Several YMF-ers are joining together to challenge white supremacy, and we invite you to join us. The purpose of this challenge is to commit and follow through on educating ourselves about the necessity of ending white supremacy and taking specific actions to do so in our communities and personal lives in ways informed by people of color. White progressives often laud the importance of education and anti-racism work but fail to concretely act on those words; we recognize this and commit to undertaking this challenge not to gain ally points but to confront and eradicate white supremacy both internally and externally. White participants in this challenge are not the drivers of this movement, but are responsible for their role in perpetuating this racist system and must do our/their part to tear down white supremacy in our/their own mind, lives, and community.
By pooling our resources and keeping each other accountable, we vow to check in in six months and be able to point to specific things we have learned and actions we have taken. We will set individual goals each week and answer to each other regarding their progress. Progress made from this challenge will not be reported publicly unless requested. People of color who want to join the group only to observe and comment are welcome to do so and will be exempt from the weekly reporting rules unless otherwise indicated.
Initial disclaimer about the word “challenge:” this is not a competition. There will be no prizes for becoming less racist and taking down white supremacy inside and around you. The word challenge is instead meant to invoke a deliberate and specific directive to improve. This challenge assumes two things: that you understand that white supremacy still exists, and that you want to dismantle it. The rules below have been designed to provide a flexible and widely accessible structure to hopefully effect real change.
Rules for participation:
- You must commit to creating a plan of action for yourself to follow through on this challenge. Goals for each week will be reported in the facebook group created specifically for this endeavor. (See below for details on how to join)
- Failing to report on your progress, even if you did not reach your goal entirely or at all, will result in removal from the group. The group is for those actively confronting white supremacy- we all are busy and stressed out, but we must prioritize this work insofar as we’re able. Even if you don’t meet your goal, you still need to report it.
- Failing to report on your progress for two consecutive weeks or three separate times in the initial six month timeframe will result in removal from the group. If you find that your circumstances change and you’re not able to keep up, please proactively remove yourself.
- The purpose of undertaking this challenge collectively is to keep each other accountable to concrete progress- not to handhold each other or exuberantly praise our becoming less racist. Do not expect anyone to give you a gold star for ending a racist practice in your life or giving more credence to the opinions of a person of color; let your own growth of understanding and ability to point to concrete changes motivate you to continue on.
**Other things to note**
-Understand that the initial list of suggested actions are by no means comprehensive, and you should expect to do your own research and self-evaluation about ideas for this challenge.
-While this challenge is six months long, our anti-white supremacy work will not end there. Participants should find ways that work in their lives to continue the challenge to fight racism long after the six month timeframe, though hopefully the experience will enable its continuance.
-This challenge is not a playground, an intellectual hobby, or an avenue for proving how enlightened you already are. It is an opportunity to self-evaluate and set concrete goals for walking the walk to end white supremacy.
- Search facebook (or click on this link https://www.facebook.com/groups/638358826297797/) and request to join the facebook group created for this purpose- Challenging White Supremacy
- Read and sign the rules in order to have your request to join approved by signing this document- https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pBtunz5IMjZNe2C0KlXyB23d3vyux1buYwZzrgcxE1Q/viewform
The first week of this challenge will begin on Tuesday, February 17th, so please take these steps to join before that date. Interested participants who want to join the challenge after this start date will have the opportunity to do so at the beginning of each week of the challenge. Suggested/sample actions: Below is a list of suggestions for actions to take as part of this challenge- it is by no means an inclusive list. Participants in the challenge, when they share their goals for the week, will ideally share resources and ideas for further actions.
- Read the following article: “What Is White Supremacy?” by Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez. http://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/What_Is_White_Supremacy_Martinez.pdf
- Order online, check out from your local library, or otherwise procure at least two (or more depending on your life business) books by people of color or about a historical or specific issue that disproportionately affects people of color. You must not have read them before. You can read a list of suggested books here- http://bitchmagazine.org/post/my-2014-challenge-to-read-50-books-by-poc-met-and-exceeded. If you are differently abled or do not have the financial means to procure these books, you can find a list of PDF books on race online available here- http://flanneryogonner.tumblr.com/post/40237682151/free-pdf-books-on-race-gender-sexuality-class however, be responsible; if you can afford to purchase these books, do that instead.
- Write down your overall goals and expectations for participating in this challenge, and be as specific as possible. Do not just think about them- write them down somewhere where you can review this in six months and assess your progress.
- Familiarize yourself with the posts and arguments found in this collection of articles about “good white people”- http://buckrogcrs.tumblr.com/post/109661144410/vasundharaa-this-is-a-resource-post-for-all-the
- Complete the worksheet: “Making it Concrete for White People” http://www.cwsworkshop.org/pdfs/CARA/AOYP/TFRA/5_Making_It_Concrete.PDF
- Gather with a group in person or online to complete the worksheet/workshop: “Creating Anti-Racist Language” http://www.cwsworkshop.org/pdfs/CARC/Challenging_White_SJ/1_AR_Language.PDF
- Research anti-white supremacy and undoing racism workshops in your area and make and keep plans to attend. If there are none near you, find videos online from workshops and make and keep plans to actively watch and engage with them.
- Start a conversation at church about the history of racism among the Mormon people and church. Explore whether it is possible to organize an event or fireside for people to learn more about the priesthood and temple ban.
- Start conversations with family about race issues and engage them in dialogue. Track how the conversations go and build on any progress; consider using books, movies, pop culture, and other cues to launch your conversation.
- Assess the racial makeup of your workplace or classroom. Conduct your own thorough and sincere research into the background of why it is the way it is (whether it is very racially diverse or very not diverse). Identify key components behind why it is the way it is, share your findings with the people in charge and with your coworkers/classmates, and brainstorm ways or flag for future hiring that you can make sure you’re doing the most outreach you can and addressing barriers to hiring or acceptance for students.
- Set a reading schedule for yourself based on what is feasible. Do not simply reread books by people of color you enjoyed in the past.
- Take stock of what media you watch. What is the racial makeup? Who directed/produced it? What is the media broadcasting company that is behind it, and what is the racial makeup of their leadership? How are people of color portrayed on your favorite tv show? In your favorite movie? Consider your findings, and seek out media not just made by and about white people. At the same time, do not appropriate media made by and for people of color as your own- remember your privilege.
- Research what anti-racist organizations or community campaigns there are in your local area by searching the news, Twitter, and facebook for locally organized groups. Engage as is appropriate- respectfully, only when there is an open invitation, and with extra scrutiny on your own participation. There could be individual activist events or you could join a grassroots campaign about an issue disproportionately affecting people of color in your community.
- Along similar lines, research what volunteer opportunities you could take on that would serve people of color in your community. Planned Parenthood, LGBTQIA organizations, local food banks or shelters, labor justice organizers, and schools often need committed volunteers.
White folks participating in this challenge should remember to never take over anti-white supremacy actions or movements. Even if you learn a ton from focusing on this challenge, you will never understand race like someone who has lived as a person of color under white supremacy. But educating yourself, following the lead of people of color who are leading this movement, and by taking concrete actions guided by them and what you are able to learn from them, is essential to addressing your complicity in white supremacy.