I had some late night coffee and have a stuffy nose, so I’m awake whether or not I want to be, at 1:30am.
The “Do” part is finally starting to fall into place. I’m feeling both excited and weary. I will be treading forward into a realm that I have zero experience with, both in process and social interaction. I’ll be frank: I feel very awkward when interacting with people in person. I spend far too much time alone and online, so while I feel more graceful now than in previous years, I still fail at some social expectations, whether preceived or imagined. I just feel awkward.
That being said, I will be working on those skills rather immediately. Luckily this week I can plan out fairly carefully what it is I want to say. I will be attending a city council meeting where I will only have three minutes to talk. I already have some idea of where I want to spend my time researching. AND luckily I know some mighty good resources to start from.
I’ll get more detailed once I get more comfortable with what the hell I’m doing. You get vague posts in the meantime.
Thursday I have a phone appointment with an admissions counselor for the graduate program I’m interested in. I’m going to be getting into contact of the previous committee chair person for an NAACP committee I want to eventually lead. Going to start being busy here soon.
I need to shift my reading focus from Black history/feminism to education and the prison industrial complex. I need to spend more time reading and taking notes on what I read.
I wish I didn’t read so slowly, but I rarely read, so why would I read quickly? Silly me.
I am so tired right now but I feel the need to write so here I am.
After reading White Fragility, I see a lot of ways that I still fail at being anti-racist. Robin DiAngelo mentions that she likes to think of herself on a continuum, where sometimes she is more or less racist, but it is always there and never ending. It’s a weird thing to realize that we can’t escape our own racism, even if we really try and really want to. That’s how deeply embedded it is in our society and our personalities.
Beyond the racism I know I have some other problematic behaviors rooted in entitlement and self superiority. I don’t like these parts of me. These are both things each of my parents continually showed through actions, and they became embedded in me as well. I think this is probably something I’ll need therapy for in order to help myself out of it. The anti-racism studying helps, I think. It brings with it a humility you must adopt in order to effective at being anti-racist. Yeah, I’m a racist too. I can’t deny it and there’s no way around it. But I can try to minimize it with conscious effort and constant reflection through critical thinking.
That is humbling but not undoable.
Tonight I have been completely listless. My self-enforced ban from social media has left me having to find other ways to spend my time, and while there are things I can do, I don’t really feel like doing any of it. I tried playing Stardew Valley but after one day I didn’t want to continue. I tried some games on the Nintendo but those are skills that need rebuilding but I just don’t have the patience for it right now.
I’ve been knitting a scarf that a friend requested. It’s looking really good but it’s slow work. I just hope I have enough yarn to make a complete scarf.
I’m downloading a new game called Tera. I have low expectations. I just want a good game to play that is RPG and fun.
I just finished reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. I have so many thoughts about it, so this will be a stream of consciousness post as I process my thoughts/feelings. I’m putting it out there so maybe someone else can benefit from it.
The book is well written. It does well to define white supremacy as a system and continually reinforces this idea. One of the major benefits of the book is the vocabulary given to define different aspects of whiteness and white fragility that prevents the discussion of racism from moving forward.
I think this is the most important aspect of the book is the reminder that all white people are racist, will be racist, cannot escape from being racist. No matter what, because of how we are socialized into white supremacy, there is no way to escape it.
I have been guilty of distancing myself from racism. I needed the reminder,
“We must continue to ask how our racism manifests, not if.”
I’m guilty of feeling superior because of this conquest I am undertaking. I feel that “I’m one of good white people” and positioned myself as better than other white people, which only serves to distance myself from the ways I have and will be racist. DiAngelo writes, “I offer that we must never consider ourselves finished with our learning. Even if challenging all the racism and superiority we have internalized was quick and easy to do, our racism would be reinforced all over again just by the virtue of living in the [white supremacist] culture.”
The reality of being white in a white supremacist society is that there is no escape from the privilege of being white. I will inevitably take advantage of being white – whether intentional or not – because of this reality.
I will write another post to discuss the book more deeply, but for now I need to wrangle with my feelings.
A few days ago, Ijeoma Oluo posted this on her social media pages:
As a white woman who is working toward becoming an anti-racism advocate, this is a good reminder for me. Of course the goal of anti-racism work should be to uplift people of color from the weight of white supremacy – to give value to their humanity. Admittedly, my career goal is that of educating other white people, but that shouldn’t be the only goal. And it isn’t. I want to create classroom environments that create space for children of color to be able to have dignity, to feel their humanity, and to not be minimalized into racist tropes and stereotypes. Education of white people will help, but there is more that can be done. And that’s what I’m hoping graduate school can teach me.
This work is hard, and it’s uncomfortable. That’s the design of white supremacy – the need to keep white people comfortable so when they aren’t, they’ll retreat back into comfort so the status quo stays unchallenged and unchanged.
My husband has asked me to take a break from my anti-racist learning. He knows it’s valuable work, but he can also see this sort of spiralling path I’m on. Everything he shares I see through the critical eye of anti-racism, and I know I’m not a very fun person to talk to much anymore. I want to pick all the battles, even when I have only limited amounts of information.
I know it is my white privilege that allows me to take a break. It’s actually going to be hard for me to take a break because I’m really invested in this. My social media accounts are full of anti-racist education, so I will have to take a break from those as well.
I don’t think it’s wrong to recharge. I’m in this for the long fight. I know that the amount of stress that this work creates can cause stress-induced illness. So now that I finished White Fragility, I’m now on break for the next week. Then I’ll dive back in.
Many of my upcoming posts will explore what it means to be anti-racist. I have a couple of projects I want to do for 2019 that include an Instagram comic dealing with grammar and anti-racism as well as cited work to complement content from the comic. I’m hoping the information will be easy enough for hub’s 8th grade students to read, since for some reason I have a lot of his students following my linguistcoelho Instagram account already.
I know there is a lot of anti-racism information already out there, spread all over the internet. I want to create a compilation of scholarship, books, websites, articles — anything useful that will help people start their journey to become an anti-racist. I’m not sure yet (I still need to research) if there already exists a website that does this. If there is, I will definitely link it here. But I also plan to create my own content.
Part of the major problem with anti-racism is that white people get their feelings hurt too easily. It’s called White Fragility, coined by white sociologist Robin DiAngelo in 2011. Many white people are isolated from the discussion of racism, automatically become defensive and shut down, walk away, or attack the people who discuss racism. My first post will discuss why this happens and what you should do to truly advance your anti-racism values.
The approach I will take to educate about anti-racism is from a Black feminist point of view: to be anti-racist means to fight all forms of oppression (i.e. intersectionality). I also plan to take a linguistic point of view as informed by raciolinguistics. Mixing these two ideologies should bring forth an understanding as to why White Supremacy is embedded in all our institutions and way of thinking and being (especially if you’re white).
The start of a new year gives everyone the renewed hope that they can make positive changes in their life. I feel the same way, but I’m weary. These things have never worked out for me very long in the past, and I know it has everything to do with lack of discipline. I know what I need to do, but doing it is the hard part.
I like the idea of writing down and referencing some sort of organization notebook. I’m not very creative on how to design it, keep it, make it usable. I know, it’s a skill. I need to try.
Is this another part of my making lists and not doing anything with it? Quite possibly. Time will tell. But I’m hoping that if I write about it, maybe it’ll guilt me by having a record of what I do or don’t do.
So, here is today’s task: Make those lists I so lovingly love. Get organized so you know what it is you want, and prioritize where to start since I won’t be able to do everything at once.
I will return later to report on this task.
By the way, it’s good to add image descriptions to any images you post so that those who are blind or visually impaired and use text-to-speech software can know what you are posting. I plan to go back and add descriptions to all images posted on this site to make it more accessible.