Show Notes – 008: My Anti-racism Journey so Far
Dismantling racism within myself has been a major priority in my life for years. And since the summer of 2020, I’ve been feeling called to talk about my anti-racism journey publicly. But at that time I was scared of the judgment that I’d receive if I spoke up. I talk about this with my husband and friends daily, but up until now, I’ve let my fear keep me from speaking up publicly.
No more! I’m still a bit terrified but I choose to record this episode anyway.
Below is a summary of today’s episode. For a more detailed discussion and personal anecdotes please listen to the full episode wherever you get your podcasts, and subscribe so that you don’t miss an episode!
This is a very personal and candid chat, but also one that I am incredibly excited to share with you!
Side note: I will make mistakes in the way that I talk about racism, dismantling white supremacy culture, and my privilege. This is an ongoing journey for me. Even though I will not speak about this topic perfectly I am doing my best. I think it is incredibly important that we don’t let fear of imperfection or judgment silence us.
Anti-racism Journey Mindset
I find that with anything in life, and especially with my anti-racism journey, the mindset that I approach a topic with determines my feelings about it and my motivation to keep going even when I get uncomfortable.
A mindset is a pattern and group of thoughts. So, below are some thoughts that have been very helpful to me as I continue to dismantle racism and whiteness within myself.
- I will make mistakes and that’s okay. I will learn from my mistakes and do better next time.
- Helping to dismantle racism is more important to me than preserving my self-image.
The following statements from the Brooklyn Zen Center’s “Guidance for White Bodied Participants” have also been incredibly helpful for me as I approach my anti-racism journey. I was introduced to these by the XR Embodied Anti-racism Practice Group (more on both of these resources in a moment).
- Accept the awkwardness. This is uncomfortable and that’s okay.
- Let go of being a bad white person.
- Let go of being a good white person.
- Each of us has a different background, but there is no get-out-of-whiteness-free card.
- Whiteness is habitual. It’s a set of characteristics and behaviors learned through cultural conditioning.
- Habits can be changed with practice.
On the podcast, I give a description of what the resource is, and then I share how it’s helped me in hopes that you can pick what would be most helpful for the next step in your anti-racism journey.
Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
Book by Layla F. Saad
From the book website: This book “…leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”
“Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture”
Paper by Tema Okun
In this paper, Okun lists different characteristics of white supremacy culture and talks about how they show up in our personal lives, groups, organizations, and companies. He says that because culture is so difficult to name or identify it is incredibly powerful and hard to change. This framework gives us a way to talk about culture! The characteristics that he and other researchers have identified are so harmful because they promote white supremacy thinking, and because they are often accepted as “normal” without actually being chosen or questioned. As you read through this resource you’ll notice that many of these characteristics are encouraged and seen as good in our culture when really they are harming us all.
XR Embodied Anti-racism Practice
Hosted by my friends in Extinction Rebellion NYC, this group meets weekly on Zoom. We come together to build our resilience around conversations about race and practice undoing the racist habits we’ve been conditioned to embody. So while most of the resources I’m sharing today focus on intellectual knowledge and study this group works to undo racism on the physical, biological level which is an often forgotten piece of the puzzle.
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Book by Robin Dangelo
Description from the Penguin Random House website: “Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful dialogue. DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.”
Ally Conversation Toolkit Workshop
Workshop by The Dialogue Company
Description from The Dialogue Company website: “The Ally Conversation Toolkit is an in-depth skill-building, interactive workshop focused on increasing an individual’s capacity to have a productive dialogue about sensitive topics. Participants will learn how to recognize their own biases, use dialogue to create connection, and shift narratives both inside themselves and in the culture of their organization or family through the power of persuasive dialogue.”
Yama and Niyama of Cultural Appropriation in Yoga
Online Class with Indu Arora and Ananda Ji
During this class, Ananda and Indu defined what cultural appropriation is and share how it differs from cultural appreciation, examples of appropriation often seen in the yoga and Ayurvedic spaces, and how to make sure we’re not culturally appropriating. This was a one-off class, but you can read Ananda’s free ebook on the subject, and check out their work by clicking through the links below.
Find Indu’s website and sign up for her newsletter here.
Resources about the Intersection of the Climate Crisis and Social Justice
Spoiler Alert: These two topics don’t just intersect, they are one and the same. I’ll speak about this more in future episodes.
- Intersectional Environmentalist co- founded by Leah Thomas, Diandra Marizet, Sabs Katz
- Search “climate colonialism” to learn more about this!
Resources about the Intersection of Racism and Feminism / the Body Positivity Movement
- “Why are Women of Colour Left Out of Body Positivity” Article for Elle Magazine by Stephanie Yeboah
- “I Need to Talk to Spiritual White Women about White Supremacy” by Layla Saad
- “Dismantling White Feminism” Course by Layla Saad
- “The Urgency of Intersectionality” Ted Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw
Resources that are next on my list…
- My Grandmother’s Hands – Book by Resmaa Menakem
- Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World – Book by Michelle Cassandra Johnson
- Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation – Book by Jasmine Syedullah, Lama Rod Owens, and angel Kyodo Williams
Ressemaa Menakem and Michelle Cassandra Johnson also have great online courses that I can recommend!
I hope this has been helpful for you and that something I mentioned today sparked your interest. I want to encourage you to follow your curiosity and continue on this anti-racism journey with me.
If you have other favorite anti-racism resources please send them my way!
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Thanks for listening and/or reading!
Featured image: Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash
Podcast music: “Bounce” by Coma-Media on Pixbay