Today, we all need to talk about what we’ve been scared and uncomfortable to talk about for a really long time.
White people – we need to talk about racism.
As a cis-gender white male, I was born into a lot of privilege in our society – and I’ve had white fragility when it comes to talking about racism.
I want to take a moment and acknowledge global protests for black lives matter and social justice. This is an important moment in history. This is one of those moments where we are going to look back at our lives and think about where we were – and what did we do? What did we stand for?
We often think these horror stories of racism and injustice are across the border in the United States; however, Canada has deep issues of racism and anti-blackness, from slavery to the cultural genocide of Indigenous peoples. And today, systemic racism and oppression is present in our Canadian institutions.
If real social change and a shift to equity for all is going to happen… White people are going to have to get uncomfortable and talk about racism and become allies in the fight towards change.
I’ve become aware that it is not enough to be “not racist,” that we must be anti-racist.
An anti-racist is a person who opposes racism and promotes racial tolerance.
Unless we are anti-racist, racism will continue.
I get it – as a white person – this can feel hard, and it takes effort.
But – let me ask you… What is worse – you and I being uncomfortable? OR black people, indigenous people, people of colour and people with disabilities being murdered and beaten on the streets?
We need to stand up and acknowledge our conscious and unconscious biases, and the harm we are causing with our ignorance.
As a disability advocate, I’ve been reflecting on the social justice conversations I’ve been a part of – and race has never been a part of the disability dialogue. As a disability community, we talk about inclusion – but black people, indigenous people, people of colour and people with disabilities are often missing in the conversation! We are operating in mostly white spaces.
In the disability community, we also need to talk about and understand intersectionality, which is A person who is affected by a number of discriminations and disadvantages. Intersectionality takes into account people’s overlapping identities and experiences in order to understand the complexity of the prejudices they face. So, for example, a black person with a developmental disability will face even greater discrimination and devaluation.
Yes – there is a lot of learning and work we need to do…
Will you start to do this work with me?
I’m calling you in – I ask you to have the courage to step into the conversation on racism, and to be an anti-racist. We can no longer be silent because our silence is resulting in violence.
I’m committing to having these conversations about racism, showing up to diverse events to learn, and advocating to governments and organizations to change racist policies.
I invite you to post a comment below, join the conversation, and share how you will take action as an anti-racist.
I’m Eric Goll of Empowering Ability – thank you for listening and getting uncomfortable with me.
Here is what I am doing to continue to educate myself and be part of the change:
1) I’m continuing my learning by taking Rachel Cargle’s 30 day “Do The Work” course. The link is here if anyone wants to sign up: https://instagram.us18.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=e7528b5266e654d0ce83c211d&id=1e469b88c0
2) Continuing to read. The current book I am reading is: How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. https://www.amazon.ca/How-Be-Antiracist-Ibram-Kendi/
3) I’ve joined the ‘The Anti-Racism Community Collective’ group on Facebook. Link is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/259398002045838. The advocacy work being done to demand change to racist government policies will be posted in this group. The leadership of this group is in the Kitchener/ Waterloo area – a community I spend a lot of time in.
4) I’m having a dialogue with my community.
5) I’m starting a dialogue with other disability leaders to find the best ways and collaborate to support this change.