If you live within a racist system, then you participate in the racism of that system unless you consciously do something to change your point of view. Living in the rural Northwest, I cross paths with very few people of color and yet I encounter racist thinking on a daily basis. I see enraging memes go by on my Facebook feed. I hear assumptions about [white] cops being right – cuz, you know, they’re cops.

What do you do to combat this kind of ignorance?

For Colored Nerds has an excellent podcast episode called Dear White People on this topic. To paraphrase very roughly: start the conversation with whomever you’re around. Chances are you run in circles that include a myriad of humans, from the delightfully lit to the painfully ignorant. You are in a unique position to expand the thinking of the people around you who have not been motivated or privileged  enough to learn a truer way. 

Want to get lit but don’t know where to start? I compiled a list of resources that have expanded my own thinking on the subject of race in America.



  • Democracy Now interview with Marc Lamont Hill and Mychal Denzel Smith: Part 1 (58:59 mins) &  Part 2 (58:59 mins)



Cover photo: Pubic Lynching, August 30, 1930, Hulton Archive/Getty Images



4 thoughts on “How To Not Be A Racist Asshole

  1. Hello. I found your site via some site listing progressive or social justice blogs. I’ll reply here but will mention your other post as well.

    I read through two of the articles you gathered for us here. The one about the stages – quite something, but I guess I’ve noted a lot of the same things. The one about Emmitt Till and Tamir Rice by Isabel Wilkerson was really excellent. Such eerie parallels (and to think Tamir Rice was shot on 11/22 – I’d never noted that date before —- what a nefarious date for sure). Both pointed out how far we still have to go.

    I don’t know if it’s available of if you could help, but Is there a text of Sarah Ogutu’s poem? I write poetry and would love to read it; since my hearing is no longer the best, it’s sometimes extremely hard to understand a video online.

    Your other post (I did read your Bust essay) was also very good. Being mixed race, I have really had so many emotions since the election: shock, anger, fear/dread. I echo you on two counts: often the anger really coming from fear. And the rhetoric and emboldened actions of hate since the election certainly haven’t allayed that (one this *****’s latest tweets was wanting to criminalize flag burning). The other is that anger is often born of caring. We do care – about those often marginalized, about civil liberties, about the environment. We see them threatened and yes, I believe at least some righteous anger is appropriate.

    Whew. Hope I didn’t wear you out.


    1. Hi Stella, thanks for your comment! I like what you said about anger being born of different places – fear or caring. So true. I’ll look for the transcript to Sarah’s poem and get back to you on that.


  2. Thanks much for reading my comment and responding. And I appreciate you being willing to check for a transcript of Sarah O’s. poem. I really would love to read it. Just HAVE to support fellow poets and writers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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