What it entails to be Anti-racist
To be Anti-racist entails operating from the premise that all races and ethnicities are equal, and acknowledging that, despite this truth, the prevailing status quo undermines equity through racist practices, systems, structures, and cultures. It involves exercising our individual and collective agency against the oppression, marginalisation, undermining, demeaning, or any other injurious act visited upon people based on racial profiling.
Think about it as being like removing cancer from a body. First, you diagnose the cancer, then you either kill or remove the carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) and stop them spreading to the rest of the body. Finally, you treat the body from the negative effects of the cancer and take the necessary precautionary measures to minimize or remove the risk of the cancer recurring and to spot it and stop it quickly before it spreads, if it returns.
More than standing back and ‘minding your own business,’ to be Anti-racist regards making the safeguarding of the dignity of others your business. As the seminal phrase “I am because we are” suggests, which is associated with Ubuntu, a southern African philosophy or way of being, our humanity is incomplete when the humanity of others is endangered or undermined.
To be Anti-racist is to be committed to push back against racist behavior, systems, structures, and cultures whenever and wherever they express themselves. It goes beyond simply treating others well and fighting against their marginalisation; it is just as important to desist from benefitting from practices, systems, structures, and cultures that proffer selective advantage to some while simultaneously disadvantaging others based on the colour of their skin or ethnicity. This is particularly challenging and can seem like self-sabotaging behavior as it involves questioning practices and systems that benefit us directly or indirectly. However, the true cost of living in a society where human dignity is a special reserve for some and routinely denied others is human dignity itself.