Taking Action to Be Actively Anti-Racist

Words by Ijeoma Oluo

Over the past week I’ve spent a lot of time listening, reading, and learning, trying to take action to become more actively anti-racist – and I know many of us are trying to do the same. The most apparent thing is that I have a lot to learn, and secondly that it’s on us to educate ourselves. I don’t have many of the answers but there are several people, articles, and resources that I’ve found helpful – as an Asian American, as a mom, and as human being – and want to pass along to try to amplify their strong messages.

Listen & Learn From Powerful Voices

@rachel.cargle

Rachel, a public academic, activist, writer and lecturer has written many helpful articles over the years including her piece “Why You Need to Stop Saying All Lives Matter”. Over the weekend, she shared a Public Address on Revolution: Revolution Now which several of you shared with me.

@ohhappydani

The graphic below is by Danielle of @ohhappydani, who has a talent for using her art (prints can be pre-ordered here) and words to educate and inspire justice in an uplifting and heartfelt way. Over the past few months, several of her pieces also address anti-Asian racism.

Don’t Be Colorblind

I appreciated Kiara Goodwin’s piece What I Hear When Someone Says “I Don’t See Color” and how this common statement may not be the most conducive for acknowledging one another’s full individuality and truly working towards anti racism.

reading the signals allyship print

Reading the Signals” artwork by Danielle Coke (@ohhappydani)

Examine and Work on Your Own Biases

Being an Asian American, this starts with honest, internal evaluation and being more deliberate about the accounts that fill my feed, the brands and stores I partner with and patronize, and the authors I read and thought leaders I follow.

Here’s an article outlining allyship actions for Asians to stand up for the Black community by Michelle Kim.

Thank you to Hitha for re-sharing this article by Kat Chow: ‘Model Minority’ Myth Again Used as a Racial Wedge Between Asians and Blacks. Hitha has been one of my favorite follows on Instagram – she regularly shares insight and readings across a multitude of topics, and I recently started the book Me & White Supremacy after reading her post.

And thank you to several readers for sharing these other older but relevant reads: 6 Ways Asian Americans can Tackle Anti-Black Racism in Their Families by Kim Tran and Dismantling the Barrier Between Asians and African-Americans by Roseanne Liu

Graphic by @brenna_anastasia

Actively Guide Young Minds

I appreciated these words from @denisevasi‘s post about cultivating a library with diverse MAIN characters: “Books that highlight people of color give your child the opportunity to see parts of themselves in someone who looks completely different than they do. AND they give your child the opportunity to see life from someone else’s perspective.”

These are a few of the additional parenting resources I’ve found helpful:

@theconsciouskid

An education, policy and research org, they shared this study visually “Are Your Kids Too Young To Talk About Race” (adapted from work by The Children’s Community School) and also have a few curated lists of children’s book suggestions, like this one celebrating Black boys and this one honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

@children.bookreview

She regularly features titles with diverse main characters, but just published a helpful blog post roundup with book recommendations by age group (toddlers – young adult). I first got to know Allie, who runs this account (a Black owned business), when I was pregnant with Nori, and really admire her passion for promoting literacy and open minded young readers.

@britthawthorne

Britt has a video on how she talked about current events with her 5-year old. She teaches anti-bias and anti-racism workshops for educators, and shares resources for parents and caregivers to navigate conversations about race with children.

@hereweeread

Charnaie, a diversity and inclusion expert, is the founder of 50 States 50 Books which aims to help close the literacy gap in America by providing free diverse books to underfunded and underprivileged organizations. She shares the diverse and inclusive books that she reads with her two children.

The White Family’s Guide to Talking About Racism

Educators and mothers Naomi O’Brien and LaNesha Tabb created the resource to help guide families through the difficult and necessary conversations about racism.

Toys with Diverse Representation by Kids Play Tricks

 

Diverse Children’s Books for Kindergarteners

One mom shared the list of books she’s read with her kindergartener that touch on a wide variety of diversity and inclusion topics. The article itself isn’t super user friendly as the titles aren’t linked but there are some great recommendations for approaching complex topics with little ones.


Vote For & Support Change

VOTE in your local, state, and national elections. Start conversations (which will sometimes be uncomfortable, especially amongst traditional Asian elders) within your social and family circles. Speak up and call out racism when you witness it in your daily life. Donate to organizations that align with what you believe in.

Vote

As former President Obama shared in his statement this week, “the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.” Of course it’s important to participate in the national elections (particularly this November) but pay attention to and participate in your local and state politics as well. You can check your voter registration status here and find your state’s registration deadlines here.

Donate

There are so many organizations that can benefit from donations – these are just a few that resonated with Nick and I and that we’ve made donations to:

  • Campaign Zero – a police reform campaign that has created 10 proposed policies to reduce police violence nationwide. Per their site, “funds donated…support the analysis of policing practices across the country, research to identify effective solutions to end police violence, technical assistance to organizers leading police accountability campaigns and the development of model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.”
  • Loveland Foundation – Founded by Rachel Cargle (mentioned above) and aims to “bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, particularly Black women and girls, by providing financial assistance to those seeking therapy and through fellowships, residency programs and listening tours.”
  • Black Mamas Matter – a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance that“centers Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.”
  • Know Your Rights Camp – A non-profit created by NFL player Colin Kaepernick to teach young people (particularly Black youth ages 12 -18) that they have the right to be: free, healthy, brilliant, safe, loved, courageous, alive, trusted, educated and to know their rights (training on exercising their legal rights during encounters with the police).
Maximize your Donation

As a reminder, many employers match employee donations to qualified charitable organizations up to a certain amount annually. Several of you shared with me that your employer is matching 200% employee contributions to certain organizations right now (I can’t confirm this myself, but the double matching was mentioned for Apple, Netflix, Electronic Arts, Sephora, Capital Group, just to name a few).

For fellow Sephora Beauty Insiders with points sitting in your account, during June your points can be redeemed as a donation to benefit the National Black Justice Coalition.

Additional Compiled Resources

While this carousel post on “How to be Actively Antiracist” from Good Good Good Co. has been shared a lot, it’s worth mentioning again. It includes several podcasts, movies, shows, and books that dive into past and present racism and conversations about racial justice, as well as this document of resources.

I learned about many of these through your guys’ recommendations and am grateful for that. Please help keep this important dialogue going by sharing additional resources, organizations, books and suggestions.  

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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