Anti-Racist Resource Guide (not compiled by me obviously)
This was put together by Victoria Alexandar. The full document is here. Go there and close this tab, it’s probably been updated since I copy-pasted this.
The only modification I made was to drop some of the explicitly US-focused stuff (charities, organizations). It’s all in the document at the link above. The rest is still relatively US-centric; if anyone can recommend good resources for South Africa and beyond then let me know.
Structural Racism vs Individual Racism
Racism describes a system of power and oppression/advantage and disadvantage based on race. Structural racism is a system, or series of systems, in which institutional practices, laws, policies, social- cultural standards, and socio-political decisions establish and reinforce norms that perpetuate racial group inequities. Within the context of the United State of America, and other nations, structural racism takes the form of white supremacy; the preferential treatment, privilege, power, access, networks, and access to opportunities available to white people, which often designate communities of color to chronic adverse outcomes.
Individual racism refers to a person’s racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviors. Individual racism stems from conscious and unconscious bias and is reinforced by structural racism. Please visit the list of books, videos, movies, and TV shows within this guide to learn more about how racism functions and affects all of our day-to-day lives.
Understanding Implicit Bias
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These are mental shortcuts that help us more easily make sense of our incredibly complex world. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. These associations develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages.
We all have implicit biases, no matter our identities and regardless of how educated we are on the topic. These biases manifest themselves in ways that have impacts we may not desire.
Have you ever had a knee-jerk reaction or thought related to a person or situation, and then thought to yourself something like “That wasn’t cool of me” or “No, that is not the right thing to think;” that is your implicit bias and then your active consciousness reconsidering that bias.
It is difficult for many of us to talk about implicit or explicit bias; we are often brought up to believe that we live in a “just world,” that we treat people how they should be treated and as a result people get what they deserve. Bias directly contradicts that world view and our self or group concept.
Though we can learn and internalize these messages and biases very early in our lives, implicit biases are malleable and the associations we form can be unlearned. You engaging with this resource guide, in a meaningful way, lets me know that you are interested in learning how to shift your implicit biases toward an anti-racist lens. To learn more about how bias is learned, internalized, unlearned, and changed, please visit the list of books, articles, tv shows, and movies included in this guide.
This is your initial awakening to the racial injustices around you. You are not only finally able to see that they exist, but that you play a crucial role in stopping the cycle by becoming anti-racist.
Being aware of racial injustices or understanding that you have privilege won’t make you antiracist, however. You have to keep going through the remaining stages.
Brace yourself though. This awakening is not a one time event. It will happen once, on a broad level regarding race and white supremacy, but will continue to happen on issue specific levels as you dive deeper into the work and create space for more and more varied lived experiences in your understanding of these systems.
This is where you become an intentional student in this work. If you are engaging with this resource guide, it is likely the stage you are in right now. From webinars, lectures, and workshops, to blog posts, books, and documentaries, you study the complexities of racism and the many ways it manifests within our society.
The point of educating yourself on race and white supremacy isn’t for you to be able to articulate these complex topics in intellectual debates about inequality. Its about you being able to develop the eye for identifying white supremacy in its many forms (in others and in yourself) without being hand-held to do so.
This stage of the process is crucial to the remaining stages of the work because you need a solid foundational understanding of white supremacy and race in order to begin the work of dismantling your own thoughts, beliefs, and practices that perpetuate and uphold it.
Do this with intention. Don’t just accumulate resources to skip, without diving deep into them.
This is the stage where the real self work begins. This is where you disarm yourself of the racist tools of defence that you’ve used to bypass the work of anti-racism and harm people of color in your efforts. This is where you begin to replace them with tools of accountability to stop racist behaviors.
Self interrogation is a skill and a process. Being effective and efficient at this stage takes time and practice.
While it will start out as the part of this work that source the most discomfort within you, you will eventually get to a place where you’re operating out of a growth mindset and embrace the many ways to identify how you can better be living up to the person you want to be in this fight for human equality.
Only after the appropriate effort in the self-interrogation stage of becoming anti-racist can you be trusted to do anti-racism work in a way that honors communities of color. Attempting to do this part of the work without accomplishing the first three stages is how you end up harming communities of color with white saviorism, performative allyship, and more (which is just your garden variety of white supremacy to begin with).
In stage four, you incorporate what you’ve learned during your ongoing process of becoming anti-racist into your everyday life. You leverage your positions of leadership and influence - no matter how big or small - to encourage others to do their own work in anti-racism. You elevate the intellectual contributions and scholarship of people of color educators and thought leaders in the process.
This stage of the work will not be void of mistakes, but the way those are handled and the number of times they are repeated thereafter (as least as possible), is what will make the difference here. Because leading by example in your failures is but one of the many ways for you to do this work authentically.
Having Conversations about Racism and Bias
Reading books and watching documentaries on anti-racism is one thing but how are you bringing that energy into your day-to-day lives and interpersonal relationships? If you’re going to be on this journey toward being anti-racist, you must commit to combating racism and bias when you see it and hear it.
Common questions include things like “what do I say when someone is racist but doesn’t mean it?” “Should I speak up when someone offends my identity at work?” “How can I talk to my parents about their racist language?” “How do I check my Uncle Bob when he’s actin’ a fool at the dinner table?” Like doing anything new, IT’S SCARY! But that’s okay! I’ve put together some quick references for you to read and practice so you can start changing the minds and hearts of people in your life. Remember, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” - Albus Dumbledore.