Confronting Racism

 Glenn Bigonet, M.A.

Social Activist for Racial Equity

Facilitating Discussions about Racism

 

617-462-6642

gbigonet@icloud.com

           

 

Anti-Blackness

 

"When the color of your skin is seen as a weapon, you will never be seen as unarmed."

Sign carried by a Blick Lives Matter Activist

 

Anti-Blackness is the conscious and unconscious beliefs or thoughts that people of color in some way deserve their lower status in our society. Such beliefs may be that they are less intelligent, less motivated, less capable, more sexually agressive, less civilized, naturally criminal or corrupt in some way, etc. These thoughts/beliefs come right out of the white supremest playbook and although most people today would say they don't think those things are true they show up in their implicit biases or are rationalized as true because of the living conditions, lack of education, anger expressed as a result of racism, etc. The crazy thing here is that many of the bases that people use to support some aspect of anti-blackness has nothing to do with the color of their skin but a direct result of the racism they have suffered from.

  • Most blacks live in poorer neighborhoods because of red lining and banks being less willing to loan money to them at the same rates as whites as well as blacks having a harder time obtaining good jobs at the same pay because of thier race. 
  • Most blacks receive inferior educations because schools in black districts are grossly under funded
  • The school to prison pipeline creates a system where 1 out of 3 black men will go to prison in their lifetime; blacks are regularly looked at as having bad intentions leading them to be treated with greater consequences. This starts in preschool.
  • People of color naturally have a great amount of anger about how they've been mistreated but if they express it it proves that they are violent and scary.     

The circular nature of antiblackness and systemic racism is clear. This is why we need to examine our thoughts and our unconscious biases and root out those that are anti-black, anti-asian, anti-latinx or we will never be able to break this circular pattern. Layla Saad makes a strong point in this vein when she states "...anti-blackness is ugly. It hurts. And it is necessary to name it for what it is, for without naming it and confronting it face-to-face, all of this work remains an exercise in intellectuallizing and theorizing. Antiracism that does not break the heart open cannot move people toward meaningful change."(p.85)  

 

In discussing why she believes anti-blackness is still a part of our culture Robin DiAngelo states: "To put it bluntly I beleive that the white collective fundamentally hates blackness for what it reminds us of: that we are capable and guilty of perpetuation of immeasuable harm and that our gains come through the subjugation of others." For me, I experienced these words as really harsh but as I've thought about them more I interpret her words as: we can only have space for there to be any racism at all as long as we hold some hatred toward blacks. That makes a lot of sense to me.     

 

My Response to Anti-Blackness

 

There is something about this topic that is so emotionally charged that I didn't even acknowledge it as an important topic to cover until shortly before I published this website and even then I felt great resistence inside myself to address it at all. As I reflect on it I'm starting to see my resistance to seeing that anti-blackness could still be so prevalent in our society. I've been noticing some of the anti-black thinking that I have had in my head and never questioned. I find it interesting that it has been easier for me to label my old racist programming as racist than it is for me to label it as anti-black. For me, that triggers my version of the good/bad binary and definitely triggers my white fragility.  

Copyright © 2020   Glenn Bigonet, M.A.