Updated: Jun 26, 2020
I’m asking you a question, as the title suggests, I want to know how YOU fit anti-racism education and action into your life? If you don’t have an answer to that, I suggest you use this post to help you think about how you are going to do so in future. Equality is more important than balance, but I think for us to make lasting change we need to find a balance with how this fits into our lives, and acknowledge that we have the privilege to do so.
I’m embarrassed to admit that although I had done some work to educate myself in the last few years prior to the most recent #BlackLivesMatter movement, I hadn’t done enough and I certainly hadn’t made any progress in being actively anti-racist. The one thing I do know is that there is no point dwelling on what you haven’t done in the past and feeling guilty. Guilt is not a useful emotion when discussing this topic. Remember that spending time feeling guilty is time you could have spent educating yourself and others.
I shared a post on my Instagram but I wanted the opportunity to talk about it in a little more depth. I am by no means an expert, I am on my own journey of education and action. Therefore I am approaching this post from the viewpoint of a coach and how I have used my knowledge to help me formulate a goal I can achieve and plan the points along the way that will help me to fulfil this goal.
My goal is this:
I am continually educating myself on issues around race and I am being actively anti-racist.
You might notice that it is written in the present tense and I am using positive language. There is an important reason for both of these things.
I could have written “ I want to stop being naive to the racism that exists inside me and around me.”
The problem I have with this, and what I would urge you to think about when writing any goal, is that it is focused on what I don’t want and an action I want to stop. (I’m going to delve into this in more detail in my next post “when did we all get so obsessed with what we don’t want?”) For the purpose of this post I will say simply it is important to think about what you want, not what you don’t want.
The second statement is also written as something in the future which can create too much distance from it so that it doesn’t feel as attainable. I urge all my clients to write their goals in the present tense. Of course every client is different and for some people it doesn’t ring true and they don’t feel able to connect with it in the present tense. I would recommend playing around with the words until you find something that feels right.
To showcase this simply, read the two goals below.
“I want to be anti-racist”
“I am continually learning and educating myself to help me be anti-racist”
If these were said by two separate people, who would you be putting your money on that they would achieve their goal? I’ll leave that for you to think about.
Back to my original question, if you don’t know how you are going to sustain finding time to educate yourself and take action to become anti-racist I suggest you make this a goal. Write it down. Make it present tense. Think about what you can realistically do. Set a time frame. As much as possible, stick to that time frame, or if you can’t, learn from it and look at what else you may need to adjust.
There is no point just saying I’m going to read Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race. When are you going to start it? When are you going to finish it? Who are you going to discuss it with afterwards to help you take your learning further? Take action now to make sure that these tv shows, books and podcasts don’t just end up on your watch/read/listen list never to actually see the light of day.
I believe that the majority of people have the best of intentions right now. We have to understand the fact that our intentions aren’t enough. We need to make commitments.
We need to commit to action. We need to commit to education. We need to commit to change.