10 Facts You Need to Know About Anti-Blackness

I’m going to keep this one short and to the point.

A universal approach to understanding racism does not work. Specifying different forms of racism is critical. Understanding anti-Blackness helps push against the idea that all people of color experience racism in the same way.

  1. Anti-Blackness is a form of racism. Racism is a more generalized, umbrella term used to describe prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is marginalized.
  2. Anti-Blackness goes far beyond opposition and hostility. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, anti-Blackness is defined as opposition or hostility toward Black [and Black presenting] people. Moreover, anti-Blackness is systemic and characterized by the same ideas and behaviors that made enslavement and Jim Crow laws possible and that today, allow systems like redlining, the school-to-prison pipeline, and police brutality to thrive.
  3. Anti-Blackness is inhumane. Anti-Blackness stems from an inability and refusal to recognize Black humanity. For centuries Black people have been treated as disposable property.
  4. Without Blackness, there is no Whiteness. Anti-Blackness is a consequence of a hatred for Blackness and a need for Blackness. Whiteness and white privilege is reinforced and empowered through the mistreatment of Black and Black-presenting people.
  5. Anti-Blackness also hurts non-Black people. Non-Black, melanated people also experience anti-Blackness via colorist discrimination.
  6. Anti-Blackness is layered. Classism, colorism, and sexism are often threaded in anti-Blackness. For example, the myth of the“Welfare Queen” — a trope weaponized during Reagan's presidency in an effort to terrorize Black communities — is often associated with Black women while most Americans receiving welfare are White people, both poor and wealthy.
  7. Black people pay a high price for anti-Blackness. We can see the impact of anti-Blackness through the high price Black people pay for existing — i.e. Black people pay higher interest rates and are denied access to opportunities like higher education. Black people also bear the highest penalties for social measures — Black people are more likely to be shot and killed by the police, more likely to be arrested, and serve longer sentences for the same crimes committed by persons of other racial groups.
  8. Stereotypes and a fear of being associated with stereotypes associated with Black people are a consequence of Anti-Blackness. Anti-Blackness extends beyond people who present as Black on the surface and also shows up as a distaste for characteristics that are stereotypically associated with Black people i.e. loud, ghetto, ratchet. This is also seen in the devaluation of goods and services produced by Black people.

9. Anyone can be anti-Black, including Black people. Melanated people who discriminate against or actively reject ideas and behaviors stereotypically associated with Blackness are also anti-Black.

10. You MUST challenge anti-Blackness. Start by looking within. You can start confronting and challenging anti-Blackness by listing the characteristics that are stereotypically associated with Black people. Demystify these associations by observing the brutal treatment Black people historically have had to face and or shifting the narrative to understand some of these characteristics as assets i.e. the stereotype that Black people are lazy originated from slave masters’ rage in response to losing the explicit right to own Black people as property; Black women, stereotypically viewed as too loud should be viewed as vocal, strong, assertive.

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I believe every moment of every day is an opportunity to create the world that should exist — a world more just, more equitable, and more inclusive. My work is dedicated to bringing this belief to life. I bring over ten years of professional experience designing strategies to actively challenge oppression and a life-time of experience unapologetically resisting white supremacy.

I founded A.M. Consulting, the industry’s leading consulting firm for improving culture, connection, and community. Through A.M. Consulting, I built an ecosystem of support, made up of a village of experts — from the ground up. The firm leverages human connection and real-time data to support organizations of all sizes to better align their impact and their intentions.

I also founded Freedom Readers, the world’s only virtual book club designed specifically for freedom dreamers. It is often described as a space for healing and authentic connection, and boasts a 100% retention rate for readers.

For real-time posts and resources on antiracism, anti-white-supremacy, DEI, social justice, facilitation, and more, follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Learn more at altagraciamontilla.com.

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Altagracia Montilla

Altagracia Montilla

Freedom-dreamer, facilitator, conflict coach, healer, building strategies to change the world. Learn more at altagraciamontilla.com