10 Ways To Be Anti-Racist

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Created by the 2019-2020 Peer Inclusive Educator (PIE) Team

In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist. - Angela Davis

As racial issues continue to dominate national attention in the United States, we must all continue to actively work to dismantle racism. Whether you realize it or not, racism affects everyone and manifests in your everyday life. Below are some tips we’ve compiled to help you to practice anti-racism.

  1. Hold your friends and family accountable. Challenge yourself to engage in respectful conversation with people close to you when they make problematic comments by actively listening and utilizing the E.A.R.S strategies (credit: Dr. Kathy Obear).

    • Explore, inquire and ask questions(s)

    • Acknowledge their feelings

    • Restate what they said to check for accuracy

    • Exploring Solutions together

  2. Attend workshops, events, conferences, and protests that focus on race-related issues. Actively seek race-related events on campus through Happening @ Umich (https://events.umich.edu/). Conduct research on local non-profit organizations to locate resources and opportunities to engage. Many of these events are free and open to the public! Additionally, MESA’s PIE team holds Anti-Racism Teach-Ins that focus on identifying how racism shows up in everyday life and offers strategies to dismantle racism. You can sign up here.

  3. Diversify your knowledge and check your information bias. Subscribe to newsletters from nonprofits focused on racial equality and diversify your news outlets to include different viewpoints, ideologies, etc. Utilize different resources (i.e. educational videos, news articles) with more nuanced analysis through a lens of race/ethnicity, including updates and action steps.

  4. Engage in race and ethnicity courses through different departments. Take race and ethnicity focused courses outside what is required for your major or area of study. Engaging in classes you wouldn’t otherwise take allows you to gain more-in-depth perspectives and knowledge of current racial disparities through history exploration, contemporary issues, and theory. Some departments that offer classes related to race may include Asian Studies, The Program on Intergroup Relations (IGR), African American Studies, Islamic Studies, Latino/a Studies, CASC, American Culture, and Arab American Studies.

  5. Have intentional conversations with peers, friends, co-workers, etc. with respect to each other’s boundaries. Step out of your comfort zone to engage in conversations that challenge the way you see the world by exchanging stories and sharing different perspectives. Learning about other people’s lived experiences can broaden your preconceived notion of racial issues.

  6. Learn with humility. Try to practice active listening by listening to understand rather than listening to respond. When you choose to engage, do not assume you know or understand the experiences of marginalized communities, especially those you do not identify with. If people share their experiences with you, be sure to affirm and validate their experiences while being cautious of the space you are occupying.

  7. Support the work, art, and businesses of people of color. Institutional and systemic barriers have led to a lack of representation and support for many marginalized communities in mainstream media, politics, and organizations. It is important to champion their work in movies, art shows, books, and music by promoting it on social media, purchasing their materials, and recognizing their contributions to their respective industries.

  8. Become involved in organizations that support racial justice issues. Locate organizations that are working within communities to enhance the lives of those disproportionately affected by racism. Support them by donating money (if possible), volunteering time, or spreading awareness of their mission.

  9. Avoid usage of stereotypical and normalized, micro-aggressive comments. Examples include:

    • “Where are you really from?”

    • “What are you?”

    • “You sound white” or “You’re really well-spoken.”

    • “I don’t really see you as Indian.”

    • “You have really big eyes for an Asian person.”

  10. During a national crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, do not scapegoat certain racial and/or ethnic groups for the crisis. Blaming entire communities for crises can lead to increased violence and overt discrimination towards the targeted group(s). Remember that the U.S. consists of a diverse group of people and one's race/ethnicity and/or skin color does not determine one’s claim to being American. Recognizing the racism behind certain comments or actions will allow you to become a better ally to the targeted group(s).

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