Race is real, but it was made from nothing. Yet, it’s used to oppress people every day. Racial equity is about making it right.
This post is day 1 of 21 days, in the 21 Racial Equity Habit Challenge, a partnership with Palo Alto School District and City of Palo Alto. Ok, let’s it 100% real first. 21 days aint’ gonna change jack, but it can build a habit and get something moving. We know it’s needed, everywhere. I will be posting a short blog post each day, with a few thoughts, links to resources, and questions to consider. I might have a focal book, relevant blog post, or even an upcoming training.
Day 1 Theme: Racial Equity and Race as a Social Construct
Check out the resources here: https://www.paequitychallenge.com/day-1
Racial Equity and the social construct of race. Ok. Where do we start. We have to start somewhere. I usually start with definitions, history, and stories, but since this is a blog, I will keep it simple. To understand racial equity, we must understand racism, and race. Ok. So there are many differences that we share that are real, or more so, deserve to be real. Ethnicity, culture, and nationality are very real. They have to do with behaviors, traditions, locations, and even beliefs. But race is something different. It was created in the USA, to categorize people, and preserve white supremacy. Here’s a good resource
, not to mention, Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson, an enslaver of 600 enslaved Africans, wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia,” “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.” Fuck that guy. But let’s break it down. At the onset of our nation, as we know it be currently, Jefferson was inventing both the concept of race and cementing racial hierarchy. This was a method of justifying, or manifesting both the systemic and ideological state of white supremacy. We see antiBlackness from the beginning. To understand race, and races other than Black people, we must understand that it rests on white supremacy.
For the purposes of being brief, I will not go into the social construction of other races, white being one of them, and all the folks that weren’t white until they were systematically allowed to be white. But lets accept that we have races, racial hierarchy, and racist treatment based on where you fall in the hierarchy.
For me, racial equity then is the concept of doing what’s fair for folks based on race. This might be in response to racism, whether institutional or interpersonal. Equality on the other hand is doing the same thing for everyone, but we ain’t equal are we Thomas? We haven’t been equal. So equity is about doing what’s fair to make up the difference, to give access, to make reparations, to give opportunity.
We ain’t asking for charity. If that’s where your mind goes, the sickness is deeper than you know. Certain opportunities have been systematically given to white folks and those close to whiteness. So when we talk about resources we are talking about equity.
Schools? Where that looks like funding, staff, materials, even rules. Sounds crazy, to the those with privilege, but it ain’t crazy. It’s equity and justice. When we know what this is all based on and what the data really shows, there is no debate. There is only equity and justice. Racial equity and justice.
Questions to Consider
What race(s) are you?
How are you treated based on your race?
How do you treat others?
Was your race a predictor of your life outcome?
What can you change to create more equity and access?
My Challenge to You
Find some data in your school, city, department, or organization. Analyze it based on race. Look for disproportionality and discrepancies. Ask yourself, if races aren’t inherently unequal, then why is the data so. Then think about ways you can create more access for those who are disproportionality suffering. You will need to address policy, mindsets, and practice. Good luck.
See you on Day 2.
Saturday, February 20th 8:30-12:30pm
Teach Like a Human Pt. 3 (register)
Repairing harm with an antiracist lens
Saturday, March 13th & March 20th 9:00-1:30pm
Dismantling White Supremacy Culture in Schools (register)
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