The Counseling Center recognizes that Loyola University Maryland is a predominantly white institution within the context of Baltimore, Maryland which has a history steeped in structural racism and racial injustice towards Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), especially Black and African American individuals. We feel it is important to highlight the need for white individuals to take an anti-racist stand and hold each other accountable towards working to change the systems that impact the BIPOC community in oppressive ways.
White folks are not outside of race and their voices and perspectives on racism and antiracism are critical. All too often, white individuals have been a missing piece of the puzzle. Only engaging with People of Color’s perspectives reinforces the idea that white people are outside of race and that racism is not a white problem. While we must invest ourselves in understanding anti-racism, the foundation of our education must be rooted in the voices and perspectives of BIPOC communities.
Anti-racism is an active process of seeing and being in the world with the intention of working to identify, challenge, and change the values, structures and behaviors that perpetuate structural racism. This highlights the idea that racism occurs at all levels of society and manifests itself in both individual attitudes and behaviors as well as formal and unspoken policies and practices within institutions. In the absence of anti-racism, we (un)consciously uphold aspects of white supremacy, white-dominant culture, and unequitable institutions and societies.
White accountability within anti-racist work is the understanding that what one professes to value must be demonstrated in action, and the validity of that action is determined by People of Color. One must continually ask, “How effective are my actions toward anti-racism?” To answer this question, it’s important to check in and find out. One can do this by:
- directly asking People of Color with whom there are trusting relationships and who have agreed to offer me this feedback;
- talking to other white people who have an anti-racist framework;
- and reading the work of People of Color who have communicated what they want and need.
Ultimately, it is for People of Color to decide if one is actually behaving in anti-racist ways. When one finds that they are out of alignment, they need to do what is necessary and try to repair the situation. Being racist or anti-racist is not about who you are; it is about what you do.
Please consider the resources below for learning more about white accountability, promoting anti-racism, and engaging in allyship and advocacy.
Online Anti-racism Resources
Books on Anti-racism