Get Help or Get Lost

Yesterday, Breeze Harper posted on the Sistah Vegan blog about her frustration with White self-identified vegans who think race and racism isn't an issue. Breeze says:

I'm at the point that if I have friends who are not willing to engage in anti-racist activism and aren't questioning "whiteness as a pathology"( because it truly is part of the fabric of the USA foundational beliefs), I am going to start kicking them to the curb. Seriously, if you haven't noticed, your friend Breeze here is B-L-A-C-K! If my real lived experiences of racism STILL don't convince you that it's a problem in the USA ... I can no longer be your friend until you seek therapy for your pathology.

Name tag reads: Hello, my race is... White. The first step is admitting you have a race. Luckily, there are several self-help resources available to assist those of us who are White in managing our individual, cultural and institutional racism. Artist and anti-racist activist Damali Ayo offers us The 12 White Steps to help us answer the nagging question: "But I'm White. What can I do about racism?"

It works if you work it. The 12 White Steps is a life-long endeavor. Any life-changing program is a daily process. It requires diligent awareness to launch a true awakening. Your program inhabits every corner of your life, even when you are not around peopel of color. In fact, it's the little moments that you have been taking for granted that will add up to huge successes

Preferably with the support of a sponsor, we can work our way through "The 12 White Steps." Ayo also offers us the resource of her I Can Fix It guide, which asks those of us who are White to start with five simple things we can do.

As Whites, we are each at different places in when it comes to our identity with race. No matter where we are, A Race is a Nice Thing to Have: A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Person in Your Life by Dr. Janet E. Helms is a great self-help guide through six basic phases of White identity. The goal is reach "Autonomy" where "the person is committed to being White, has an ideal view of what a nonracist White person is like, and is continually involved in the process of engaging in those activities and life experiences that will move the person toward her or his [or their] ideal."

Like any self-help program, these require persistent work. But if we're unwilling to do the work of addressing racism, then we better be prepared to face the music.