The Concrete Work Of Eliminating Your Racism

Through the process of organizing white people to discharge patterns of white racism and to act to end racism and classism, I have listened to many people and tried to be of assistance. This is a summary of the areas that seem to bring discharge and assist people to actually reach toward making friends with people of color, move in the direction of caring about all people and ending racism and classism.

I think it's important to remember that racism and classism have to be tackled together. Racism dehumanizes white people and keeps us discouraged, despairing and tolerating class society. Racism cuts off our natural ability to care about all human beings. This puts us in great danger.

Racism makes it "us" versus "them." We are in fact one human race. What is significant is that human beings are very beautiful and creative. We get to learn from each other's cultures and points of view.

Because the world population is over three-quarters people of color, every liberation constituency is predominantly people of color. If this is not the case it is only because of racism and classism.

Our humanness is dependent on taking a look at racism. We have constructed a great pseudo-reality to avoid doing so.

I encourage every white Co-Counselor to set up a support group and work on this. Here are enough directions for you to work with for a year or two. Enjoy each other. You will have a chance to hit up against your heaviest distress. It makes a difference; your life will be improved. Love each other well in your support group - each person is a resource to be cherished.

Don't forget to make friends with people of color.

SUGGESTED DIRECTIONS FOR DISCHARGING PATTERNS OF WHITE RACISM AND STEPS TOWARD BREAKING FREE OF RACISM

Working With Early Memories

1. What comes up when you put attention on your earliest memory of noticing that there are any other colors of skin in the world besides pink?

2. Scan early memories of friendships with people of color.

3. Describe what racism was like in your family when you were growing up.

Making Friends

4. Put your attention on caring, expressing your caring for others, caring about othe people, all people, people of color, white people - noticing that you care about others. What do you hit up against?

5. What's in your way of making friends? Where do you need a hand?

6. Make the (repeated) decision to make friends - focus on taking initiative toward people of color. Discharge on the spot where it feels hard to move close(r) to people of color.

7. Explore "funny" motivations towards people of color (e.g. "I feel embarrassed that I'm always with white people." "I should have friends who are people of color...").

8. Work on what comes up for you regarding expressing thoughtful, public caring toward people of color.

9. Discharge heavy and light fears associated with getting close, for example: 

  • Fear of getting attacked or rejected by white people for being close to people of color or for visibly ending racism in other ways. 
  • Feeling timid, awkward, or stiff in making friends with people of color.
  • Clean up key hurtful (frightening, sad) incidences involving racism and/or people of color.

10. Discharge on feeling that you don't belong with people of color or they don't want you around.

11. Put attention on relationships with current friends of color.

12. What is it like for you to listen to the anger of people of color?

INTERNALIZED OPPRESSION GETS IN THE WAY OF BEING AN ALLY AND FRIEND

13. How does your internalized oppression (e.g. as female, Gay, Jew, Catholic, working class, middle class, Wygelian, etc.) get in the way of being fully human with people of color?

THE INTERSECTION OF CLASSISM AND RACISM

14. Discharge on how your class background affects getting close to people of color.

15. Notice and discharge on the ways you feel superior to people of color (e.g. "They don't speak correctly." "They don't know how to do things the right way," etc.).

16. Put attention on how much you care about ending racism.

17. Notice manifestations of racism, and discharge on your feelings about them.

18. Notice and discharge on feelings of confusion about (eliminating) racism.

19. Decide [see #4] to end living an isolated, segregated life.

OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON TAKING A LOOK A RACISM

20. Notice how it feels to see the effects of racism on people of color, particularly your friends.

21. Describe memories and experiences of witnessing racism.

22. Try these directions:

  • Give up trying to create a classless society with white people only. 
  • Give up white control.
  • Give up that there is one right way to be human, to do things, etc.

CLEANING UP BEING WHITE

22. Notice and discharge on how (you and/or other) white people's humanness is horribly distorted by racism.

23. Discharge anger at white people about racism. (See racism as a dreadful distress recording we all carry, some acting more vicious then others, dispelling the myth that there are some "good" whites and some "bad" whites.)

24. White identity - "name it, claim it, discharge all about it and throw it away."

25. Talk about feeling guilty about racism.

TAKING CHARGE OF ELIMINATING RACISM

26. Pay attention to your vision for the world.

27. Describe times you interrupted racism (regardless of how trifling it feels).

28. Notice what feels difficult for you about interrupting racism.

29. Discharge on feelings about making a difference toward eliminating racism. (Suggested phrase: "I can make a difference. Everything I do to end racism is significant.")

30. Discharge feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness about eliminating racism. (This may require pushing up against the place in our minds where we feel completely powerless; sometimes wrestling with someone who has agreed to be your counselor provides a good contradiction.)

  • Part One: Do a "think and listen" on big and bold steps that will eliminate racism (for example, take on your union, take on mortgage red-lining at your bank, work on a political campaign, work with your young person's school/classroom, organize your neighborhood, change policy, work with your church/temple, create new policy, interrupt racism, organize). 
  • Part Two: Discharge. 
  • Part Three: Develop little steps that will move the big, bold vision forward and keep discharging.

BUILDING DIVERSE COMMUNITIES

31. Discharge on what's in the way of you personally getting the tools and insights of RC into the hands of people of color.

32. Discharge feeling bad or uncomfortable about the current predominantly white state of your area.

33. Discharge "funny" motivations about "getting them into RC."

34. Notice what's in your way of giving excellent counseling to people of color.

35. Discharge on what's difficult for you personally to fully and actively support and develop the leadership of people of color.

36. Notice that you personally make a difference as a friend and ally.

37. Discharge more on making friends with people of color in the "wide world."

38. Make a commitment to do whatever it takes to clean up patterns of white racism - yours and other Community members'.

39. Organize a support or discharge group to focus on breaking free of racism.

40. Develop a team of people working on this individually and together.

Jennifer Wexler
Hyde Park, Massachusetts, USA

 


Last modified: 2016-12-20 06:43:20-08