by Orissa Arend

There is much discussion these days amid aspiring white allies to the cause of racial justice – and I count myself as one – about how to be the most useful.Michael Cowan, professor emeritus at Loyola University, wrote an op-ed piece on July 30 for the Times-Picayune New Orleans Advocate entitled “Successful coalitions must dispense with purity tests.” It caught my eye because Cowan and I have worked on many projects together. But this piece laid bare a fundamental disagreement.            

             In order to change policies and laws, he claims that anti-racist activists sometimes refuse to work with “a large majority of decent people [I think he means decent White people who] don’t identify themselves as ‘anti-racist’ and never will.” This strikes me as a false dichotomy.

            Anti-racism isn’t a purity test, as Cowan claims. I see it as an accurate description of anyone who “accepts the full humanity of every child of God” (in Cowan’s words) and works to challenge and abolish institutional and structural racism. Power and privilege can be an asset in this endeavor, not something to feel coy or guilty about.

Undoing Racism

            The Undoing Racism Workshop of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond has helped me understand this large definition of anti-racism. It doesn’t mean just opposing someone who has racial prejudice. Growing up in this society, we all have some of that. Pronounced examples could be found in your mother or father or your best friend. If anti-racism were a purity test, we all would fail.

            Accepting a common broad definition of anti-racism is crucial right now. As one of my mediation mentors said, a problem that is mutually defined can be mutually solved.

            There was a time, not too long ago in warped COVID-time, when some White people had a hard time saying, “Black lives matter.” I foresee a time, hopefully at COVID warp speed, when the important coalitions for social justice that Cowan writes about can whole heartedly declare themselves to be anti-racist.

2 thoughts on “What does it mean to be anti-racist?”
  1. What is BIPOC? you need to know!!!

    LBRC- Every “Conscious” Black has to get this!!! What is BIPOC? HumannPsychology studies what is called “The Mandella Effect”, research it! However- Don’t go for the Okedoke called BIPOC and be left behind again as usual!!! Dark Complexioned Indians (India) in America are shaving their heads in order to take advantage of programs designed to abate impacts of years of slavery and Jim Crow against ADOS. Lots all over America are running for Political Office and duping naive Negroes who vote color. Like former Governor Jindal in La., lots hold “Contempt” for ADOS, except they run as Democrats! Nigerians, whose families traded slaves in during “The Middle Passage, believe it or not hold just as much contempt for ADOS!!! You can’t make this up! 

    Attorney Antonio Moore has an instructional video on YouTube. (A Must See!!!)…

    Title: “BIPOC Explained- Why was it created?

    Go here>>> 

    Peace Out…

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