Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator

M Gabriela Torres, Professor of Anthropology and Associate Provost for Academic Administration and Faculty Affairs, Past Co-Director, CCTL

Anti-racism is

the “active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably.” –from the National Action Committee on the Status of Women International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity

Becoming an anti-racist is always a work in progress, seldom yields perfection, and differs depending on who you are.

Anneliese A. Singh in The Racial Healing Handbook suggests that there are different pathways for different people but that we can all be racist and/or anti-racist.

For example, Singh suggest that becoming an anti-racist as a white person means taking responsibility for your power and privilege, acknowledging the feelings you have to increased multiculturalism, cultivating a desire for understanding and growth, etc.

Becoming an anti-racist as a person of color means recognizing that there are important class differences between people of color, understanding that all racial groups are struggling in some way under White supremacy, realizing that people of color groups are not always united in solidarity, and challenging internalized White supremacy, etc.

The Racial Healing Handbook proposes that all anti-racists must commit to taking individual and collective action as well as engaging in relationship-building beyond their own racialized identity.

Becoming an anti-racist means having an anti-racist agenda.

An anti-racist agenda “offers an understanding or explanation of race, racism, and the particular racial formations that develop in and around the classroom or program in question.

It defines and explains the particular realms of experience that both individuals and groups find themselves involved in at that site or classroom.

This means the agenda may discuss how racism tends to be a part of the structures and mechanisms of grading in writing classrooms, in teacher feedback, in the ways that the school admits and places students into classes, in how and what it values in writing and how those values are related to larger dominant discourses. It explains the particular brands of whiteness and whiteliness that occur in the classroom and in assessments. […]

When it comes to race, racism, and antiracist work, it is important that everyone feels safe, but equally important that many also feel uncomfortable. It’s only through discomfort, perhaps pain and suffering, that we grow, develop, and change for the better.” (from Frankie Condon and Vershawn Ashanti Young, Performing an Anti-Racist Pedagogy, 2017)

This resource is a action-oriented guide that does not claim to be exhaustive. It is meant to engage all educators in the college campus in becoming anti-racist.

It will direct you to resources produced by communities of educators across the US.