Last week, Women for Biden held an online training session with Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility. It was a powerful call to action for white people to recognize and respond to the existence of systemic racism in our world and in ourselves.

If you missed the training, you owe it to yourself to watch one of Dr. DiAngelo’s online presentations (there are lots more — just search on YouTube), to read the article that sparked her book, or to read the book itself.

DiAngelo’s argument is that all white people act in racist ways. Racism isn’t just ugly actions by overtly racist people.

White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress. … White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

Every white person has a lot of work to do to recognize, confront and take concrete steps to counteract systemic racism. “I always told myself I can’t be racist,” she told us. “I’m a vegetarian.” She suggested some ways we can increase our awareness and expand our ability to be anti-racist:

This program seeks to change racial attitudes and develop effective habits for social justice action, one day at a time. Each day you’re asked to do one action to further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity, then reflect on it and write a brief reaction.
Challenges include reading, listening, and watching articles, books, shows, podcasts and more. Watching and noticing how race plays a part in your life and your community. Widening your circle. Connecting with social justice and anti-racist groups in the community. Taking action to support anti-racism.

Start with the website. There’s a second 21-day challenge focused on protest and rebellion. You can download a chart to track your progress and record your reflections. Like and follow the Facebook page for new suggestions.

Challenge yourself with Me and White Supremacy.

This is a workbook for a 28-day challenge to combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor. It started with an Instagram challenge in 2018 in which thousands have participated. Buy the book and/or explore the website for seminars, podcasts, blog posts and more.

Participate in social justice and anti-racist groups here in Williamsburg

Whether we can join the nightly marches or not, we all need to take concrete, permanent actions every day to become more self-aware and summon the courage to counteract the systemic racism pervading every part of our lives. DiAngelo gives good advice: “You’ll make mistakes. You’ll say the wrong thing. But you will learn.”

Note: If we’ve left out a group, please let us know at democrats@wjccdems.com so we can add it. Thanks!