The first thing I want to make clear is that I am still learning and growing; I aim to continue learning for as long as I live. Learning for me and my family has always been a survival mechanism, ever since our move to America when I was six. Not knowing the language or culture forced us to learn to survive in this country. It was especially challenging to move into a rural and isolated town, where an overwhelming number of the town population was white. Now, I am not going to sit here and deny the fact that my family and I didn’t face racism –even if it mainly came from my classmates. Likewise, I will also admit that as a straight, able-bodied, non-black person of color, I hold a lot of privilege and I have made mistakes in the past. Yet, at my core, I know that I am against all and any forms of racism. Before, I use to believe that if I simply did not participate in racist behavior, I was doing my part in this world. Today, I know that is not nearly enough and that I can do so much more to become an ally for those around me.
Another important thing to know about me is that as an International Affairs and History/Political Science double major, I strive to be informed about politics and news. With that being said, I can recall when the #Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) occupied news channels in 2013, way before the George Floyd incident. I recall when headlines were filled with updates about the death of Trayvon Martin, then Philando Castile, and so on. In my freshman year of college, I recall dissecting news articles on how the media framed the BLM movement in the past.
But today, I am not looking at 2013 news articles about the BLM. Instead, I along with millions of other Americans, are witnessing the recurrences of the past flood back, due to the negligence of society to protect Black lives. Many nations today only exist due to the exploitation of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), but continue hatred towards its creators. But I am hopeful that things can change. That is why I joined AP—to help those marginalized voices be heard. Additionally, I have realized that being non-racist is not enough and that my inaction benefits no one. That is why I aim to be anti-racist.
The difference between non-racist and anti-racist (yes there is a difference) is that non-racism means to passively denounce racism by not engaging in racist behaviors/slurs while anti-racism means actively opposing racism via addressing, confronting, and eliminating racism/racist behaviors. I think Angela Davis puts it nicely in the following quote:
Ways to Take Action
Again, I want to reiterate that I am on this journey to becoming anti-racist and that I am in no means an expert on this topic. I aim to always keep learning and educating myself and I hope you do too. If you choose to join me on this journey to becoming anti-racist or simply want to learn more, I encourage you to do the following: enroll in this highly informative anti-racism training (enrollment opens July 17th), listen to BIPOC stories, read black stories, support black-owned businesses, engage in conversations about race even if it’s uncomfortable, call out racist behavior, or simply start by doing a google search for the terms such as “microaggressions”, “white supremacy in law enforcement”, “redlining”, “structural inequality in education”, “brown eye blue eye experiment”, “school to prison pipeline”, or “implicit bias”. If you have anything to add to this list, please feel free to comment below!
Some Videos to Watch:
Some Things to Read:
- This Google Drive full of black history and activism reads
- The Table: Stories from Black Women in Student Affairs by Various Authors
- Becoming by Michelle Obama
- Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Posted By ezoza ismailova
Posted Jul 13th, 2020