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Recently, it has been impossible to ignore the flood of information about police brutality and violence against Black people across the US; the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Ahmaud Arbery; and the national response to their deaths. As we consider the individual actions of the police officers and the person-to-person racism happening across the country, it is also important to understand the systemic and historical context of oppression and racism in this country, and how that context creates the conditions under which this violence can occur. Learn more about the protests and, importantly, why they’re happening.
One of the most powerful ways for white people to disrupt racism is to engage in brave conversations with the people closest to you.
The purpose of this guide is to provide information on how to start a conversation with family, friends, and peers about what is going on; to explore what role we as white people have played in the perpetuation of racism in this country; and how we can begin to undo it. We will provide resources for where to learn, thought starters and questions to consider when having a conversation, and guidelines for making sure the conversation is productive without alienating your conversation partner. Every conversation is going to look different, so think of this guide as a jumping off point!
This guide would not have been possible to write without the many, many Black educators, authors, activists, and thinkers who have created so many resources and from whom I have learned so much. A few who I have leaned on recently are Rachel Cargle (@rachel.cargle), Ericka Hart (@ihartericka), Angela Davis, and Ibram X. Kendi.
DISCLAIMER: Learning about racism, and especially about your role in it can be really uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel good to know that we are benefitting from racist systems, and unconsciously or consciously upholding them. Be patient with yourself, and allow yourself to sit with some of that discomfort. Give yourself room to be upset about what you learn, but try not to give in to feelings of shame or self-hatred. We also acknowledge that anti-racist conversations do not center Black people, and real action is needed to uplift the Black community. As advocates for racial justice and as imperfect allies, we’re sharing this guide in the hopes that it helps some of you broach needed conversations with your loved ones.
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