August 2022: The Legacy of White Anti-racism
For many, August is a time of rest; for some a time of reflection; for others a time of rejuvenation. For those of us in CWC it can also be a time of reawakening as we continue shifting our perspectives to become more useful in the process of eliminating white supremacy from the world. This month's prompt was inspired by something someone shared after a CWC meeting: "My daughter recently asked me if white people had ever done anything good. I didn’t know what to say. A friend recommended that I read Anti-racism in U.S. History: The First Two Hundred Years by Herbert Apthecker. The book talks about the role white folks have played in the struggle to dismantle systems of oppression. Something became clear to me as I read: how could I be raising an white antiracist child if I didn’t give her some history to help her develop a positive white identity? I’d been clueless myself and with all the best intentions I was passing along my own guilt and shame!" That really resonated with us, so we thought we'd focus our August discussions on the legacy of white anti-racism. To inspire the conversation, we'll take a brief look at Anne Bradon, one of the sheros of white antiracism in the USA. We'll watch this short video about Anne taken from the film "Anne Bradon: Southern Patriot." Here are some questions to consider to help focus our thoughts:
Besides Anne Bradon, how many white antiracists can I name?
How would I describe in basic terms the legacy of white antiracism to a child?
How might understanding the history of white antiracism help lessen feelings of guilt and shame and increase feelings of confidence and purpose?
How do I see myself fitting into the legacy of white antiracism?
What have I done/can I do to bring antiracism to my spheres of influence?
Clearly, we’re not in this alone; white anti-racists are active in every state of the union, and we certainly aren’t the first generation to commit to dismantling white supremacy. As long as the Europeans have been oppressing people of color on these shores there have been white folks speaking out and putting themselves on the line. Let's take some time this month to envision what it might mean to be a part of that legacy. For more information, this website has tremendous resources including a two part bio of Anne Bradon and several smaller bios of white anti-racists.
“In every age, no matter how cruel the oppression carried on by those in power, there have been those who struggled for a different world. I believe this is the genius of humankind, the thing that makes us half divine: the fact that some human beings can envision a world that has never existed." – Anne Bradon
“A new massive thrust toward racial justice will not alone solve all the problems that face us, but I am convinced that unless such a thrust develops—one that is global in its outlook—the other problems will not be solved. Because they are at the bottom of this society, when people of color move, the foundation shifts. . . In a sense, the battle is and always has been a battle for the hearts and minds of white people in this country. The fight against racism is not something we’re called on to help people of color with. We need to become involved as if our lives depended on it because, in truth, they do.”– Anne Bradon