I CAN FIX IT - 3 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.

Seriously, read a book or get on the net.

Plan it out.

Make a list of questions you have about other races/cultural groups. Find the answers to your questions without asking any people of color to help you.

Realize that for the most part white people don't have to care about or think about what it's like to be a person of color. Take 5 minutes to consider what it's like to be non-white, for 5 minute choose to care about it. Read 5 novels by people of color. Go to 5 films which are made by people of color. Buy a magazine oriented toward people who are not white. What's it like to look through a magazine where 80% or more of the people are of color? How does the content differ - if at all? Genuinely explore a piece of artwork by a person of color.

Do it right.

Fight the urge to immediately tell a person of color that you have done the above, that's just weird.

Learn about people of color because they are a part of your country and society, not because they are "exotic". Do not view people of color as "different" as if white people are the "norm". Actively work against institutionalizing whiteness as the norm. Do not refer to people of color as "diverse peoples", that is racist and grammatically incorrect.

Study the differences between racism, prejudice, and discrimination.

Educate yourself about the history of race and racism in the United States. Learn about the economic basis and effects of racism, and the institutional powers that perpetuate racism. Actively seek out the perspectives and insights of those who are doing "the heavy lifting" with regards to fighting (eliminating) racism. Find scholars who work on this subject instead of turning your friends of color or strangers of color into your personal educational system. If you have questions after you have done some reading, read more.

A new method.

Stop allowing yourself to be brainwashed into believing stereotypes. Acknowledge and examine our society's stereotypes about people of color. Assume you've been influenced by them. What are they. Make a list. Know what you are working to change.

Don't assume everyone is either a person of color, or a white person.

Change your thinking. Turn things around. Instead of asking why all the kids of color are sitting together in the lunchroom, ask why all of the white kids are sitting together. Instead of asking why something is all black, ask why something is all white. Instead of wondering why no people of color attend and event or join a group, ask why the group only attracts white people.

Stop asking people of color about their hair. Realize this is a larger metaphor for treating people with respect and learning on your own. Don't use your learning process as an excuse for rude behavior.

Deepen your understanding by using the pyramid of culture. At the top, is surface stuff like dance, food, dress, etc. At the bottom are all of the deeper issues such as cultural history. Many persons not of that culture only get involved at the top.

Teach your children, and allow them to teach you. Be willing to be uncomfortable. Allow your brain to hurt. Understand that race and racism present complexities and contradictions. Do not try to reduce or simplify.

Suggested reading: Teach Learning Anti-Racism by Lousie Derman Spark and Carol Phillips

What if all the Children Are White by Nieto, Darder, Paley

White Awareness by Judy Katz

Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Tatum

Uprooting Racism by Paul Kivel

....Sammi's comments......

This is a big step. It's hard work but I believe it reaps the most benefits. A big part of racism is ignorance. And once we are educated, we can take steps toward understanding.

As always, discussion is encouraged!

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