What is Racism?
Racism is the belief that race is a factor in human and individual achievement and that one race – in Western societies, the white race –is superior to other races and, thus, has the right to marginalize or oppress people of other races.
Why Saying “I’m not racist” Is Different from Being Anti-Racist
NPR journalist, Eric Deggans, cited a story that illustrates why simply saying “I’m not racist” is not the same as the work of being anti-racist. He recalled a billboard in Harrison, Arkansas promoting White Pride Radio, a local white supremacist radio station. Pictured on the sign was a white girl with a cute dog, and it read, “It’s not racist to [heart] your people.”
The meaning Deggans took from this? “Even white supremacists don’t want to be called racist,” he said. Even people who openly believe the white race to be superior – the very definition of racism – bristle at being called racist.
When no one wants to be considered a racist, simply saying “I’m not racist” falls short for people who actively fight racism. The work of defeating racism requires more than simply not being racist. It requires recognizing systemic racism in American society and its institutions and working to dismantle it. It requires recognizing racial biases you may unknowingly hold and overcoming them. It requires being anti-racist.
Ok, So What Is Anti-Racism?
Being anti-racist is an active pursuit. It involves:
- Recognizing and working to eliminate racist practices, structures, policies, and beliefs in all levels of society and its institutions.
- Identifying the ways in which the white race benefits from said systems and institutions and working to change them.
- Raising awareness of how racism impacts people of color and limits our country’s ability to become a better place for all of its citizens.
- Recognizing how racism is more than a personal belief system, but rather an indoctrination system and an essential part of American history.
- Acknowledging how it shapes society in both obvious and subtle ways.
- Working to dismantle racist systems and institutions.
Why Does Anti-Racism Get a Bad Rap?
People are extremely sensitive to being perceived as racist, so much so that even people working in social justice may feel uncomfortable with the term “anti-racist” because of the potential conflicts or resistance it may create.
The media also frequently associates the term “anti-racist” with protests and civil unrest. Sometimes the work of anti-racism requires protest, but this association can become conflated and create fear rather than the open-hearted compassion that the true work of anti-racism entails.
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” —Ijeoma Oluo
What We Do
The Fair Fight Initiative (FFI) opposes racism in all its forms, and particularly in our criminal justice systems. FFI is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to exposing the most harmful and, indeed, often fatal, expressions of systemic racism in our country, including:
- Police violence
- Mass incarceration
- Inhumane prison conditions
- Prosecutorial misconduct.
With public support, FFI helps victims to fund their fight for justice. Fighting influential people protected by powerful systems is often prohibitively expensive for victims. When FFI takes their cases, we litigate their cases at little to no cost to them.
FFI also conducts advocacy and outreach to raise awareness of specific cases and systemic injustices as a whole.
Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to FFI. Your support helps victims and families directly by leveling the playing field and making their stories heard.
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