As our listeners are surely aware, recent high-profile cases of racist violence against Black individuals, including the killing of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, have sparked nationwide grassroots protests against racism and police violence. The police have responded to these protests with brute force.
We at Pan-Optic are not authorities on how to fight racism, but we want to state our condemnation of these acts and support for those protesting against institutionalized racism in the United States.
There are many ways to support the Black community and stand against institutionalized racism. For those of us with financial privilege, directing financial resources to reputable anti-racist protestors is one of the best ways to promote meaningful change. Said protesters are most equipped to influence public and policy discourses, and advance our collective striving for a more just society.
Pan-Optic has donated $350 to Black Vision Collective and Campaign Zero. If you have the means, we implore you (Pan-Optic listeners) to donate what you can. For a list of credible anti-racist organizations, please see the following Stanford University “Take Action Against Anti-Blackness” Resource Guide: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1neDeBqJrBZ-EAofpA0xvcwuHtaB4k4628-uu8L4E7Tk/edit#.
Many of us are financially limited due to under- / un-employment compounded by COVID. But there are other immediately applicable ways for us to ally with the Black community:
Decenter Yourself – Avoid taking personal offense to critical views of whiteness and privilege. This criticism is an opportunity to practice empathy and reflect on why we still have systemic inequity in a supposedly modern liberal democratic society.
Actively Listen – Active listening means listening to learn, rather than listening to form your response. Additionally, the “Black community” is not a monolith. Black people are individuals with different opinions and ways of coping with pain. Learn by actively listening to ALL Black perspectives.
Educate Yourself – When we ask our Black counterparts to “educate us,” we risk causing them to re-live trauma. At best, this is a form of privileged laziness. Alternatively, consult Google first. Do the hard work of educating yourself before asking your Black counterparts to do the hard work for you.
Make Mistakes and Accept Criticism – Taking a stand when people are polarized is scary. But not taking a stand can do more harm than good. So accept some personal risk and take a stand. Do your best. If you make a mistake, accept the criticism and do better next time.
Be Willing to Engage in Challenging Conversations – We cannot affect meaningful change if we do not engage with problematic perspectives. Pick your battles wisely. Challenge problematic perspectives where you are likely to make an impact. Make informed arguments and apply principles of strategic communication to influence hearts and minds. (Suggested listening: Pan-Optic Episode 5 – “What is Strategic Communication?”)
Once again, we urge you to make use of the resources made available by reputable anti-racist organizations, and to support these organizations however you can.