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8. The Death of DEI
  • Writer's pictureAntonio Da Veiga Rocha

Racism and Antiracism (Part 3: Stepping into Action)

In the first part of this blog series Racism and Antiracism we discussed how antiracism is not a new act, how imbedded in the social justice movements of modern and contemporary times it has been, and how the new voices giving light to these historic efforts are bringing about an awareness that is more personal and practical; what the individual CAN do.

We defined and broke down actions and reactions on racism and antiracism, personal and social ones, as well as provided references of individuals and groups that have carried out important antiracism work. That post was also about showing some clear evidentiary and systemic forms of racism as experienced recently by the media commentaries of the Ukraine and Russian war, and how the power of reporting discourses is continuously tainted by racial biases.

In the second post on the subject, we choose to speak on a more personal level, with a more personal tone. How racism for many individuals of color like myself resides as a constant identity symbol, whether we want it or not. How one can be born into racism, marked by its hand without having first taken a breath. Such personal accounts provide a more nuanced and empathetical connection to another’s experiences with racism.

The Final of Three

Part our efforts here at KinSite is to feed pathways for individuals and organizations, any social production space really, to move through such learnings and be active in these needs. But our work is also about advocating and furthering the call of justice. We are activists in this sense, like so many others. We mentioned that in this final post we would provide some steps that can be taken to combat this poison that is racism. To mention all the tools is an impossibility. The gears for facing and working against it, Antiracism work, are plenty, too many to categorize here. My attempt is to provide some initial tools to open one’s awareness-space; as building awareness IS the most continuous and relevant key in this process.

The 5 steps below are resolutely simplified, almost rudimentary. This is because simplicity is at the heart of affective work. As one saying goes: To be at its most simple is to be at its most complex, and vice versa. To be active doesn’t need to require much, just a willingness to advance one’s awareness.

1. Study History

There is no getting away from this ‘tool’. Having historical information in one’s framework is essential to understanding the idea of ‘currents’; effectively, how systems become systems. So, when one speaks of systemic racism, we are speaking about currents, stream of continuous actions that become imbedded in our social fabric.

2. Explore People/Human Libraries

Here you can discover more about people/human libraries. Now, seeing as you may be starting off, you may not have such immediate possibilities available to you. What you can do is adapt the core concept behind the practice, which is that real people are the best knowledge libraries bar-none. The information they hold is a matrix of information and realizations, one that no material library can have so intrinsically.

3. Biographies of a Persons of Color

Simply put, one would be hard pressed to find a biography of a person of color that doesn’t touch on acts of racism. When we think of it for a moment, we can see how incredible that actually is; such realities speak for themselves. Ralph Ellison: a Biography is a great book to delve into, a personal recommendation of mines as it landscapes the background of one of the greatest novels ever written, Invisible Man.

4. Take a Bias Test

Here you can take a bias test. Why is this important? Well, firstly understanding that we all have biases is important. Such awareness encloses you in the reality that no matter who you are, you have been influenced by our (society’s) collective framing of others. But with such practices also comes the minimization of others, often into simplified and inaccurate characterizations. Such tests can reveal such information to you, which can help the beginning processes of removing such inaccuracies from your life.

5. Take a Course on Privilege

What such courses allow you to do is understand your position in society relative to many social factors that identify us, such as race, religion, economic status, etc. Such courses go through a process of unpacking one’s backpack of privilege to understand how the systems we live in either helps us or hinders us.

And the Work Continuous…

These are all antiracism acts. They are actions that move against the systems of racism. All together these three posts have looked to approach the topic of racism from different angles and provide multiple entry points. As always, you can reach out to us here at KinSite for further ways that antiracism can play a part in your racial justice activism, and how the steps above can be added to any DEI processes you are currently carrying out.


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