The Opposite of Racist Isn’t Not Racist
“The opposite of racist isn’t not racist,” writes author and historian Ibram X. Kendi in his 2019 bestselling memoir, How to Be an Antiracist. “It is anti-racist. What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist.”
It’s been an extremely difficult week for many of us. As a white man who grew up in the south of England, before moving to San Francisco, California and (last year) to New York City where my wife and I settled on the Upper East Side, I can’t begin to comprehend what it means to be a black man or woman in the United States, the United Kingdom, or, frankly, a vast number of other countries where racism and oppression is simmering just below the surface, whether or not the white citizens of these countries will admit it.
This past week, as I’ve seen peaceful protestors march, and sit, and sing around the world, and as my wife and I participated in one of these protests as it came through our neighborhood, I’ve been extremely moved by this movement, and disappointed by those who try to characterize it as something it’s not.
I am purposely keeping this article short as I want to amplify the voices of those at the other end of it. Read on to learn how to be anti-racist; where to donate, what to read, and how to put your hard-earned dollars to work in supporting black businesses.
How to Be Anti-Racist
The below lists of where to donate, what to read, and what to buy to support the black community in the United States have, as I noted above, purposely been kept short. Decision fatigue is nobody’s friend.
Where to Donate
Donate to organizations that are making a real, measurable difference for underserved communities across the country. To ensure your money goes as far as it can, use Charity Navigator to dissect each charity’s funding and expenses before donating.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Black Lives Matter
- The Bail Project
- The Legal Defense and Educational Fund
What to Read
Below is a short list of four books that I have found to be extremely helpful in this area. The fifth I will read as soon as it’s back on the shelves. For more anti-racist reading recommedations, cast you eyes on this anti-racist reading list from Goodreads.
- The New Jim Crow: Michelle Alexander
- Whatever It Takes: Paul Tough
- Between the World and Me: Ta-Nehisi Coates
- A People’s History of the United States: Howard Zinn
- How to Be an Antiracist: Ibram X. Kendi
Where to Shop
Earlier this week I saw this tweet encouraging black business owners to reply with a link to their website to promote their wares. The replies were quickly filled with a wealth of product photos, and I’ve since discovered a number of online directories that add to this tally.
- Five Fifths
- Rebuild Black Business
- Official Black Wall Street
- Support Black Owned
- New York Magazine List
“One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist,” continues Ibram X. Kendi in How to Be an Antiracist. “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of not racist.”
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