Change is powerful, yet uncomfortable. Change takes time, and it takes courage. In order to change, we must first swallow our pride. Next, look ourselves in the mirror, have the self-awareness to see what needs to be changed, and take one step forward to initiate the change. It’s time we get comfortable with the uncomfortable. That’s simply the only way we will get better. It’s the truly the only way we can move past social injustices and move towards becoming anti-racist together.
It’s a privilege to learn about racism, instead of experiencing it.
I am huge proponent of life-long learning. If you have been around here awhile, you know that part of my WHY is striving to make myself 1% better each day. Over the past couple of weeks, I have done a lot of self-reflecting, a lot of listening, and a lot of learning. I am nowhere near being where I need to be, but I am changing. My business is changing. And I committing to change with you.
INTRODUCTION TO BECOMING ANTI-RACIST
It’s one thing to “not be racist,” it’s another to actually be anti-racist. Systematic racism and white privilege is VERY real in this country. If you are still confused about systematic racism, I challenge you to watch this simple video. If you want a more in depth video on tolerance, this is an EXCELLENT option. Wondering how we got here? Trevor Noah’s IGTV explains it perfectly. There are a TON of resources (podcasts, articles, videos, etc) at the end of this post, so make sure you check them out.
WHAT TO READ (AND WATCH) FIRST
Some of My Best Friends Are Black (New York Times)
What to Do When You Are Called Racist (Washington Post)
Just Mercy (What an AMAZING movie! It’s streaming FREE on iTunes right now)
Becoming anti-racist starts at home. As parents, we have the unique opportunity to literally shape the next generation. Kids are not born racist. Kids are not born full of hate. It’s up to us to lead them down the right path. But, how do we do that?!
I REACHED OUT TO ONE OF MY HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS, AND THIS IS WHAT SHE HAD TO SAY
“I would say first of all, start at home. You have two little boys, growing up in the South, that have affluent parents. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those things, but because of who you are, because of who they are (white, male, privileged), you have to be even more careful to not tunnel your kids in. It would be so easy for them to grow up in a bubble of affluence and whiteness. You have to make a concerted effort to educate and show your kids that everyone deserves the same opportunities. While we all bleed and are all human, there are some systematic prejudices that keep others from moving forward at the same pace as they would.
Buy diverse toys, read books that feature POC. Watch movies that have POC as the leads. When you enroll them in sports and extracurricular activities, look around and see who they’re interacting with. Is everyone around them white? These are the kids that they will be growing up with and going to school with. If the answer is yes, maybe look for activities/clubs that have a more diverse group of kids. Consider visiting churches that have a diverse congregation or even a predominantly Black congregation. If you really want to know how black kids feel having to fit in with white people, definitely sit in a Black church one Sunday. You’ll feel like a fish out of water, but I promise no one will bite. It’s okay to sit in your discomfort, sometimes it’s the only way we change.
Teach your kids to care about people and be an advocate like you, even when it doesn’t make you popular. You did it for me when we were in High School. I don’t even think you knew you were doing it. “
You probably don’t even remember, but I never forgot.
WHEW. THOSE WORDS REALLY HIT HOME.
The fact that she remembered how she was treated over 20 years shows how impactful our actions can be. I LOVE the idea of taking them to a Black church and immersing them into sports with Black people. Ryan was super active with AAU basketball in college, and I am positive that contributed to his anti-racism.
I love this Guide to Diverse Toys and this age-by-age guide from Parents.com. You can find a list of books below (most will be restocking soon) that I have ordered for Asher and Holden. Another idea? Look for a Black-owned bookstore in your town and purchase them there. There is also an excellent workshop called “Raising Race Conscious Children” that you can sign up for, and CNN & Sesame Street hosted a Town Hall addressing racism. Lastly, make sure you are following The Conscious Kid on Instagram. This is an excellent resource!
- Anti-Racism Starts With Me (coloring book….SO cute)
WHAT I AM DOING TO TAKE ACTION
As I transition back into my regularly scheduled content, I want you to know that I have changed, and my business has changed. However, I am not perfect and will continue to grow and learn. I ask that you give me a little grace as my “new normal” evolves, and I would love for you take this journey of change with me! Here are a few ways I will continue to support the Black community and take action to become anti-racist.
- Incorporate Black-owned beauty and fashion into my everyday routine, and share more Black-owned businesses with you.
- Continue to educate myself through reading, listening, watching videos, and diversifying my feed with more Black creators/brands.
- Incorporate multicultural kids’ books and toys and participate in more diverse extracurricular activities.
- Partner with brands that are committed to diversity and inclusion.
- Visit a predominately Black church once per month.
- Lead others through change.
- Support local Black-owned restaurants and businesses.
- OPEN MY WALLET (see below).
- VOTE both locally and nationally.
- PROTEST peacefully.
MORE ANTI-RACISM RESOURCES
ARTICLES + LINKS
- How to Respond to Common Racist Statements
- How to Be Actively Anti-Racist
- Questions to Ask Yourself
- 87 Ways You Can Help (to become a better ally)
- Actionable steps you can take beyond posting on Instagram.
- Daddy Changed the World (George Floyd’s daughter Gianna’s perspective)
- How to Be an Anti-Racist
- Read THIS thread about a black man who has been in prison for the past 38 years for stealing $9 in 1982. You can sign a petition for this cause HERE.
- This video of white people asking for forgiveness will melt your heart. Is it dusty in here to anyone else?
- This Google Doc is a one stop shop for tons of anti-racist resources for White people.
- Local to Birmingham? Support your local Black-owned businesses here:
PODCASTS TO SUBSCRIBE TO
- 1619 (New York Times)
- About Race
- Code Switch (NPR)
- Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)
- Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)
- Seeing White
WHERE TO DONATE
- Alabama Rally Against Injustice (local)
- Alabama Arise (local)
- Faith in Action Alabama (local)