s why I love websites that compile a large list of resources to support the education process.
The above website provides many different mediums to choose from, all aimed at guiding you along the anti-racism journey. If you prefer videos, there are a few, including one about learning where to start the process, as well as how to talk to your kids about racism. There are plenty of articles as well as other resource lists that you can dive into.
If you’re just starting or are well along your anti-racism journey, you’ll find some useful information on that website. The resources help explain how ending racism isn’t going to be accomplished in a day and why understanding the layers of racism and the complexities of it are necessary to be able to eradicate it.
Racism isn’t just one thing that can be overcome easily, it’s actually a multi-faceted design that is surprising in its cunning. Ibram X. Kendi, wrote the following in his book, How to be an Anti-Racist:
"The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it — and then dismantle it."
According to this, we must find the systems in which racism has been insidiously and structurally built upon. We must point at them, highlight them, find the foundation, and then take a wrecking ball and knock that shit down.
We need information and knowledge of how racism works and where it lives to successfully rid our society of it. Once we have the awareness, we then are given the opportunity to make new choices.
In her article about dismantling racism in the workplace, Carmen Morris explains that we need to address the power structure behind it all:
"Organizational policy and systemically reinforced behaviours, are key driving forces behind brand culture and inclusion. It is within these frameworks that inequalities are allowed to thrive and cultivate negative experiences faced by Black and Brown employees within the workplace.
Racism flourishes between the historic and group think influences, which form part of power structures across business, operational and relationship contexts."
Knowing that those in power hold greater responsibility in dismantling racism is important because it shows leaders and bosses that they need to be aware of the environment they are creating. Without the recognition of how wide-stretching racism is — and it is more intricately woven into our society than you might think — it is easier to ignore it or not even recognize it, therefore, allow it to continue.
Racism’s claws and roots are sunk so deep into the fabric and soil of America that it is going to take vigilant effort to unhook its tethers. Fortunately, I have not had to endure the pain of abuse for my skin color, but that doesn’t mean I get to pretend it doesn’t exist.
If I care about humanity, I need to speak up and fight for human rights. I need to seek out the ways in which I can help, not only to stop systemic racism, but also to help with healing the repercussions of it.
Supporting the Healing
There’s a wealth of information out in the world and it is our responsibility to seek it out. While racism still persists, it is imperative that we find the ways we can best support.
Due to the constant barrage of media and the mass-acceptance of violent video games and movies, we have become desensitized to the severity of what is happening.
Lives are being stolen out of ignorance and corrupted power.
We must fight against our fragility and desire for complacency. The urge for security and not having to face off with reality is not an assurance that BIPOC receive. Their lives are constantly filled with fear and it is a fear that has spread and polluted the soil on which Black people helped build.
The Black community has endured many generations of trauma, and now is the time to support them to purge and release this trauma. Here is a website that provides a lot of resources for understanding racial trauma as well as healing it and how to be an ally.
Trauma is a difficult thing to overcome and process, it has psychological as well as physical and spiritual components. And due to the new research of epigenetics, scientists are learning that trauma can actually be passed down through the generations — this means a Black person today is still suffering from the effects and trauma of slavery from generations ago.
This understanding can help us to be more compassionate in the conversation about racism. It’s hard to hear how we are perpetrators of racism and benefit from our whiteness, but it is immeasurably harder to be suffering from the opposite end of that paradigm.
Understanding what racism and anti-racism are and how to help is important. But more importantly, we must always remember why.
Perseverance and WHY
The journey is never over. But that doesn’t mean stop along the way. America was built off of racist practices, so there’s a lot of healing that needs to be done.
Whenever I get discouraged and overwhelmed, I try to remember who and what I’m doing it for:
For every single person to feel the same amount of love and respect that we all deserve.
I hope you come up with your own WHY that can propel you forward in the moments of fatigue or darkness. I uncovered ugly and hidden aspects of myself along my anti-racism journey, but I’ve worked through them and am committed to growing as a person and as a friend to BIPOC and to all human beings.
I encourage you to do the same.
Brittany Noelle Roa is an interdisciplinary artist with an MFA in Physical Theatre who uses her art and creativity to heal herself and others. She loves learning about health and wellness so she can optimize her human potential to live a full and happy life.