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Anti-Oppression

Background

Racism is prejudice plus power; anyone of any race can have/exhibit racial prejudice, but in North America, white people have the institutional power, therefore Racism is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against people of color based on the belief that whiteness is superior. It is insidious, systemic, devastating, and integral to understanding both the history of the United States and the everyday experiences of those of us living in this country.

Note: A common, incorrect definition of racism is the colloquial definition: “racism is prejudice against someone based on their skin color or ethnicity and can be committed by anyone.” This is NOT an accurate definition nor the one used in most anti-racist circles. It highlights individuals' thinking and actions but ignores embedded institutional and cultural systems.

Non-white folks can be agents of racism as well (particularly when acting as representatives of white-dominated systems, such as higher education) by perpetuating the notion of white superiority and using it to discriminate against other people of color. For example, a black manager at a company may insist that a black employee's natural hair looks "unprofessional," or an Asian professor may knock points off the presentation grade of a Latinx student who speaks with an accent.


Anti-Racism is strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter racism, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on race.

What does racism look like?

Racial Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to race. They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of racial hierarchy. Racial MicroinvalidationsMicroinsultsMicroassaults are specific types of microaggressions.

Note: The prefix “micro” is used because these are invocations of racial hierarchy at the individual level (person to person), where as the "macro" level refers to aggressions committed by structures as a whole (e.g. an organizational policy). "Micro" in no way minimalizes or otherwise evaluates the impact or seriousness of the aggressions.

Further Reading: 

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• 21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear On A Daily Basis

• No, You’re Not Imagining It: 3 Ways Racial Microaggressions Sneak into Our Lives

• The Bias of ‘Professionalism’ Standards

How Microaggressions Are Experienced By Different US Employees

• Living with Racial Battle Fatigue: Why Fighting Microaggressions Can Feel Like Treading Water

• What If White People Had to Deal with Racist Microaggressions?

• If Native Americans Said the Stuff White People Say (Video)

• How to Be An Ally to Someone Experiencing Microaggressions

• Common Words and Phrases That Have Seriously Racist Roots

Tokenism is presence without meaningful participation. For example, a superficial invitation for participation without ongoing dialogue and support, handpicked representatives who are expected to speak for the whole (socially oppressed) group (e.g. ‘tell us how women experience this issue’). Tokenism is often used as a band-aid solution to help the group improve its image (e.g. ‘we’re not racist, look there’s a person of colour on the panel.’). (from Sustainable Campuses)

Similarly, this attitude of "one is enough/they're all the same" contributes to the mindset that one person of color or one Native person can stand in for all people of color and Native people respectively. Not only is it problematic and illogical to assume that one individual's perspective and experiences can be generalized to millions of other people, it also promotes to the idea that a friendship, relationship, or just exposure to one or a few people of color or Native people negates racist thoughts, ideas, or behavior toward others (i.e. "I'm not a racist, my boyfriend is black" or "My costume isn't racist--my best friend is First Nation and she thinks it's hilarious").

 

Further Reading:

Colorblindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. This not only amounts to a dismissal of the lived experiences of people of color, but also suggests that racism does not exist so long as one ignores it.

I don't see color. I just see people.

We're all just people.

I don't care if you're black, white, green, or purple-polka-dotted!

#AllLivesMatter

At face value, colorblindness seems like a good thing — actually living up to Dr. King's  ideal of judging people on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. However, colorblindness alone is not sufficient to combat racism or heal racial wounds on a national or personal level. It is only a half-measure that, in the end, operates as a form of racism. (from PsychologyToday.com)

Mic

Mic correspondent Darnell L. Moore lays down the definitive takedown of #AllLivesMatter everyone needs to hear.

Further reading: 

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Support Resources for People of Color & Native Folks

Practicing Self-Care

 If you need a little pick-me-up...

• An Important Reminder 

Types of Self-Care

• Here’s What To Do If You Can’t Afford Therapy

If you're unable to see a therapist or mental health pro...

• Self-Care DIY: A How-To Just For You

• Surviving & Resisting Hate: A Toolkit For People of Color (pdf)

• Self Care For People of Color After Psychological Trauma

• Self-Care in the Native American Communities (Video)

• Self-Care and Black Intellectual Labor

• If You're Black, Rest Is Power

 Study Shows Belief That Black Women Are Innately Strong Is Linked To Depression

• Test Used to Diagnose Depression Was Designed for White People

• 11 Black Queer and Trans Women Discuss Self-Care

• Selena’s Reflection: Self Care Among Leaders of Color

• Native-American Know-How: How To Take Care of Yourself First

• Why We Need Self-Care in the Face of Race-Based Trauma

• Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem

• The Radical Politics of Self-Love and Self-Care

• Audre Lorde Thought of Self-Care as an "Act of Policital Warfare."

• A Little Self-Care Comic


For People of Color & Native People in Crisis

• Crisis Text LineText START to 741-741

• Lifeline Crisis Chat (Online Messaging)

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline(800) 273-8255

• RAINN 24/7 Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

• RAINN Live Chat (National Sexual Assault Online Hotline)

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: (800) 799-7233 (calls are anonymous)

Ayana Therapy--Online Therapy for Marginalized & Intersectional Communities

• What to Do If Your Rights Are Violated at a Demonstration or Protest (ACLU.org)

Community Education & Support


Local & National Support Organizations

Scholarly Conversations

Books