Unlearning Everyday Racism

November 24th, 2020

This Week : Why Did I Stay Silent?

What do you do when you are at work or in the grocery store or in a social situation and another white person commits a racial microagression of some kind?  Having choices in these circumstances is a critical part of our work as antiracist white people and understanding what doesn’t work and why is part of building toward our own racial literacy and liberation.

These situations can arouse feelings of anger, anxiety and embarrassment, and this mix of difficult emotions can flood us with confusion leading to a kind of stuck-ness. We lose confidence in our ability to recognize and respond to racism and stay silent, ending up feeling like a fraud or a failure.

Think back to a time you were with a group and you heard something you thought/felt was racist. What was your first indication? Where did you feel it in your body? Was it a knot in your stomach? A buzzing in your ears? A thumping heartbeat in your chest? Did your attention move from the room you were in and the people you were with to yourself, your feelings, your thoughts? Were you worried about being wrong?  If you remained silent, think back to that situation again and imagine that you trusted your first feeling and stayed focused on the people you were with and the room you were in. Does it make a difference in your ability to speak up?


Kalissa Scopes, Unlearning Everyday Racism


Talking to Other White People About Race Checklist

  1. Do your own work
  2. Schedule the conversation
  3. Assess the other person
  4. Identify your “Why”
  5. Let your body help you
  6. Consider the stakes
  7. Get honest about motives
  8. Take context into account
  9. Plan the conversation
  10. Have the conversation
  11. Debrief and celebrate
  12. Choose your next conversation
Click on the button below for all the notes, steps and videos in one place and to get some individual help from me if you need it.