1. Explicit asks
The most brilliant part of white supremacy is its illusionary nature. If it were a creature in the wild it would stun humans with color and trickery. We would be so stunned that we’d go to our grave without a hint of what just happened. It works just like a peacock, or chameleon to make you think that it’s not there.
What to Do
Ask: Could this could be racist? Is there an element to racism I’m not understanding? What’s not equal about this picture? What’s distorted about my perspective?
Then: Self reflectively and consciously ask yourself and those you trust. Acquire the resources and education material necessary to answer the question. Stew the answers. Don’t allow racism to hide in your fear of confrontation.
When to Do
Internal Unknowns: If you feel guilt about a behavior or thought, asking yourself forces you to seek out your own blind spots.
With Others: If you have reason to believe a behavior or a person in power is causing harm. If you believe this person could be acting with malice, you can ask them these open-ended questions and measure their ability to engage with anti-racist practice.
2. Vote locally
We often miss the forest for the trees when it comes to racism. We’re detailed in the violent fires that result in lost lives. But we miss the kindling, and matchbooks. We when we can’t see racism at the local level, we can’t see ourselves as part of the problem or the solution- holding the hose. Locally, racism is redlining. Its schools and taxes and neighborhood character.
White supremacy looks a lot like coincidence and chance encounters.
What to do:
If we want to eradicate racism for good, local politics is the most crucial piece. It’s what stands between personal friendships and institutionalized racism. If you vote to institutionalize racism you can’t really be a good white friend.
Put your vote where it counts. Navigate more carefully the line between your best interest and the best interest of your city’s black residents.
When to do:
Voting in local elections is a civic duty taken for granted. Thus racism has a strong foot hold.
We have cycles and recurring examples of oppression in our system, because of missed opportunities.
Local organizing: This one is the short-cut, get involved with radical organizations who do political activism. These are groups who hold elected officials accountable. If you can’t find one close to you, or that advocates for issues you care about, keep digging for the people who do so informally, and lend your expertise to them.
Local councils: This is the vote, the ballot and box. This is dogged political work of tailing and reading every item your representative puts out. You can do great good by spotting the incongruent local politicians ahead of their bad policy plans. This work is for the educated, and extremely privileged. If you have a few minutes (maybe not election season) call and asked pointed questions about the specific policies. Then share what you find with those local organizers in your network.
3. Teach your family
Since the family institution is one place where we learn how to be racist you’ll also teach White Supremacy if you’re not careful.
In 30 or so years when you have kids of your own, you’ll pass on to them everything you know about gardens, and investments and Twitter in the good old days.
What to do:
If you also teach your children some explicit anti-racist values maybe the next generation won’t have to face any of the same old problems we’ve had with race. Confront your family members about ideologies and behaviors as you learn more about them. Teach the next generation, and end the racist destruction of humanity.