A white person’s guide to Black Heritage Month

Disclosure: I am a white person.

White people can be either racist, non-racist or anti-racist. If you believe the simple absence of racism in your attitude is enough, you are non-racist. If you believe that it is not enough to not engage in racist behaviour and use your position of privilege to battle racism, you are anti-racist.

This does not mean that you need to follow a career in race relations and activism. It could be as simple as standing up and correcting people when you hear racist remarks. It could be simply questioning the absence of People of Colour in positions of power.

It requires progressive action towards equality. In addition, being anti-racist is fully comprehending the fact that you will never know the systemic/racist barriers that people of color have to confront in their day to day lives. It also acknowledging  the complex facets race and race relations present.

If you are an anti-racist white person, here are the things that you can do this month of February:

1. Unpack your invisible knapsack.

In reference to Peggy McIntosh’s work published in 1989 “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” In other words, recognize and reflect upon your privilege. This does not mean that you must feel guilty; it means that it is important for you to recognize that (in some ways) you have a better advantage than many others do.

2. Accept that reverse racism is not a thing.

One can be discriminated against for being white, but racism requires a systematic lack of power control. Which is controlled by the strange idealization of pale skin.

This does not mean that all white people have systematic control, but it means that on the basis of their skin, they have more than People of Colour.

If you cannot handle the existence of co-existing truths in power relation, this may not make much sense to you. In this case, I encourage you to do your own educational research. Be wary of  the disproportionately negative mass media depiction of people of color.

3. Attend events, listen, learn.

The Trent African Caribbean Student Union in collaboration with the Colleges and various organizations, is hosting a wonderful series of events for Black Heritage Month.

The perfect opportunity to educate yourself is presented! Especially important is the chance to engage in the Black Lives Matter movement on Feb. 29, with various events running from 12p.m. to 9p.m.

4. Ask yourself why the information is more commonly validated as the words of a white person.

During this article, did you believe my words more so than you may have if the author was a black woman?

It wouldn’t be surprising as that demonstrates an example of the systematically oppression against People of Colour. White people are born racist because of the society that we live in; it is not necessarily the views of the children or family.

What is important is that you now educate yourself to stop making those conclusions.

About Reba Harrison 31 Articles
You know that crazy cat lady with red hair, a love for charity, and a passion for social justice? That's me. I view everything in a critical light and am dedicated to bringing readers the alternative side of the truth. After Spring 2016, I will be entering my fifth and final year at Trent University as a Woman Studies and Business student. Where I will go next? Who knows! But I forsee a dozen cats in my future, and a long life in the Arthur newspaper's future.