Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression 101...... 2.0

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Maysie Maysie's picture
Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression 101...... 2.0

This thread seems to be a good idea. 

Oh, and just for everyone's information and hilarity, here an old thread of the same name. Look how well it went.

Old A-R A-O 101 thread.

Once I learn how to make threads sticky, this one will be sticky and gooey and remain at the top of the list of threads in the AR forum.

I can't tell you how much fun this is gonna be. I really can't.

Issues Pages: 
Maysie Maysie's picture

So, the best of the best from my high-tech, super-sonic list of anti-racist links that I have compiled from my years of doing this work professionally and providing resources to people and organizations. Please use this thread to add any resources or links you know that you've found helpful.

That which does not affect you, you often do not see or understand

In other words, if you are White, 99% of the time Racism doesn't affect you. Therefore, you may not see nor understand Racism when it happens.

If you are a Man, 99% of the time Sexism doesn't affect you. Therefore, you may not grok Sexist behavior when it occurs nor will you always see Sexism when it is plain to others.

This goes for any -ist or -ism or -phobia you can think of. This goes for you, even if you're a minority, when it concerns people who are not like you.

What does not affect you personally often will not impact on your consciousness unless you've trained yourself to see and understand.

Therefore, the next time you feel yourself declaring something "not racist" or "not sexist" or "not offensive", think about whether you feel that way because you're not the one on the receiving end of racist, sexist, or offensive behavior/words/actions/images.

Above from The Angry Black Woman: Things you need to understand 


Racialicious, which I quote from a lot, has an excellent comment guideline policy.


If you are not here to talk about both race and pop culture, you should not be here.

If you are not here to share and learn from people of different backgrounds, you should not be here.

Stop playing the Oppression Olympics.

Don't steer the conversation off-topic.

Use sources when discussing controversial claims.

Beware of ventriloquy.

Check your own privilege.

Ultimately, we want this space to be for people who want to discuss race, not argue for the status quo, or argue for the sake of arguing.

From On the Comments Section and the Blog


The classic from Jay Smooth: How to Tell People They Sound Racist

Video link.

Jay's blog is illdoctrine. I love him.



Racism 101 An ever-expanding list of common understandings we share as anti-racists.

1. White privilege exists.


3. Flipping the actors does not lend clarity to an issue, nor does it mean that you have created equivalent analogies. See entry under Fallacious Flip.

4. People must own their feelings and expressions. Ventriloquy is not helpful in discussions of racism.

5. Seeking the empowerment of people of color is not the same as disenfranchising white people.

6. Racism is more than individual acts of meanness


8. Defensive responses to issues voiced by people of color are invocations of privilege.

9. A claim to anti-racism cannot be made based on any variation of the "black friend defense" (Mexican boyfriend, Asian wife, children of color, etc.).


    12. Celebrations of “multiculturalism” do not address racism

    13. People of color are not responsible for the education of white people

    14. It’s not all about you.

    15. An experience you have as a white person that you think is similar to an experience related by a person of color is not a valid proof that racism doesn’t exist.

    From resistracism. I love her too.



    A Guide to Racism 101 for Clueless White People, Written by a Slightly Less Clueless White Person
    People of Color (PoC) encounter this on a regular basis: they're online or in real life and suddenly a white person, who barely understands privilege or racism, is demanding that they educate them regarding the topic. The white person says, in essence, "Hi! What can I do to help fix racism?" or "Hi! Can you explain racism to me?" or "Hi! What's this 'privilege' stuff?"

    Understandably, the PoC says, "Google. You know how to use it." They say this because they're real people, who have real lives and commitments and other things they need to do, and they weren't born to go around educating white people who want to sit on their ass and have an education handed to them on a silver platter.

    And then the white person gets butt-hurt because all they want to do is learn and they're trying to educate themselves and that PoC is being so mean to them! And then they sulk about it and often post about how they're trying to learn and become better people but damn it, PoC are so hostile, all that does is teach whites to shut up and sit down! And the white person fails to understand that the PoC wasn't saying, "You're a moron, shut up and sit down," they were saying, "Look, I don't have time to teach you. It's not my responsibility to give you Racism 101. Go educate yourself, the resources are out there."


    This seems an appropriate time to bring up "colorblindness". The concept behind being "colorblind" is that we shouldn't see or acknowledge race - that it shouldn't be important to us. Being colorblind is often held up as a positive thing, and is extolled to other white people - that we should all be colorblind, and if we notice or pay attention to race, then we're being racist. The problem with colorblindness though is that being colorblind is a luxury that usually only white people have - you can only choose to "not notice" race if it doesn't negatively impact your life on a daily basis. Your race isn't going to work against you, therefore you don't have to pay any attention to it or anyone else's race. Saying that "race doesn't matter" denies the very real effects race has on our society and PoC.


    Accept that you will make mistakes and you will show your privileged ass and people will get upset at you about it. It doesn't feel good to have people upset at us; we're social animals and we don't like it when we hurt people and people get angry. But don't get defensive; relax, take a deep breath, and know that however upset you're feeling about being jumped on, the people on the other side of the exchange are probably even more upset about what you said. 

    From Dragon Life: tamago23's Livejournal


    The Art of Defending Racism


    One thing I learned from studying the links above is that, as a "white" South African - i.e. with no political/institutional power - I cannot be racist. This unsettles me, being excused in this way. I'm inclined to agree that Racism is an entirely Western concept, though.


    We all have to learn to take our turn, and accept it graciously.

    Maysie Maysie's picture

    Hi Viking. If that's what you learned I suggest doing some more reading.

    And can we not have a discussion of this sort in this thread? Viking, start a new thread if you like on what you've said. Thanks.


    Somewhere along the line I got the idea that 'stickys' did not just stay at the top- but that they were also closed threads.

    I think this one should be. If there is ANY discussion at all, then even if it doesn't get sidelined [which it will], its going to be too cluttered to be a quick and efficient go-to resource place.

    I understand the intent of wanting others to be able to contribute links- but I don't think this is going to work unless it is closed.

    So maybe a closed sticky with the last comment being a direction where people should post links/resources? Then the moderator adds the contribution to the sticky. Something like that.

    The other way to do it would be to have a direction in the sticky that this is not the place for ANY discussion. With all discussing comments, regardless of content to be removed by the moderator and dumped elsewhere. Like: "Potpourri Anti-Racism Discussion Material" That would include this comment of mine and the previous three.

    Maysie Maysie's picture

    I made the mistake of not heeding the suggestion to make this closed way back when I opened it a month ago. Maybe it was your suggestion, KenS, my wise friend.

    So here's the thing. I will close this thread, and keep it closed, and open it periodically if I hear about a new resource. Also, if anyone out there hears of any resources, send me a message here on babble, or send me an email at bigcitygal(at)rabble(dot)ca.

    Derailing for Dummies   OMG read this link!!!

    Maysie Maysie's picture

    I posted this by mistake in the Belgium thread.

    But it belongs here.

    W. Kamau Bell: Ending Racism in About an Hour

    His equation about country music being invented by Black folks is brilliant.

    Catchfire Catchfire's picture


    "Those Tears"

    of a white woman who came to the group for Women of Color
    her grief cut us into guilt while we clutched the straw
    of this tiny square inch we have which we need
    so desperately when we need so much more
    We talked her into leaving
    which took 10 minutes of our precious 60
    Those legion white Lesbians whose feelings are hurt
    because we have a Lesbians of Color Potluck
    once a month for 2 hours
    without them
    Those tears of the straight woman
    because we kicked out her boyfriend at the Lesbians only
    poetry reading where no microphone was provided
    & the room was much too small for all of us
    shouting that we were imperialists
    though I had spent 8 minutes trying to explain
    to her that an oppressed people
    cannot oppress their oppressor
    She ignored me
    charged into the room weeping & storming
    taking up 9 minutes of our precious tiny square inch
    Ah those tears
    which could be jails, graves, rapists, thieves, thugs
    those tears which are so puffed up with inappropriate grief
    Those women who are used to having their tears work
    rage at us
    when they don’t
    We are not real Feminists they say
    We do not love women
    I yell back with a wet face
    Where are our jobs? Our apartments?
    Our voices in parliament or congress?
    Where is our safety from beatings, from murder?
    You cannot even respect us to allow us
    60 uninterrupted minutes for ourselves

    Your tears are chains
    Feminism is the right of each woman
    to claim her own life her own time
    her own interrupted 60 hours
    60 days
    60 years
    No matter how sensitive you are
    if you are white
    you are
    No matter how sensitive you are
    if you are a man
    you are
    We who are not allowed to speak have the right
    to define our terms our turf
    These facts are not debatable
    Give us our inch
    & we’ll hand you a hanky



    Catchfire Catchfire's picture

    "Why I don't want to talk about race"

    I am a college professor, however, so I gave him some texts that to read that would take him from Reconstruction to the current moment in culture and history. I told him that these would help him develop an understanding of how the caste system of the United States is racialized, and that the understanding of the American experience is structured through the creation, implementation, and sustenance of the racial boundaries through policy and culture.

    Here’s the list:


    Ronald Takaki A DIFFERENT MIRROR

    Eric Lott LOVE AND THEFT


    Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall AGENTS OF REPRESSION: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement


    (B)ell hooks BLACK LOOKS

    Douglas A. Blackmon SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME




    Black people can’t talk to white people about race anymore. There’s really nothing left to say. There are libraries full of books, interviews, essays, lectures, and symposia. If people want to learn about their own country and its history, it is not incumbent on black people to talk to them about it. It is not our responsibility to educate them about it. Plus whenever white people want to talk about race, they never want to talk about themselves. There needs to be discussion among people who think of themselves as white. They need to unpack that language, that history, that social position and see what it really offers them, and what it takes away from them. As James Baldwin said, “As long as you think that you are white, there is no hope for you.”

    When you went to Africa, you said “you were the minority for the first time in your life.” That’s not true. You have been the only adult in a room full of children, the only man in room full of women, the only non-incarcerated person in a jail. In America if you were a minority at a hip-hop concert in Compton, you would still have the privilege that accrues unbidden to persons designated as white, with all of the political, social, and economic access that comes with it.


    Catchfire Catchfire's picture

    Maysie asked me to add another helpful link about critical race theory to this thread, which I have closed to mere mortals.

    Maysie wrote:
    This is a great link that explains the basics of critical race theory. Please ignore the Obama incident from more than 20 years ago that inspired the article.

    It’s an academic movement that looks at society and the law through a racial lens, and these days it’s more controversial than radical. The theory came around in the 1970s and ’80s as Bell and other law professors and activists became disillusioned with the results of the civil rights movement. Though blacks had supposedly gained equality before the law, they pointed out that whites continued to wield disproportionate power and enjoy superior standards of living. Classical liberal ideals such as meritocracy, equal opportunity, and colorblind justice, they said, actually served the white elite by cloaking and reinforcing society’s deep structural inequalities.

    Racism, according to this line of thought, is not a matter of bad behavior by individual racists; it’s embedded in American attitudes and institutions. Even with overt discrimination outlawed, institutional racism and unconscious biases—sometimes expressed through accidental slights, as when a white person praises a black person as“clean” and “articulate”—would keep minorities down.


    Derrick Bell and other legal scholars began using the phrase “critical race theory” in the 1970s as a takeoff on “critical legal theory,” a branch of legal scholarship that challenges the validity of concepts such as rationality, objective truth, and judicial neutrality. Critical legal theory was itself a takeoff on critical theory, a philosophical framework with roots in Marxist thought.

    Bell in particular advanced what he called “interest convergence theory,” which holds that whites will support minority rights only when it’s in their interest as well. For example, he saw the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 school-desegregation decision, Brown v. Board of Education, as a part of a Cold War effort to improve America’s standing among Third World countries. To redress racial wrongs, he sympathized with black nationalists’ calls for separate black institutions but also pushed for affirmative action at Harvard and elsewhere.


    Thanks Maysie!

    Topic locked