Taking a step back in order to move forward: Understanding Race

I have the privilege of facilitating racial dialogue on a frequent basis. As a social justice educator, it is my mission to seek liberation by building awareness and having honest conversation on hard topics like race, racism, injustice, whiteness, and oppression. As my co-facilitator and I move quickly through the agenda in this 8 or 16 hour conversation, there is often not enough time to examine race in a deeper more meaningful way.

We attempt to engage our participants in building a pathway towards change, while exploring the implications of race, power, and privilege in America. As I have participated in hundreds of hours of this conversations, I have learned many things. And as result of my new awareness, I am using this platform to continue the learning.

This article is the first of many to come. It was born out of the understanding that we need to engage with these concepts on a consistent basis, just as we engage with many other daily activities. Just as we read the daily news, we need to make learning about race, racism and privilege — a daily practice. Continuing to learn about these topics, will allow us to bring our cognitive attention to how these elements of the human experience — are still present in our lives today. To that end, today’s article takes a step back in the conversation on race and racism — to it’s origins.

Often we speak of race and racism as a connection to slavery, Jim Crow, and Civil Rights. However, I believe we need to take a step back to understand how race and racism was used to fuel injustices and how they still fuel them today. Understanding how race was created and embedded into every aspect of society, can help build our understandings of how race is connected to modern day injustices that are still very prevalent in today’s society.

While there are many videos, articles, and books that address many of these areas; each week I intend to find a short video for you to watch that goes deeper in each of these topics. Additionally, I will provide a link to further reading. Further reading will allow you to go deeper into the main points addressed in each video. It is my hope that you join me in continuing the conversation that can bring us closer to liberation. Though we have come far, there is still a long road ahead. We can only know where we are going, if we examine where we have been.

Please watch Dr. Carlos Hoyt discusses the beginnings of rationalization in America and how that process continues today.

Further Reading: http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Hubbard/

Unapologetic Black Woman, Policy Professional, Activist, Lover of Politics, Mom of Twins, Doctoral Student, Writer