“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist -- we must be anti-racist.”
We live in a profoundly separate and unequal world. White supremacy is built into the foundation of this country, as well as the world. It’s not enough to be non-racist, white supremacy will continue even without individual racists. To overcome oppression and create a more just world, there needs to be mass participation in transforming basic systems in ways that will distribute power differently. However, there is important individual healing work to be done before many are able to contribute to an anti-racist movement. Integrating an anti-racism practice into our yoga practice is an essential component for achieving equality, justice and liberation.
10 Ways To Practice Anti-Racism:
1. Educate yourself about oppression. Learn from and listen closely to people who are targets of oppression. Read books about Black, Brown, Indigenous and LGBTQIA people. Engage in tough conversations about race and injustice. We can no longer be afraid to discuss oppression and discrimination for fear of "getting it wrong." Ask questions so you gain understanding.
2. Learn to recognize and understand your own privilege. This is one of the first steps to dismantling race discrimination. Explore what it means to be white. Race is only one aspect of privilege: gender, sexuality, religion, ability, socio-economic status, and language can all affect your level of privilege.
3. Awaken to systemic and institutional racism that infects the structure of our society. Systemic racism persists in our schools, offices, court system, police departments, military and elsewhere.Institutionalized racism disrupts marginalized communities access to quality education, healthcare, living wages, a respectable quality of living and other resources.
4. Examine and challenge your own bias, prejudices and conditioning. Work through feelings of guilt, shame, and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed.
5. Challenge the "colorblind" ideology. Perpetuating a colorblind society where people "don't seecolor" actually contributes to racism. We must see color in order to work together for equality and justice.
6. Avoid spiritual bypassing. Simply being a spiritual person will not prevent you from having racial biases and conditioning. Spiritual bypassing is the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings and unresolved wounds, including oppression, inequality and injustices.
7. Be a Role Model. Let people know that racist "jokes" or comments are not okay. Learn and practice the skills of challenging oppressive remarks, behaviors, policies, and institutional structures.
8. Be a proactive parent. Expose your children to diversity at a young age. Talk to them about race and racism.Read stories that inform and educate.
9. Support anti-racist organizations. Working with other groups toward the same goal can be rewarding to you and the community. Whether your efforts are volunteering, financial donations, or being an advocate, your voice can make a difference.
10. Adopt an intersectional approach in all aspects of your life. All forms of oppression are connected. You cannot fight against one form of injustice and not fight against others.
The socially conscious mind practices global mindfulness. When you become conscious and truthful about who you are and what’s going on around you, you will experience a greater sense of self. You will make an effort to be a more compassionate person, take better care of yourself and the global community and take action to create change.
First, AWAKEN, to the truth of who you are in the world and become aware of the perpetuation of racism in our society. Second, ANALYZE and examine your racial biases, conditioning, values, and beliefs. Think critically about oppression in the spaces you inhabit and throughout the world. Last, take ACTION, do the work of dismantling racism and transforming racism from the inside out.
It does not need to be a big heroic act, just a small, simple, impactful act, sparks change.