Thursday, June 07, 2007

the importance of challenging systemic racism

I am reading Uprooting Racism: How white people can work towards racial justice. It's an excellent book that is a must read for all white people wanting to commit to challenging racism.

Here is a quote I want to share:

"Issues of social justice are not fundamentally about individual actions and beliefs. . . White racism . . . is a social system. Although my personal attitudes and actions can either support or confront racism, racism is completely independent of me. In fact, even if most of us were completely non-racist in our attitudes, there are many ways that unequal wages, unequal treatment in the legal system and segregation in jobs, housing and education would continue.

Our beliefs and actions are important. We are responsible for how we treat the people around us and whether or not we are fighting against injustice or contributing to it. But as long as we focus only on individual actions and ignore community and organizational responses, we will leave a system of racism intact."

The more I learn about how racism works, the more I am challenged to see the larger picture and to envision myself involved in uprooting institutional racism. It is an overwhelming thought, indeed, but the only way to really right the wrongs of racism. I am not sure specifically how I will eventually be involved in the work on dismantling systemic racism, but for now, I am beginning with educating myself and simultaneously those in my circles as well as those who read this blog. Occasionally, I also write a letter to the editor. I have a few on the back burner. I know when the time is right, that the right path will manifest itself and lead me towards work on a larger scale.

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