Anti Racism: What does it mean and where to begin.

“Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organisational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.”

– NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity

 

Anti Racist Cumbria was formed to ‘tackle and end racism through action and education to create a forward thinking and actively anti-racist Cumbria; free from prejudice and systemic inequalities’  We encourage everybody to learn how to become a partner in the Anti-Racism movement and how to be an ally to people from Black, Brown and other Minoritised groups.

 

What is Racism?

Racism = Racial Prejudice + Power

Racial Prejudice consists of discrimination or derogatory attitudes based on assumptions deriving from socially constructed perceptions about race/skin colour.

Power is the authority granted through social structures and conventions.

Racism occurs when an expression of Racial Prejudice emerges from a more powerful/privileged location in the socially constructed power hierarchy, and is directed at an individual/group in a less powerful/privileged location

What is Anti-Racism?

The concept of anti-racism is based in theory and the practice of action. Put simply, it is “An active and consistent process of change to eliminate individual, institutional, and systemic racism”

Anti-racism examines the unearned privileges and power imbalances between racialised people and non-racialised (White) people in society.  It is an active process of change culture that involves challenging and eliminating societal structures and individual biases/beliefs that uphold individual, institutional and systemic racism.  Anti-racism should not be confused with multiculturalism, which is a process that examines difference or celebrates diversity through song, dance and food.  It is about understanding how race and racism affects the lived experience of Black, Brown and other Minoritised groups, becoming aware of how White people participate, often unknowingly in racism, and actively working towards a more equitable society.

 

White Privilege:

White privilege (or White skin privilege) refers to the unquestioned and unearned societal advantages, entitlements and choices that benefit White people over non-White people in society.  Generally White people who experience such privilege do so without being conscious of it.  White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been hard.  It just means the colour of your skin isn’t one of the things that makes it harder.

Ally:

A member of a different group who works to end a form of discrimination for a particular individual or designated group. For example, a more privileged group or individual may work to end a form of oppression that gives him/her privileges; this could be men who work to end sexism or White individuals who engage in anti-racist work.

Allyship is “taking on the issue of racism and oppression as your own issue, even though you’ll never truly understand the damage that it does.”  Ben O’Keefe – activist

Antiracism isn’t comfortable, just like racism isn’t comfortable for Black, Brown and other Minoritised groups.

Anti-racism asks you to listen more than you speak and to do your research.  Ignorance by very definition is a lack of knowledge, so the only way to break down ignorance (your own ignorance and the ignorance of others) is through education.  It is really important to learn the history of the struggle you’re putting yourself into, to learn about the systems of oppression that exist, and how you’re complicit in them.

John Amaechi is a psychologist, a New York Times best-selling author and a former NBA basketball player explains what it means to be anti-racist. Watch his video HERE

Also read

8 Books to start your anti-racist journey 

14 Ways to Become An Ally

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