Scan the crowds at the George Floyd protests and the number of white faces inspires hope. For now, hope is all it is. We’ve seen a remarkable groundswell of white Americans determined to dismantle racism, but many may be wondering how. What can I do to go beyond expressions of support toward material, meaningful, sustainable action?
Fighting racism means going beyond gestures of goodwill. Racism isn’t as much about attitudes as systems. Attacking those systems requires more than kindness. It might be helpful to think of antiracism for white people running in three phases: Focus, Learning and Action. Those phases are not necessarily sequential. These stages are best imagined as a cycle, always in motion, where one step refines the others. There are actions I can adopt today, while others might not make sense for me until I’ve done more to refine my focus and learn. To be effective, antiracism should develop into a lifestyle, integrated into all the other elements of responsible citizenship.
Focus – Discover the Ground Beneath My Feet
Americans have remarkably little awareness of where they live. We are far more alert to racial outrages unfolding a thousand miles away than we are to the laws and practices that extort minorities in our own zip code. This is by design.