“Racism is not the shark in the water, racism is the water”
In order for white people to effectively engage in challenging white supremacist culture, it is important to commit to learning about the origins of slavery in the United States and its persistent legacy of systemic racism. It is also important to recognize and let go of white-centering. This is a journey – not a destination – and it is a lifelong commitment for each of us who make it. The evidence of history has shown that as gains are made in equity and inclusion of marginalized people, the purveyors of white supremacy develop new tactics for stopping those gains. Thus the need for ongoing learning.
The NAACP Berkshire County Branch Vision 2025 enumerates multiple avenues of the Branch’s commitment to increasing awareness and learning among its members and the broader community. This begins with framing our Aspirations for Ourselves in “Core Ideas & Definitions about Race & Racism” that we strive to help all our members fully understand.
The Branch provides two programs to support white learning. Each provides a structure, timeframe, connection with others, and a curated list of Black-created resources. These authors ask different questions and approach issues from perspectives that challenge white-centered beliefs, policies, and practices on all fronts.
We are all infected with the disease of racism; if we are to challenge it in our society and in ourselves, we must understand it through intentional study.
The White Learning Circle is an immersive learning program for a small group (10-12 participants) that meets via Zoom every other week and uses a common syllabus and resource list for individual learning. Click here for more information.
White Learning Partners is for those who want some structure, support and connection with others, but need more time and content flexibility than the White Learning Circle offers. Participants design their own learning plans and schedule and are paired with one or two others for mutual mentoring and support. Click here for more information.
Getting started on your own
If you do not wish to engage in a structured program, but you still want to be learning, try Anti-Racism Daily. It is free (donations gratefully accepted) and delivered to your email daily. Each day provides perspective on a timely topic in clear and succinct prose.
If you wish to do more than just a daily email on your own, look over the Resource Packet for the White Learning Program to get some ideas of ways to get started.