Bridging the Gap of the Racial Divide

An Anti-Racism Journey Perspective

Sheena Monster
9 min readJan 7, 2023
Photo by Dirk Spijkers on Unsplash

There are so many points that need to be made on the topic of racism and White Supremacy in America, it’s impossible to touch on all of them in one post. However, there are some problematic things that just seem so obvious that continue to go ignored and perpetuated within the White community. So, let’s start there.

Where to Start

Knowing where to begin can fuel insecurities and be shamefully intimidating, which quickly evolves into defensiveness and avoidance. The issue with this is not the insecurities or lack of knowledge, but the avoidance and defensive stance that breeds problematic behaviour. You cannot possibly progress as a person [of any ethnicity] if you run from what you do not know or understand. Avoidance becomes regression and stagnation through holding ground on a stance that both lacks perspective and denies an honest, legitimate education on the topic. It can feel like you’re being attacked when someone that doesn’t look like you, who doesn’t know your heart corrects you or challenges your perspective. It can feel like the world is literally spiraling and crashing down around you, because that challenge to what you think you know highlights everything you still have left to learn. This is a logical and beautiful place to begin.

Have you stopped and asked yourself why you feel so slighted? Did you feel attacked when you were in school and your [primarily] White teachers corrected your homework, directing you to dig deeper and, perhaps, suggested revisiting the material to help you better understand the lesson? My guess is probably not. From the comfort of Whiteness, we understood we were to respect their authority and were raised to believe that what they were teaching was the whole truth. Even when we were told to question authority, we were simultaneously encouraged and expected to take things at face value — and the school system served its purpose. This is seen in the ways that we cling to those ages-old lessons, accepting that we are innocent of ancestral wrongdoing.

It never occurred to most of us that it is our responsibility to continue our education outside of the classroom, bare minimum taking the journey inward and exploring how the past affects our present.

This is where I burst that bubble.

Photo by 愚木混株 cdd20 on Unsplash

The Next Step

What if I told you that much of what we were taught regarding American [and World] history was manipulated to paint the “victor” with a glossy finish? Ever notice any similarities in those that seemed to always come out on top?

From the first Thanksgiving, to chattel slavery and the Civil Rights movement, the highlights were the submission of those that were conquered. We were taught that the Indigenous willingly gave everything they had to “help” those poor White settlers, and that the outbreak of smallpox that decimated their populations was nothing more than an unfortunate accident. We were told the kings of Africa willingly sold members of their tribes to the Dutch, only to have the cold, harsh realities of Black slaves clouded by rose coloured glasses. While some of this may ring true and be accurate, it is not the whole story, adding another layer of fog to hide the vast majority of the aftermath of the Civil War.

The truth is that no White person in America, and I do mean none of us, have ever nor will ever experience the level of violence in the generational trauma that plagues our melanated brothers and sisters. White audacity is surpassed by none. As those that came before us intended, White people occupy every space as if it’s meant to be shared, leaving no safe space for anyone else to process the effects of darkest corners of the past — never mind the ongoing subjugation that is ignored today.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

Stop That

As children, we had an excuse — we deserved grace and understanding for our missteps, as every child does. Everything we knew was taught, even if only indirectly. As adults, there is no excuse for ignoring the voices of the millions of oppressed peoples when they speak on their experiences. In the age of social media, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour have platforms and use them to share their experiences. And they do, every day — and every day they are attacked, directly and indirectly, by White people proclaiming innocence and victimization. You are not innocent and you are not a victim for being put back in your lane, if my saying that hurts your feelings I want you to introspectively explore why.

The majority of those claiming innocence are the same people that walk directly into spaces not meant for them. While this is mostly my own observation, the majority of the Black content creators I follow have said as much — and are relentlessly met with “not all White people” in the comments, or the forever infamous “all lives matter”. Again, recede within and ask yourself why you feel the need to do this. What was said that made you feel the need to defend yourself in a space not meant for you, by someone that was either sharing their lived experience or actively trying to educate the masses, on how seemingly benign interactions lead to harm at the hands of White people? What triggered your defensiveness, and why do you feel entitled to making it that creator’s problem? You cannot honestly believe they have never heard that before, just as I can guarantee that everyone woman has had some guy respond with “not all men” when she speaks on how misogyny has affected her.

The time to stop deflecting and stop projecting White fragility and inadequacies onto Black, Indigenous, and other People of Colour is long past due.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Educate Yourself

Access to resources on this topic is literally at your fingertips. No longer can anyone say “oh, I didn’t know” — because if you don’t know not only are there hundreds of Black anti-racism educators on most every social media platform, google can point you in the right direction and to say most Americans have smartphones with some sort of google application would be an understatement. However, it doesn’t, shouldn’t, and cannot stop there.

Almost every book available can be found in audiobook format, for those who aren’t big readers or whose literacy is less than proficient. Below is a list of titles written by Black authors, that have been recommended to me.

Read Now

“The truth is, white rage has undermined democracy, warped the Constitution, weakened the nation’s ability to compete economically, squandered billions of dollars on baseless incarceration, rendered an entire region sick, poor, and woefully undereducated, and left cities nothing less than decimated. All this havoc has been wreaked simply because African Americans wanted to work, get an education, live in decent communities, raise their families, and vote. Because they were unwilling to take no for an answer.”
Carol Anderson, White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

Read Now

“As citizens in this democracy, we — all of us, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and others — bear a collective responsibility to enforce our Constitution and to rectify past violations whose effects endure. Few of us may be the direct descendants of those who perpetuated a segregated system or those who were its most exploited victims. African Americans cannot await rectification of past wrongs as a gift, and white Americans collectively do not owe it to African Americans to rectify them. We, all of us, owe this to ourselves. As American citizens, whatever routes we or our particular ancestors took to get to this point, we’re all in this together now.”
Richard Rothstein, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Read Now

The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

Read Now

“Disadvantaged white people are not erased by discussions of disadvantages facing people of color, just as brain cancer is not erased by talking about breast cancer. They are two different issues with two different treatments, and they require two different conversations.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

Read Now

“Everyone is familiar with the slogan “The personal is political” — not only that what we experience on a personal level has profound political implications, but that our interior lives, our emotional lives are very much informed by ideology. We oftentimes do the work of the state in and through our interior lives. What we often assume belongs most intimately to ourselves and to our emotional life has been produced elsewhere and has been recruited to do the work of racism and repression.”
Angela Y. Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle

It’s a Journey, Not a Destination

It should go without saying, but I digress. The work of becoming anti-racist is not something that happens overnight, and it most definitely never ends. Working against White Supremacy and cultivating healthly relationships with ourselves and those around us cannot be achieved by reading one book — as seems to be the trending assumption with most White people who have read White Fragility. If you honestly believe that reading one book, written by a White woman no less, is all you have to do to combat the racial divide you didn’t actually learn anything. Even Robin DiAngelo emphasizes how crucial it is to lift, listen to, and learn from Black anti-racism educators.

No one is saying your feelings don’t matter nor that they won’t be hurt, and no one is saying that every piece of information is relevant to where you are in your own journey. What they are saying is that the lesson is available to everyone, and if the lesson isn’t for you move on — preferably do so quietly. Tossing your voice into the mix of “not all White people” and “all lives matter” only adds to the noise, and prevents you from learning what is meant for you. When you find yourself feeling slighted, misunderstood, or wronged explore those big emotions internally through introspection — journal it, and give it time to rest. Big emotions can be difficult to process, but lashing out and spewing word vomit on the piles of shit and garbage other fragile and offended White people throw around doesn’t benefit anyone. It doesn’t benefit you, and it certainly doesn’t benefit Black, Indigenous, and other People of Colour. Growth is uncomfortable, it’s messy, and it takes time.

Stay well, and grow in peace.

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