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    'Not racist' isn't enough: A guide to being anti-racist for college students

    Jasmine Edmonson

    Discourse about racism isn’t comfortable, but the perpetuation and prevalence of police brutality towards Blacks are encouraging individuals to push the agenda of dismantling systemic racism. The most effective mindset White and non-Black people of color can obtain to deconstruct systemic racism is to become anti-racist. An anti-racist is an individual who opposes racism and promotes racial tolerance, according to New Oxford American Dictionary.

    The senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brook ignited outrage in people around the world. People are protesting, signing petitions, writing letters to their local officials and donating to well-known and grass-root organizations that help fight injustices in the Black community. Many statues of men who glorified racism are being legally removed. New legislation is passing that supports police reform and anti-discrimination toward Blacks. Most U.S. states marked Juneteenth, a day that commemorates the official end of slavery, a state holiday. Social media influencers are using their platforms to amplify the voices of Black activists. White and non-Black people of color are promoting Black-owned businesses and Black creators.  

    Although the deaths of Floyd, Taylor, Arbery and Brooks is resulting in progress of justice for the Black community, it’s not enough. The desire to dismantle systemic racism must not become a reoccurring trend but an intrinsic value. Education and persistently being anti-racist is the ideal way to deconstruct a system that begin by legally enslaving Blacks for 400 years.  Here’s how college students can strive towards being anti-racist to help achieve the long-term goal of permanent equality and justice for the Black community.

    Engage in Critically-Acclaimed Books, Podcasts and Films 

    It’s essential that White and non-Black people of color engage in credible literary resources to understand the creation of systemic racism and its effects. This invaluable step gives individuals the opportunity to learn about White privilege and its catalyzation of Black oppression, recognize their unconscious biases and microaggressions toward Blacks and the derivations, acknowledge that the minority model is a myth and educate children, family, and friends on systemic racism. 


    “How to be Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi, “Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America” by Jennifer Harvey, “White Fragility” by Robin Diangelo, “Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge, “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander and children’s book “Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness” by Anastasia Higginbotham are great reads to start off with about systemic racism. 


    1619’s “The Fight for a True Democracy,” Throughline’s “American Police,” United States of Anxiety’s “40 Acres in Mississippi,” Pod Save the People’s “Justice for Ahmaud Arbery” and Floodline’s “Antediluvian” are important episodes to listen to first from podcasts about Black oppression in society. 


    “13th,” “I am Not Your Negro” “Selma” “When They See Us” and “The Hate U Give,” are remarkable films that discuss anti-Blackness, racial disparity and the inspiration behind the Black power movement. 

    Solidify Your Political Activism 

    Racism is a global human rights issue, but anti-racists must be politically involved in their local community to create long-lasting change. It’s important to become educated on the policies of local elected officials and candidates to know if their morals and ethics support the Black community. Voting is the greatest tool anti-racist citizens can use to elect local officials who are anti-racist. This prevents policy makers, who create policies that help perpetuate systemic racism, from being in positions of power. Anti-racists should make sure some of their votes go toward Black candidates or Black students in government, if they are a college student, which helps amplify Black voices. Sites such as tells eligible individuals if they’re registered to vote and walks them through an easy registration process if they aren’t. 

    Constant engagement with grass-root organizations that fight anti-Blackness allows anti-racists to learn more about specific injustices toward Blacks in their local community and effective strategies to solve them. Anti-racist should make consistent donations to well-known and local organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement and sign petitions that help dismantle systemic racism. Social media is a popular tool anti-racists can use to inform and educate their followers on social and political events occurring in their local community that support Blacks. 

    Be an Ally in Non-Black Spaces 

    The persistence and dedication of being anti-racist is usually tested when White and Non-Black people of color encounter spaces in which Blacks aren’t present. The most appreciative action that shows allyship for the Black community is standing up for them in spaces in which they’re not able to defend themselves. Anti-racists must maturely confront and accurately educate individuals who use racial slurs or language. During the confrontation, anti-racists should kindly invite the individual to attend a meeting at their organization that’s fighting anti-Blackness. College students can encourage others to enroll in at least one Black studies course to understand systemic racism, join clubs and organizations that genuinely celebrate multiculturalism and attend speeches by Black speakers. Anti-racists can recommend Black business in the local community to help combat stereotypes about the Black community and support the beauty of Black culture.  

    Dismantling systemic racism is a gradual process but continues to diminish many injustices toward the Black community. This global effect stems from the efforts made by anti-racists, including college students, who continue to educate themselves on systemic racism, actively listen to personal experiences within the Black community and hold themselves accountable for ending the perpetuation of Black oppression to create a fair and better life for Blacks from present and future generations.