I went into a hole yesterday. An anti-racist one. It all started when I wrote an abstract for a special issue on what parenting and academic productivity may entail from an anti-racist perspective. I wrote my abstract, even submitted it, but then remained drawn to everything I saw on what it means to be anti-racist. I spent hours combing through literature from education, geography, social work, politics, and even public health. In the end, I found myself compiling definitions of what it means to be anti-racist. These definitions are the lifeline I needed for a new work I’m proposing. As I wrote everyone of them down, it became clear to me why anti-racism truly needs to prevail something Ibram Kendi eloquently portrays in his book.
There is no other way. Others have dictated what should occur for so long that racialized groups lack full breath and depth of what it means to see, feel, and be different. Anti-racism isn’t about persuading you to see us but more to rehumanize us as we undertake the reconstruction of who we are. And who we are, well that’s a conversation for another day. In the end here are 75+ definitions on what anti-racism means as gleaned from literature. I told you I went into a hole. Keep these definitions in mind. (Will keep adding more too)
To confront, eradicate, ameliorate racism.
To engage in a radical reorientation of our consciousness.
To engage in persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.
To express the idea that racial groups are equal and none needs developing and is supporting policy that reduce inequity.
To heal, organize and empower the oppressed.
To identify a phenomenon ‘racism’ and to do something about it.
To be a discourse of change.
To bring people together who are affected by a problem to increase their collective power so they can resolve the problem.
To presume, embrace, accept different views as essential ingredients to facilitate new ways of thinking.
To transform unequal social transactions.
To take a proactive stance against racial oppression in whatever format it manifests itself.
To be both self-aware and aware of important issues to the circumstances of black and minority ethnic groups, including incidents of covert or overt racism that can have such a profound effect in shaping their’ experiences.
To challenge structural racism and other intersecting oppressive systems—eg, ableism, classism, ethnocentrism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia—by shifting power—eg, funding and other critical resources, policies, processes, leadership, culture—so that marginalised and minoritised peoples can live healthily and thrive.
To deliver justice and equity.
To promote equality of opportunity among ethnoracial groups.
To create performative spaces in which the commonplaces of racism can be unsettled—in which racism can be addressed as a framing of meaning rather than as natural, while alternative possibilities are played out within these performative spaces.
To be both personal and political.
To become the kind of persons who can respond to as-yet-unimagined racial possibilities.
To think and rethink what it means to be a democracy.
To actively reject the institutional and structural aspects of race and racism.
To explain how racism is manifested in various spaces to make the the social construct of race visible.
To be engaged in an active process against racism.
To understand how race ideology is manufactured and how it impacts the lived, daily experiences of people.
To recognize the role of institutions, practices, and practitioners in producing and reproducing racial inequality.
To provide both blacks and whites with new ways of seeing and appreciating blackness.
To recognize more publicly and deeply how institutions including schools and educational institutions even when they embrace equity, diversity and inclusion may not necessarily serve the interests and needs of racially dominated groups.
To focus in a periscopic way on exposing institutionalized racism, interrogating and tracing origins of long-standing patterns and structures of inequality and predictive and using spaces (in my case public health spaces) to critique those explanations and practices that misinform and oppress people.
To raise awareness of how systems of racial bias and hierarchy are embedded within prevailing knowledge of systems and practices of institutions that limit access to resources or opportunities for marginalized communities.
To actively consider the possibilities of realizing more socially just understandings and constructions of the world.
To destabilize White-centric and western-centric ways of thinking and talking about racial differences and identity.
To tear down systems of inequality while constructing alternative spaces for understanding.
To undermine long-standing and traditionally unquestioned knowledge systems and practices that work to marginalize, misrepresent, and inflict violence upon people of color while also disrupting and misinforming the worldview of a dominant White society.
To problematize dominant constructions and interpretations of knowledge, including the practice of defining, characterizing, and making moral judgements about regions and their associated populations.
To recognize the role stories play in challenging racist characterizations of social and geographic life.
To create knowledge that exposes and disrupts racialized messages and meanings found in the mainstream, dominant language, ideas, practices used to frame and understand racialized groups.
To actively consider the power dynamics behind the partitioning and valuing of space and human life and the repercussions they create for various racialized groups.
To facilitate learning about injustices and justice and how knowledge and practices can be unlearned and relearned in anti-racist ways.
To constantly address and negotiate postionality via reflections upon the stories we create and enact about racialized groups.
To challenge long unquestioned and state-sanctioned bodies of knowledge and expose how the power of racism undergirds the very questions we ask and answer about people and places.
To reflect on one’s positionality.
To know the danger of a single story.
To rethink the world in terms of power.
To take ownership of your ideas, opinions, and reactions as you learn about the histories and origins of others.
To not disconnect past racism from contemporary injustices that highlight the continuing effects of white privilege.
To expose and confront the myriad of ways that racism maybe embodies or embedded within relations, institutions, systems, and structures.
To use movements, practices, knowledge, and thoughts that attend to privilege and relations of power.
To abide by the notion that awareness of anti-racism without action is is sufficient to be considered anti-racist.
To take an active commitment to interrupting systems of racism.
To seek to engage with local knowledge, discourses, and experience.
To challenge the false sense of superiority and unearned white privilege and help restore the basic humanity of the colonized body.
To note the intellectual resistance to seeing ourselves in certain conversations, and be bold in naming our implications and responsibilities.
To engage in transformative work to claim spaces traditionally off limits to racialized groups.
To continue to move beyond fighting to keep spaces and doors open.
To use your presence in certain spaces to intervene, disrupt, and implement alternatives.
To assert voices that upset and subvert the status quo.
To become a voice of difference and translate any false sense of entitlements into meaningful action for change.
To challenge the temptation to look to the dominant to seek validation, acceptance, and legitimacy in still colonized spaces of knowledge production and education.
To avoid colonial mimicry that disclaims our authentic souls and dismembers selves.
To be aware of the histories of struggle and the responsibilities to uphold goals and dreams of the pioneers who fought to open doors.
To foster resistant responses to dominant structures and knowledge.
To bring issues of race and social oppression to the fore of public consciousness.
To ensure that equity issues are not on the sidelines particularly when they most disadvantaged in our communities continually struggle to survive politically, economically, emotionally and psychologically.
To deal with difference that extend beyond race, gender, class, sexuality to issues of language, culture, religion, spirituality.
To focus on the pointed notion of difference as opposed to diversity and its slippage to samenesss.
To bring to the fore, questions of power and power relations.
To deal with the unequal power relations that crosscut our societies.
To ask about the power behind the construction, naming and celebration of difference.
To tap into the cultural knowledge of local peoples as an effective resource and tool for educational change.
To negotiate our understanding of inclusivity and power relations.
To refuse the current order of things.
To redefine the world, develop our own values, codes, and understanding and refuse (not just resist) the gaze of other.
To speak and celebrate multiple voices through the terrain of polyvocality.
To create safe zones to express concerns about racism, classcism, homophobia and other oppressive acts.
To tease out how structures and power hierarchies function in institutions to establish advantage and disadvantage.
To learn about history, language and culture as resistance.
To know that collective strength resides in the differences we embody. To show that language matters.