Anti-Racism and the Writing Classroom:

A workbook for FYW teachers.

I myself am not a racist, isn’t that enough?

Allyship is the ongoing practice of unlearning and reeducating oneself about systems of oppression, re-evaluating our positions of privilege and power within white supremacy, supporting multiply marginalized groups of people, and holding oneself accountable for the mistakes we make in the process. In other words, allyship is not a fixed identity that is achieved through one act or through relying on neutrality for the advancement of racial equality. One of the common assumptions about allyship is that the realization of systemic oppression itself is what makes people allies. That is the first step. Educating oneself about systemic oppression is an anti-racist choice that demonstrates allyship, but so is challenging racist ideologies. Abolitionist educator Bettina Love calls for a change in language to reflect the need for deeper commitment from ‘allies’ to co-conspirators. Put simply, anti-racism is about the choices we make, and neutrality is a choice to remain complicit in systemic oppression. Plus: this intentional self-questioning is anything but one-and-done; instead, it is an ongoing process that needs to continue throughout one’s life.  We are always learning.

To quote Ibram X. Kendi: “The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.” To be anti-racist, then, requires action.

Leave a Reply

© 2024 Anti-Racism and the Writing Classroom:

Theme by Anders Norén