Are you ready for the journey?
Understand that coming to terms with your own bias and privilege will not be an easy experience. It is necessary to feel feelings of guilt, shame, and anger throughout this process.
“Racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us — black, white, everyone — no matter how well meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out. It starts with self-examination and listening to those whose lives are different than our own. It ends with justice, compassion and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets.”
- Michelle Obama
Before you continue, you need to internalize the reality of this journey:
- This will challenge every truth you thought you had
- This will make you feel uncomfortable and guilty
- This will make you feel angry and sad
- This will make you want to quit
- This is hard work that never ends
- This will empower you to call out racism
- This is hope
Before you continue, you need others to support your journey:
- Do you have a friend, colleague, community to have a safe conversation with?
- Do you have people to talk to and ask questions?
- Do you have people around you to go on this journey with you?
Racism is much more than just Black and White, and it takes different shapes in different places around the world. Oppression does not only happen in the U.S. We should all take some time and look at our own communities to understand the systems that are in place to oppress marginalized groups (be they gender, religion, national origin, education, sexual orientation, indigenous, etc.). But there is so much more work for us to do.
This guide is primarily created to help White people understand and take action against racism experienced by Black people in the United States. However, many of the steps and resources can help you — whoever and wherever you are — address your biases, move beyond them, and take action.
Starting your journey:
Seeking justice means amplifying Black voices and listening. It means listening to those whose lives are different from your own.
- Remember this not your narrative. This is not about you.
Become aware of the facts. Look at the data and at the history of what led us to where we are today. Don’t assume — educate yourself.
- Check out this list of “Anti-racism resources for white people” to help you on this part of the journey. It includes articles, books, podcasts, and more for you to explore and empower yourself through knowledge. (Document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein in May 2020.)
- As you build your awareness of your own bias, dig deeper and get curious about where these thoughts and ideas came from. Once you go through self-inquiry, you can start to replace these ideas with a more compassionate view.
Change the narrative you see
So much of our bias and view of life is a shadow of what we see. Change what you see.
- Expand your perspective — find things written by or starring Black people
- Explore new books
- Follow different people on social media
- Watch different TV shows and movies
- Transform your network
- Get involved with groups with different communities
- Volunteer at an organization serving other communities
- Attend networking events with new communities
- Immerse yourself in feeling uncomfortable
You can have a real impact, but this requires action. It requires doing hard work.
- Be an inclusive leader by being mindful of your actions and words
- Change our processes and systems to provide equitable opportunities and access
- Invest in change if you have the means to
- Invest in the Black community
- Invest in Black entrepreneurs
- Donate to funds and support initiatives
- Call and contact your local legislators and demand action
- Check-in on your Black friends, family, partners, loved ones, and colleagues
- Keep supporting after the news stops covering this
- Talk about racism and call out people out on their racism — online, on social media, your friends your family
- Vote — your voice and vote matter
We need to disrupt systems of power and privilege. We need to unite not just through hashtags or social media movements but action. We need to all do the work. And the work does not end once you embark on this journey. It is a life decision that sticks with you and that you have to maintain forever. That you need to pass on to others. That you need to embed into your work life and your personal life.
Daily Journey Tracker
Can you commit to activating one part of your journey daily?