I CAN FIX IT 4 of 5
A "Now Art" Project by damali ayo

Two-thousand people were asked the 5 things individuals can do to end racism. Here are the solutions in their own words.

Caution: Please don't do this until you have SUCCESSFULLY completed steps 1-3

The obvious and simple.

Learn about other cultures, not by asking questions, but by spending time with people (without interrogating them). Hold a door for, or do some small un-returnable kindness for a person of color. Smile at someone who is not white. Stop expecting things in return.

Get out there.

Put yourself into environments predominantly attended by people of color, where you are likely to get to know more people of color. Whether it's a professional organization, local political/cultural event, a community group or church, a friend's birthday party, an art event, whatever. Go alone. Don't bring your comforting posse, or some friend to share or analyze your exotic experience with. Do not treat this as an exotic experience. See it as living in the real world instead of the limited world you now live in. Observe without photos mental or actual. Don't act like a tourist. Don't stay 'till it is cleanup time. Don't take more than you give.

Donate and volunteer with racial justice groups that will put you in situations where you are the racial minority. Don't then brag about the experience and say you know what it's like to be "a minority" or a person of color. Never use the phrase "reverse racism" since there is no such thing.

Make a commitment to participate in and develop an in-depth appreciation of an activity that helps you shift your awareness into cultures of color from a mind-body perspective (music, food, dance, language philosophy). Engage in something that helps you to develop a new vocabulary with which to relate to people.

Don't just talk about it. Be about it. Make an action plan. Include the following:

Consider racism your problem to solve.

Always confront racism, ignorance and innapropriate behavior/language when you see, hear, read or experience it. If someone says something racist don't laugh awkwardly or ignore it. Use the power of your voice. Interrupt/address racism no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, no matter who you are required to confront. Do not make exceptions for you family, your friends, or in the workplace because you fear the consequences. When speaking out against racism, be gentle but firm. Practice civility but also directness. Set the person straight. White people are more likely to listen to you than to the person they are offending. Leave the over-nicess at home. Being overly-nice only make a safe atmosphere for racism and an unsafe atmosphere for other (particularly people of color) to confront it head on.

Challenge white people to talk about racism. Learning "what not to say" is not the point. Understanding how racism works and how it can be dismantled is the point. Help fellow white people to learn not just react.

Be a visible person in the fight against racism.

In the media:

When a racist incident occurs in the public eye, write a letter to the editor of the local paper condemning the behavior. Identify yourself as a white person in your letter.

At work:

Whatever your place of profession, eliminate institutionalized practices that are discriminatory towards people of color or rewarding white privilege. Hire, retain and promote people of color. Maintain a wide range of employees.

In the community:

Become involved in an organization that is involved with communities of color, like a church, a school, a non-profit, a business or a reading group. Make your involvement more than financial. Involve your time, energy, participation and emotional connection. Stay committed to this organization for at least three years.

With your kids:

Since people often live in the mostly segregated part of any city/town, send your kids to public schools if they live in a city, and demand that students of color are recruited into the advanced/honors/AP classes. Integrate the books and toys in yoru children's school, and at home. Demand teacher of color for the sake of your kids not just for the kids of color. Promote that a racially integrated educational environment is the best for white kids as well as for kids of color. Fight for equal education for kids of all races. Expose movements that subtly privilege white children over children of color.

....Sammi's Comments....

This is the most difficult for me on a lot of different levels. I have a hard time standing up to people at work and to family members.

I also have trouble knowing when to step in at school. I want to help my kids but I don't want to embarrass them or teach them that I will always take care of it.

Believe it or not - right now we are having the most difficulty with Chad at school. Most kids don't know his brother and sister are black so they feel free to relate to him as they would other white friends - and say things that they would never say in front of a person of color. Chad is VERY good at standing against racism but I know it's hard for him too, being in a time in life when he is trying to make friends, not fight with them.

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