This is neither definitive nor a check list. It is a starting place for resources to help you on your journey to fighting white supremacy and racism in our society. I’ll update it as people find interesting things. Let me know if links go bad.
- Write down your overall goals and expectations for participating in this challenge, and be as specific as possible. Do not just think about them – write them down somewhere where you can review this in six months and assess your progress.
- Complete the worksheet: “Making it Concrete for White People”
- Watch this wonderful video about privilege. “Sometimes you’re the caterpillar”
- Research anti-white supremacy and undoing racism workshops in your area and make and keep plans to attend. If there are none near you, find videos online from workshops and make and keep plans to actively watch and engage with them.
- Assess the racial makeup of your workplace or classroom. Conduct your own thorough and sincere research into the background of why it is the way it is (whether it is very racially diverse or very not diverse). Identify key components behind why it is the way it is, share your findings with the people in charge and with your coworkers/classmates, and brainstorm ways or flag for future hiring that you can make sure you’re doing the most outreach you can and addressing barriers to hiring or acceptance for students.
- Start a conversation in your department about the history of racism and colonialism in science.
- Start conversations with family about race issues and engage them in dialogue. Track how the conversations go and build on any progress; consider using books, movies, pop culture, and other cues to launch your conversation.
- Gather with a group in person or online to complete the worksheet/workshop: “Creating Anti-Racist Language”
- Research what anti-racist organizations or community campaigns there are in your local area by searching the news, Twitter, and facebook for locally organized groups. Engage as is appropriate – respectfully, only when there is an open invitation, and with extra scrutiny on your own participation. There could be individual activist events or you could join a grassroots campaign about an issue disproportionately affecting people of color in your community.
- Along similar lines, research what volunteer opportunities you could take on that would serve people of color in your community. Planned Parenthood, LGBTQIA organizations, local food banks or shelters, labor justice organizers, and schools often need committed volunteers.
- Go play the “Parable of the Polygons”. Then balance that by looking into gentrification in your area.
- Take stock of what media you watch. What is the racial makeup? Who directed/produced it? What is the media broadcasting company that is behind it, and what is the racial makeup of their leadership? How are people of color portrayed on your favorite tv show? In your favorite movie? Consider your findings, and seek out media not just made by and about white people. At the same time, do not appropriate media made by and for people of color as your own – remember your privilege.
- Read the following article: “What Is White Supremacy?” by Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez.
- Order online, check out from your local library, or otherwise procure at least two (or more depending on your life business) books by people of color or about a historical or specific issue that disproportionately affects people of color. You must not have read them before. You can read a list of suggested books here-http://bitchmagazine.org/post/my-2014-challenge-to-read-50-books-by-poc-met-and-exceeded. If you are differently abled or do not have the financial means to procure these books, you can find a list of PDF books on race online available here-http://flanneryogonner.tumblr.com/post/40237682151/free-pdf-books-on-race-gender-sexuality-class however, be responsible; if you can afford to purchase these books, do that instead.
- Set a reading schedule for yourself based on what is feasible. Do not simply reread books by people of color you enjoyed in the past.
- Go read “Let Physics Be The Dream It Used To Be” by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. Think about the cost to people of color for existing in spaces that are so actively hostile to their presence. Brainstorm ways you can alleviate that cost for your friends and colleagues.
- Watch “The Clark Doll Test”. If you have children somewhere in your life, look at their bookshelf and into their toy box and see what changes you might want to make. What is the gender and race of the heroes and villains you present to them?
- Watch “The Angry Eye”.
- Names matter. Go watch “To All The Little Black Girls With Big Names”. Understand how much we judge on characteristics we think are stand ins for race, like names on job applications. Think about how you’ve applied these kinds of judgements in your life.
- Learn about “redlining” as an issue in housing, George Romney, HUD, and the deep wealth gap that has caused in our nation.
- Go take (a few) tests and learn about implicit bias. Your subconscious can subvert a lot of good intentions.
- Why haven’t we talked seriously about paying reparations for slavery? Many of our institutions are built on the wealth directly sown from slavery.
- Professor John Johnson has been blogging hard about issues of race, both inside astronomy and out. Go check out his blog.
- Race and gender are often intertwined issues. Mainstream feminism has left behind women of color more often than not. Learn about intersectionality from Professor Kimberlé w. Crenshaw. And then read this.
- The idea of being “colorblind” to race is hugely problematic, and not just because the word itself is pretty ableist.
- Learn about how our country (over and over again) destroyed (and continues to destroy and undermine) Native American families.
- Read the #SayHerName report.
This next part is a direct copy from the YMF group – It is SO IMPORTANT and needed no changing:
White folks participating in this challenge should remember to never take over anti-white supremacy actions or movements. Even if you learn a ton from focusing on this challenge, you will never understand race like someone who has lived as a person of color under white supremacy. But educating yourself, following the lead of people of color who are leading this movement, and by taking concrete actions guided by them and what you are able to learn from them, is essential to addressing your complicity in white supremacy.