Being Anglo in America is becoming an ever-more precarious identity, for good reason. The onus for change has shifted away from people of color as the “issue,” the “problem,” or the “perpetrators” and on to us. Especially the Anglo male. If you’re like me, the question “What am I supposed to do?” has gone from a faint murmur to a deafening clarion call. I’ve been asking the question all year.
And I found the answer. For me. Maybe for you, if you’re Anglo or think like one. It’s not a philosophy, a maxim, or some guiding principle. It’s a list. A list of action items. Specific ones. Things you can do that will educate, enlighten, confront, call you forth, and mainly get you actually doing something to make a difference.
It’s called “75 Things White People Can Do.” It was written by a Public Health worker in DC named Corinne Shutack and has been continually updated. The list is up to 103 things. Anyway, each item explains a specific action you can take. Some are simple and will only take 15 minutes. Others could take longer, or open you up to a whole trail of leads you won’t be able to turn down.
I don’t think this list is over-political. I’m sure some of my more conservative friends would disagree. At least I don’t think it is the intention of the author to draw you to a particular political party. I thought they were all fair. If perchance you feel like a particular item is too political or that it cuts across your core values, skip it. But be very careful about why you’re skipping it.
Most importantly, don’t get hung up on one or two items. I know for me the main thing is to keep going. I have a specific time each week where I spend at least half an hour on this list. Because dismantling racism has never been an event; it’s always been a process. So I’m making it a process in my life.
I have learned so much about racism by this weekly discipline. I had no idea how systemic racism is in America. I had no idea how naïve I was. It’s a humbling experience. But a good one.
I’m on #20. How long will it take? Something tells me that if I ever get to 75, or 103, or whatever they are up to by that time, I’ll be a different person. But that’s OK: it’s not finishing the list but continuing it that will make the difference.
If you choose to start this list yourself, let me know!
A statement from Ms. Shutack is HERE
The list is HERE
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