We Need To Take Action...
it's International day For the elimination of racial discrimination And BIPOC lives still matter
Hello, you beautiful souls on the Internet.
We are deeply troubled by this week’s news about multiple mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, where eight people were brutally murdered, six of whom were women of Asian descent. We heard this news as we were preparing to publish a blogpost with resources on anti-racism as March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
This day goes back to an event on March 21st, 1960 when during a peaceful protest against the apartheid laws in Sharpeville, South Africa, police opened fire and killed 69 people. Later, in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day and urged the international community to work on eliminating all forms of racial discrimination. Unfortunately, even 55 years later, we are far from reaching that goal.
In a world like ours, it is simply not enough to not be racist. We must actively be anti-racist. You might have heard that before. Because these are not our words. They are hers:
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” ― Angela Y. Davis
Anti-racism work consists of, among other things, 1) educating ourselves, 2) talking about it with others (however, not with those affected by racism unless they decide they want to be part of the conversation), 3) amplifying the voices of those affected by racial discrimination, this includes through supporting their work (financially) and finally, 4) organizing.
As education is and should always be the first step in anti-racism work, this post is aimed at offering some resources from different categories, including books, films, podcasts, and social media accounts.
This is by no means an exhaustive list; it is meant to be a starting point from which you may choose to navigate in different directions.
Before we jump into the list of resources, we would like to offer you one very important and valuable bit of knowledge. When we speak about “racism”, some of us might not be aware of the depth of this word. When white people are called out for being racist, they tend to get defensive, trying to justify their behavior or explaining that they have friends who are (BI)POC and therefore cannot be racist. However, racism is multi-faceted and needs to be broken down into different “levels” to be properly understood. Racism runs deeper than using "slurs" or appropriating someone's culture.
We need to understand racism as an umbrella: under this umbrella, we will find individual racism, institutional racism, and structural racism. It can be argued that one cannot exist without the other, as they are mutually dependent on each other.
Individual racism can come from one person or groups of people and refers to both (personal) beliefs and actions. It is what many people focus on when talking about racism, thereby neglecting to put emphasis on the broken system. Examples of individual racism include racist slurs or otherwise hateful speech, ostracizing people, microaggressions, or similar words and actions that occur on an interpersonal level.
In contrast, institutional racism originates from governmental and societal institutions and organizations, within which racism is (re)produced. Institutional racism expresses itself in legislation, regulations, provisions, and other policy. These typically result in unfavorable outcomes for people of color. Institutional racism is oftentimes implicit and therefore less visible depending on the observer’s perspective.
Structural racism is both the root and the foundation of racial discrimination. Structural racism does not necessarily mean that we have a system that explicitly takes from people of color. Similarly, to institutional racism, it is implicit and less visible than acts of individual racism. Structural racism usually occurs in systems that are designed without people of color in mind, leaving them with unfavorable or no resources. This racism is structural or systemic because it seeps through all different layers and structures of the system.
Now, we are certainly no professionals on the matter of racial discrimination. However, we wanted to leave you with this bit of knowledge because it really shifts the perspective on this matter. Again, it is not enough to not be racist. Most institutions and organizations are not designed to be racist. They are just not designed to be anti-racist.
When we say that people are not born racist, we are right. But people are also not born anti-racist. So let’s take action together!
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
I'm Still Here – Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Malcolm X (1992)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
When They See Us (2019)
American Son (2019)
Dear readers, we, at HOLI SH*T, are committed to foster an environment where people of all identities can prosper. Not only as a company but as individuals. We acknowledge our individual and collective privileges and will continue to actively work towards a just and equitable future for all people. We also recognize that anti-racist work (and any other allyship for that matter) requires continuous action and we promise to better ourselves every day.
We hope you do the same. We believe in kindness, compassion, and community. But we are not blind to the injustices that happen all over the world. We are not free until every last person affected by discrimination (be it race, gender identity, sexuality, (dis)ability, etc.) is liberated.
We hope that you will join us in this endeavor. We need to take action. Let's begin by educating ourselves and sparking a conversation.
You are all loved beyond your wildest imaginations. We hope to see you next week. Same place, same time. Stay kind.
xx HOLI BLOG TEAM