May 26, 2023

Over the course of the last year our team had the opportunity to complete The Antiracism Course, a journey led by Antiracism & Racial Justice Educator, Selam Debs, created to support in the unlearning, unraveling, and dismantling of the systems of privilege from which white folx benefit. The ultimate goal of the course is to create safer, braver and life-affirming outcomes for Black, Indigenous and Racialized communities. Salem’s work is rooted in the understanding that we must acknowledge and identify the insidiousness of white supremacy before we can dismantle colonial belief systems. The purpose of this blog post is not to pat ourselves on the back for undertaking this work or to position ourselves as experts in antiracism, but rather to share some of the learnings we thought might be helpful (or encouraging) to organizations like ours looking to further their education in this space. 

After we completed each course module, we would meet as a team to discuss our learnings and feelings the course brought up for us. This was one of our first major learnings: how important it is to create the space to talk about these issues. In fact, this inspired us to launch our Justice & Antiracism Content Club to help forward our education by inviting our team to immerse themselves in Black, Indigenous, Racialized, and social justice focused “works” of all forms (movies, podcasts, books), and then come together to discuss them.

Below are just a few of the “aha” moments that got us thinking differently:

  • Everything we do is a choice of being “racist” or “antiracist”. “Antiracist” means actively working against racism, and by doing nothing, you are “racist”. Our beliefs are either racist or anti-racist: there is no in between
  • White supremacy is not a problem of individual acts of discrimination, it is a system. The “system” is not broken: it is working as it was designed to work. We must redesign it and its function
  • Treat others the way they would like to be treated (not the way you would like to be treated)
  • Let go of “intention”. It doesn’t matter if you do not intend to do damage by your words: it’s the action that matters. Focusing on intentions diminishes the impact itself, and you are attempting to escape accountability
  • Avoid choosing peace over being uncomfortable. Niceness does not bring racism to the table. Be brave and speak up. If you can’t speak up, commit to doing the work until you can
  • Don’t expect others to do the work for you. Take the time to do your own research, and learn. This work isn’t personal development, or about becoming a better person: it’s about taking personal responsibility for taking action against racism

And with that said – we hope this encourages you to begin your own journey towards antiracism. We would highly recommend Selam’s Antiracism Course, which is currently accepting names on a waitlist.