Racism is the single most critical barrier to building effective coalitions for social change. Racism has been consciously and systematically erected, and it can be undone only if people understand what it is, where it comes from, how it functions, and why it is perpetuated.
Learning from History
History is a tool for effective organizing. Understanding the lessons of history allows us to create a more humane future.
Culture is the life support system of a community. If a community’s culture is respected and nurtured, the community’s power will grow.
Anti-racist leadership needs to be developed intentionally and systematically within local communities and organizations.
To organize with integrity requires that we be accountable to the communities struggling with racist oppression.
The growth of an effective broad-based movement for social transformation requires networking or “building a net that works”. As the movement develops a strong net, people are less likely to fall through.
As a society, we often believe that individuals and/or their communities are solely responsible for their conditions. Through the analysis of institutional power, we can identify and unpack the systems external to the community that create the internal realities that many people experience daily.
Persons who work in institutions often function as gatekeepers to ensure that the institution perpetuates itself. By operating with anti-racist values and networking with those who share those values and maintaining accountability in the community, the gatekeeper becomes an agent of institutional transformation.
Undoing Internalized Racial Oppression
Internalized Racial Oppression manifests itself in two forms:
Internalized Racial Inferiority
The acceptance of and acting out of an inferior definition of self, given by the oppressor, is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of disempowerment and disenfranchisement expresses itself in self-defeating behaviors.
Internalized Racial Superiority
The acceptance of and acting out of a superior definition is rooted in the historical designation of one’s race. Over many generations, this process of empowerment and access expresses itself as unearned privileges, access to institutional power and invisible advantages based upon race.
Identifying and Analyzing the Manifestations of Racism
Individual acts of racism are supported by institutions and are nurtured by the societal practices such as militarism and cultural racism, which enforce and perpetuate racism.