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Anti-Racism Resources: Introduction

A guide to understanding racism and supporting people of color.

Kern Community College District Board Policy 7D2 Unlawful Discrimination

All forms of discrimination and harassment are contrary to basic standards of conduct between individuals and are prohibited by state and federal law, as well as this policy, and will not be tolerated. The District is committed to providing an academic and work environment that respects the dignity of individuals and groups. The District shall be free of sexual harassment and all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation. It shall also be free of other unlawful discrimination, including that which is based on any of the following statuses: national origin, religion, age, sex (gender), race, color, medical condition, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, or because he or she is perceived to have one or more of the foregoing characteristics.

Systemic Racism Explained

Being a Successful Ally

  1. Acknowledge your own privilege. White people in the United States are accorded an advantage by virtue of their skin color. Rather than defend it or apologize for it, acknowledge that advantage. Learn about it, become more conscious of its impact so you can educate others in your position.
  2. Listen to (or read) and amplify the narratives of people of color. White people are more predominately reflected in the media. Make a point of seeking out and consuming the media that represents marginalized people to better understand their experience.
  3. Start conversations and take the burden of education off people of color. It is not the burden of the oppressed to always be the ones to start conversations about oppression. Be willing to start those conversations and keep them moving.
  4. Be cognizant of how much space you're taking up: know when to show up, and when to make space for people of color. It’s not about you. Be informed and supportive. Ask how you can help before you automatically assume a leadership role.
  5. Be receptive when you’re being held accountable. Try not to become defensive if you are called out about something you have done or said that has been interpreted as offensive. The person drawing attention to your words or actions is seeking your solidarity not trying to hurt your feelings .
  6. Respect safe spaces, even if you're "legally" allowed to enter them. Marginalized people need these spaces to speak freely without fear of being challenged. There are better places for your discussions. You can be more helpful by ensuring safe access to all educational spaces for students of color.
  7. Understand the relationships between different forms of oppression. Systems within our society present barriers for multiple marginalized population groups. Understand that there are different kinds of oppression and to show solidarity to all of those who are seeking to overcome it.
  8. Avoid "playing devil's advocate" or underestimating the impact of structural violence. Sometimes people take this stance in order to criticize the actions of people of color, and this only reinforces the status quo.
  9. Complicate your understanding of "free speech." Using the “free speech” to defend racist discourse is offensive. Dialogue is only useful as long as it does not interfere with implementing positive change.

Institutional Racism

"Institutional racism is the process by which racial oppression is imposed on subordinate racial groups by dominant racial groups through institutional channels. While individuals carry out single acts of discrimination, societal institutions are the primary settings where patterns of racial discrimination are established and perpetuated toward subordinate peoples."

5 Tips for Being an Ally

Dealing with Racist People

  1. React calmly. Convey your disapproval without acting defensively or letting the offender push your buttons. 
  2. Be kind. Reacting to unkindness with kindness is more likely to result in positive change. 
  3. React towards the issue, not the person. People are more offended at being called a racist than having attention drawn to their racist acts.
  4. Be the first to call the police. Rather than retaliate to harassment, report the initial offense
  5. Document abuse. Gather evidence and let the offender know you have it.
  6. Don’t follow your initial emotional response. Control your anger, hang on to your calm, and assume the role of educator.
  7. Don’t reveal personal details. This just gives the offender information to use against you.
  8. Don’t react at all. Sometimes it's more effective to simply deprive the offender of the attention they were seeking.
  9. Don’t try to educate. Don’t turn the confrontation into a debate unless you feel the offender is receptive to your message.
  10. Expose the racist act. If you are comfortable with a confrontation, point out the offensive behavior or speech to the offender.