Originally published by WhereChangeStarted.com
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. It’s 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 defense 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 state 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.
4. Community Action
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.