What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Rebecca Ruiz recounts advice from Ibram X. Kendi's book How to Be an Antiracist to help individuals engage in antiracist behavior.
• How can funders engage in these behaviors in everyday life and in philanthropy?
• Read more about philanthropy's racial justice question.
1) Understand the definition of racist.
Conversations about racism often suffer when participants can't define the meaning of the word. Merriam-Webster defines racism as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race." Few people would admit that definition reflects their views but nevertheless consciously or unwittingly believe in or endorse racist ideas.
Kendi goes further, defining the word racist as: "One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea." This incisive definition forces the reader to hold themselves accountable for their ideas and actions.
2) Stop saying "I'm not racist."
It's not enough to say, "I'm not racist," and often it's a self-serving sentiment. Kendi says people constantly change the definition of what's racist so it doesn't apply to them. If you're a white nationalist who's not violent, says Kendi, then you might see the Ku Klux Klan as racist. If you're a Democrat who thinks there's something culturally wrong with black people, then racists to you might be people who are Republicans.
3) Identify racial inequities and disparities.
Racism yields racial inequities and disparities in every sector of private and public life. That includes in politics, health care, criminal justice, education, income, employment, and home ownership. Being antiracist means learning about and identifying inequities and disparities that give, in particular, white people, or any racial group, material advantages over people of color.
4) Confront the racist ideas you've held or continue to hold.
Once you've begun identifying racial disparities, examine whether your own views, beliefs, or voting patterns have justified racial inequality.
5) Understand how your antiracism needs to be intersectional.
Kendi argues that racist ideas and policies target many different people within racial groups. A policy that creates inequality between white and Native American people, for example, also yields inequality between white men and Native American women. If one believes that black men are superior to black women, then that person won't be able to see how certain ideas and policies disproportionately affect black women in harmful ways.
6) Champion antiracist ideas and policies.
One cannot strive to be antiracist without action, and Kendi says that one way to act is by supporting organizations in your community that are fighting policies that create racial disparities. You can volunteer for or fund those organizations. Kendi also recommends using one's power or getting into a position of power to change racist policies in any setting where they exist — school, work, government, and so on. The point is to commit to some form of action that has the potential to change racist policies.
Read the full article about ways to be antiracist by Rebecca Ruiz at Mashable.