The Racism Continuum (& other stuff)

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 had more to say but I’m too tired to continue.

I will always be racist

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:

If your anti-racism work prioritizes the “growth” and “enlightenment” of white America over the safety, dignity, and humanity of people of color – it’s not anti-racism work. It’s white supremacy.

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.

I recommend all white people to read DiAngelo’s book. I think it’s a nice starting point for joining the anti-racism cause. After finishing White Fragility, I would move onto Ijeoma Oluo’s So you want to talk about race, followed by Crystal Fleming’s How to be Less Stupid about Race.

Approaching Anti-Racism Education

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).

Writing Project, Anti-racism workshop, Knitting

I’m in the process of creating an informative post about systemic racism. It’s the first time writing something requiring time, energy, and research in a long, long time. I’m very rusty, and the energy required is great after being dormant for an extended period. Seven years? No, I did stuff like this for work, so more like nearing 5 years. Yikes.

It’s a good goal though. I want to inform, to put work out there. I know this kind of work has been done before, and I plan to utilize and compile those resources in the post I’m drafting. I know I’m not reinventing the wheel. Moreover, I’m creating one another space on the internet to amplify the voices of the marginalized. Another way of framing these issues for a white audience.

It’s going to take a while, as all good things worth reading should.


I’ll be attending an online anti-racist workshop in early January. I look forward to it because it’ll give me a chance to interact directly about the things I’ve been learning. Mostly I’ve been silently observing and absorbing, and there isn’t anyone I can really talk to about it without it being unpaid emotional labor. Don’t want that. But I do want to know more on what I could be doing personally to leap into activist mode.

Today’s entry in the #meandwhitesupremacy workbook was “You & White Silence.” I had a very good example of an issue that I don’t know how to handle, something I’m hoping this workshop will help me figure out. Silence is so easy, which is why most white people do it. Myself included. Who wants to be uncomfortable? Well, when it comes to racism, everyone needs to be uncomfortable. That shit needs to be addressed so that minoritized people don’t have to take the brunt of that discomfort/hurt/harm.


In other news, I have far too many knitting projects going on right now. Plus two crochet blankets that need to be finished. I’m working on my first knitted sweater, but I need more stitch markers because I keep misplacing the ones I have. Supposedly we’ll be making a trip to Joann tomorrow. I love that store entirely too much. It’ll be hard to resist buying yarn.

Today was my birthday. It was a pretty good one, even if nothing particularly special happened. I got chocolate fondue with strawberries, cheesecake, nilla wafers, and marshmallows. Completely decadent way to start 33. I think this year will be a good year. I think this year I’ll actually get somewhere with my life. Be more than just a stay at home mom. Can’t wait.

Questioning Myself (#meandwhitesupremacy)

I mentioned in a previous post that I am working on the #meandwhitesupremacy workbook. I’m starting Day 3 today. I just wrote all the questions into my notebook and I will begin the journal entry later when I have more time. First I wanted to write this small reflection on how I’m doing so far.

I recognize that I, along with everyone else, am socialized into white supremacist thinking. I know I’m not exempt from any of the prompts that come up. However, I feel suspicious of myself when I feel like a question doesn’t apply to me. I know my experiences are unique and that this is a possibility to me, but I wonder if I am not being super honest with myself. Or, if I just the type of person who see other people as people.

About a week ago I was sharing some very old school work with my oldest daughter and I came across some class photos. I grew up in Southern California, and the schools I attended had a diverse student population. I befriended everyone, regardless of sex or race. I never thought “I’m not going to play with that person because they’re (race) (or their skin color).” That just never occurred to me. At the same time, there were people I didn’t like, but their race/culture had nothing to do with it. People are just people.

20181209_114657909807766.jpgMy third grade class.

I did have color-blind racism inside me as I grew older. I knew people of different races had their own cultural practices, but I also have had the thoughts like “I don’t see color” (which is totally ridiculous btw because it erases the experiences of minoritzed populations).

I think this workbook is more geared towards anti-racist beginners. All these topics I have read about before, by black women, whether in articles or on Twitter. I have that knowledge under me and I think it skews my perspective on how I could be answering these questions.

Day 3 is about Tone Policing. Never in my life have I ever said to anyone “I don’t like the way you’re talking about racism” (as far as tone/rhetoric goes) and walked away. Never.(*see below) Part of that reason is because as I got older (I moved from CA when I was 9), my parents moved to predominately white communities. As I got old enough to have these conversations, they didn’t happen because I didn’t have people of other races around me. And if I did, we weren’t talking about racist issues. That is part of my white privilege: I got to avoid these conversations in my young adult life.

However, I have witnessed these things online since joining Twitter and following Black people. It is crazy the way people will talk to Black people because they dare bring up race. I try to collect my people when I can, and I definitely try to engage in those people who just don’t have enough knowledge to see how they’re upholding racist values while claiming to be non-racist. It’s hard work. People hang on real tight to their white supremacist way of thinking. It’s so deeply embedded in all of us. It’s the reason ANTI-RACISM isn’t more prevalent.

At any rate, I will have things to write about for this journal entry, but I did write “never” next to a couple of questions such as “How often have you walked away from race conversations because you didn’t approve of the tone being used?” *Never. 1. I haven’t experienced it in person, and 2. I would never think to tell someone who is talking about their terrible experience that they aren’t using the right kind of ‘civil’ talking. You think people should be civil and respectable after they get shit on? That is so ridiculous. Fucking ridiculous.


*Upon further reflection, this statement is incorrect. I do remember a distinct time where I did walk away because I didn’t like the way someone was talking about it. This occurred when Donald Trump got elected and I first started following a Black woman anti-racism activist. The details of this will go into the journal entry, but I needed to clear the air that my “never” statement is wrong.

I think it’s important to not delete this entry and keep it on record that white supremacy is embedded even in the most good-intentioned people. I knew I was right to question myself, and I’m glad I did. I’m glad to have it on record that even when I think I’m not wrong, I am. White supremacy is a hell of a thing.


I’m very tired so this will be short.

Today I had a little internet interaction that although isn’t a big deal in scope, it was a useful reminder to me of what kind of knowledge I have that other people do not. It also was a good reminder that when people get push back on their assholery, there is resistance and deflection, and I am the one to blame.

I live in a bubble. I’m home all the time, and my interactions with strangers is limited to a nod and a smile or a huff of annoyance while strolling past each other in store aisles. I don’t have a job to go to. I don’t have to interact with other people in a long term, or even short term, way. I have seconds of interaction before I return to my home and read Twitter where everyone I follow is smarter than me and already have knowledge of intersectional oppression under them.

When I wander away from my Twitter timeline or go into other social media places, I see very easily how people unwittingly uphold oppressive values. The pedantic grammar nazi is very prevalent in all comment sections, and as an anti-racist linguist with some knowledge under me, I can name the ways that these views uphold white supremacist ideals. I forget that people are quick to dismiss, deflect, victim-blame, gaslight. I need better skills to navigate such situations. When do I keep pushing, when should I stop? I stopped fairly quickly on today’s incident because I knew that anything I had to say would be quickly dismissed. Or I would get myself banned. Meh.

This is just the very beginning. I need to work on my approach. White people are fragile, and I know this, because I am not free of this fragility. I just have more information under my belt and a willingness to understand and be called out. Most people don’t have that, don’t want it, and don’t like it when it happens. Understandable, especially with an unapologetic approach. I need to think of who my audience is and what my ultimate goal is. That would be a good thing to ponder about for a while.

Intro to Anti-Racism: nearing ‘concept saturation’

Nothing I am going to say here is novel. It’s not original in epiphany. I’m just sharing thoughts, nothing more.

I finished “How to be Less Stupid about Race” by Dr. Crystal Marie Fleming. I very much enjoyed the book, and I gained some new insights that I hadn’t had before. But what is highly interesting to me is that I’m starting to gain what Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega calls “concept saturation” – “the point when you are seeing the same concepts repeated over and over again.” He speaks about it in terms of citation, and in Flemings book, she references a lot of people whom I have read and/or follow on twitter. It’s good confirmation for me that I’m ready to take the next step: activism.

I know that my 1.5 years of study is not complete. There are many more books on racism and intersectionality to be read. I just put “White Fragility” onto my hold list at the library. I still have books I own that I need to read. It’s a slow process, but it’s getting done.

The last chapter of Fleming’s book talks about ways to combat white supremacy. Redistributing resources was among the lists. It reminded me of one of the earliest interactions I had with Dr. Nelson Flores, in which he was kind enough to tell me that linguistics will not solve the problem – redistribution of resources will. My naivety of the system from then to what I know now… I don’t know, it’s kind of remarkable. Indescribable. I was so naive. I know there’s still a lot I’m naive about. But I’m glad to be more in the know.

One of the suggestions Fleming gives is to choose a piece of the white supremacy pie to attack. There is a myriad of ways people are oppressed, and it’s impossible to take on them all at once as a single person. It was a nice reminder that to be anti-racist, you do not need to carry the world. Language is still my interest. And while I have decided that pursuing higher ed right now is not in the cards, I will continue my self study in the way that fits my lifestyle. In the meantime, activism needs to take a bigger role in my life.

I’ve already made introductions to the Jewish and Muslim communities. I’ve joined my local NAACP and attend their monthly meetings. I’m researching what kind of anti-racist organizations function near me. Unfortunately I think everything is based out of the nearest large city, which is about 40 miles away. I’ll make it work somehow. I’ll see what other kind of volunteer opportunities arise near me.

I feel comfortable in the anti-racism knowledge I have now. I feel like I can talk about it with some confidence. There are a few concepts that I would like to have better understanding of, but that’s just a matter of taking the time to research and read about it.

I plan to write here more just to clear some thoughts from my head and share where I’m reading with all of this. Academia is still a far off goal, but for now, it’s time to Do The Work.

RL application of racial knowledge

I got into an internet argument with white people today about their racism. It didn’t go over very well, as most conversations about racism tend to do. But, for me, it was a learning experience.


This is how it started, and it devolved into calling the red image ‘racism’. Which it isn’t.

I don’t regret calling out racism. That is my duty as a white person. Maybe I could have gone about it a little differently, but after quietly watching the black community engage with racists for several months, I took it in stride to approach it the same as they do: directly pointing out in what ways they are perpetuating systemic racism.

I was told it was too confrontational. Yes, and no. When people are already engaging in a way where they are being outright racists, it’s hard to provide the emotional labor needed to put them in a place to listen. They already aren’t listening, and they don’t want to listen. But that won’t excuse them from not being called out as a racist.

They got mad that I called them racists. They in turn pointed out all the ways they experienced “racism” toward them. They brought in “my black friends”, they brought it “racism is a crutch”, they brought in “You’re being a racist.”

Essentially, they did the typical white defense against being called a racist. I pulled out my bingo board to see what I had.


Damn, not quite bingo. If only my board had been arranged a little differently…

Regardless of them not being in a place to listen, I gave book recommendations on how to address/see their racism. I don’t expect them to read it, but who knows, maybe in 5-10 years, if they have a change of heart, they’ll try to remember what those book titles were. Hell, I even put it out there that I’m still willing to engage if they’re willing to reflect. But I’ve seen and experience the ultimate Waste Of Time it is to fight with an uncompromising wall. (What other kind of walls are there?) Ain’t interested.

Either way, I think I might start a series of posts here, or on fb, or both, where I write about the things I’m learning about racism. Ijeoma Oluo does a fantastic job about framing racial issues in a way that makes it easy for the White audience to understand. But she’s also a black woman who is doing a lot of emotional labor that she shouldn’t have to do. I know this is what she chose to do. I am her target audience. Now it’s time for me to utilize that knowledge to engage with the White audience who are willing to engage but may not necessarily be willing to accept the reality of our White Supremacist society. I don’t expect this to be a fruitful adventure. I expect it to be a lot of talking to walls. But I hope I can put some dents or cracks in there. We’ll see.