FAQ

The Anti-Racist Social Club is here to help you become an anti-racist and ally! We've got some great original content for your viewing pleasure as well as answers to your most burning questions. If you don't see what you need, give us a shout via email or the chat box at the bottom of the page and we'll get you sorted.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Terminology

What is White privilege and White supremacy?


White privilege describes ways in which White people benefit far beyond what is commonly experienced by people of colour existing within the same social, political, and economic circumstances. Think of it as "an invisible package of unearned assets," as Peggy McIntosh puts it. White privilege can manifest itself in both overt and covert ways, often through presumed social status and the ability to exist freely in any space. A result of colonialism and slavery, White privilege impacts everything from healthcare to education to criminal justice to politics to military policy to climate change.
Let's be clear – if you are White, you have White privilege. It doesn’t mean you haven’t struggled in your life, though. It means you haven’t struggled because of the colour of your skin. White supremacy is the system that protects White privilege. Often understood in the context of radical expression such as that of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), white supremacy is much more mainstream than that. For example, political voting solely on the basis of economic issues is a form of White Supremacy. A focus on economic issues when discussing politics often disadvantages those on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, who tend to be people of colour. Although not as radical as lynching, how we vote and spend money can just as easily continue the effects of White supremacy in our world.




What are microaggressions?


Microaggressions are any statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority. Think of them like subtle acts of exclusion. We've got a great video that talks about them in more depth, but suffice it to say that microaggressions are everywhere and it's important to focus on their impact, not your intention.




What is White fragility?


White fragility describes feelings of discomfort, anger, resentment, stress, or guilt experienced when discussing race and White privilege. White people aren’t used to being defined by their race, so even hearing the term “White” creates discomfort. This discomfort often leads to defensive behavior, or silence and inaction, which prevents deeper learning and contributes to the proliferation of racism and ignorance.




What does anti-racism actually mean?


Anti-racist: The policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting racial tolerance; constantly challenging racism, not allowing yourself to be a bystander Racism: showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another




Why is person of colour a problematic term?


A person of colour is defined as a person who is not White or of European parentage. So, in essence, most of the world is a "person of colour". The term is more problematic than it is offensive. Grouping dissimilar people together simply by the fact they are not White reinforces a eurocentric worldview and invalidates the unique identities of individual racial and ethnic groups. Early usage of the term dates back to slave documents; in contemporary use, the term reduces one’s identity to a colour. It's also problematic for White people as well because it strips them of their history and culture. And technically, given the size of Asia, the majority of the world is a person of colour. I guess that makes White people the minority after all? That was a joke. Although problematic, you will see this term used throughout our website. In order to fight ignorance, we have to start with conventional wisdom, the status quo. So because this is a term most of us are used to, we'll use it to kick off the conversation.




What do "systemic" and "institutionalised" mean in the context of racism?


On their own, systemic and institutionalised describe the impact of something on the whole – be it a system like the human body or like a government. So when we talk about systemic racism and institutionalised racism, we're talking about White supremacy. It means that racism is embedded as normal within society and the institutions that govern it. It disproportionately impacts people of colour in negative ways in the criminal justice system, employment and wealth distribution, housing, healthcare, education – pretty much everything. It means that racism is woven into societal norms and official policies designed to oppress people of colour, and often in ways we don't even realise. Check out our videos at the top of this page to see just how deep racism runs in society.




What is eurocentrism and whitewashing?


Eurocentrism describes a worldview which implicitly and explicitly favours Western history, values, and culture as normal and superior to non-Western civilisations. This includes Europe as well as countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others where White people form the majority. This world-view manifests itself in the development of school curriculum, in how beauty standards are formed, and in more obvious ways such as the designation of non-English films as "foreign" or discrimination. These manifestations are often described as the whitewashing of something (e.g. history).




What is code switching?


Code switching occurs when a person alternates between multiple languages/ways of speaking or cultural means of expression. In the context of anti-racism, code switching describes the tendency of Black people and other people of colour to adjust their behaviour to assimilate to their current environment. Code switching is not a skill to be envied. This phenomenon is often instinctual, unintentional, and can create cognitive dissonance within people of colour. Talking a certain way to be understood, wearing a certain type of clothing to be included, not wearing hair a particular way to be accepted in the workplace or school setting – these are all examples of code switching, which has damaging and lasting effects on identity.




Do I say Black people, African-American, people of color, BAME, or something else?


All of these terms are problematic. And yet in some form or fashion they're all "okay" in the right context. First, let's discuss why they're problematic. For one, they're fairly reductive and generalised. Not every Black person is the same beautiful shade of melanin, just like not every African-American actually identifies with their stolen African ancestry. Grouping all people who aren't White into a certain group based on their skin colour and giving it an acronym is just as troubling. So what should you say? Well, it's more important what context you're in than the particular word you use. If the phrase "the Blacks" comes out of your mouth...yea, just don't. But unfortunately these problematic terms are how we have defined ourselves for centuries, so it'll be tough to retire them. When all else fails, just say Black. If you're concerned if it's offensive or not, that could be because of White fragility or a misconception that being Black is something to be ashamed of. But refusing to wrestle with the uncomfortable nature of speaking about race is not the solution. Don't avoid talking about someone's racial identity because that does more harm than good. Just ask them how they identify and follow suit.





General

What is The Anti-Racist Social Club (ARSC)?


We work to create spaces and resources for open dialogue with White people and non-Black POC about becoming anti-racist. This is a safe space to ask questions and engage with difficult topics, in fun and engaging ways. Throughout our website and Instagram you'll find book/podcast/movie recommendations, petitions to sign, resources for parents, organisations to donate to, Black-owned businesses to support, a book club, events, corporate trainings, and original filmed content to help you become an ally. ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻✊




I want to be an ally, but where do I even start!?


That largely depends on where you see yourself on this mental model from Dr. Andrew M. Ibrahim. If you're in the Fear Zone, I'd recommend our original content (videos above) and starting a conversation with a Black person to learn more about their lived experience. For those of us in the Learning Zone, I'd recommend visiting our Curated Recommendations to see our top picks for books, movies, and podcasts to help you understand the problems Black people face in more depth. If you're in the Growth Zone, yay you did it! But the work is far from over. Now that you're able to educate your peers and promote anti-racism, you can share our resources with those in your network, keep learning through our full catalogue of resources, sign petitions, donate, contact your politicians, and participate in events that further your understanding of your role in being an ally. You can also ask your place of work to host an anti-racism workshop – check out the Workshops page for more information. There's something we can all do – even today – in the fight for racial equality. If you're still not sure where to start, give us a shout in the chat box below and we'll get you going in the right direction.




I don't have discretionary income, but still want to support the movement. How can I?


Although donating monthly to an organisation fighting for racial equality is one of the best ways to support the movement, there are plenty of other ways to be an ally. Education is the only way to fight ignorance, so make sure you're equipped with the right information to have the necessary conversations with those in your life. You can also protest, sign petitions, and share resources on your social media platforms. Another way to contribute is through volunteering. Our organisation is always looking for support, so reach out if you're interested in sharing your skills with our community.




How can I make my organisation more anti-racist?


Promoting anti-racism in your workplace or organisations can be tricky, but we offer workshops to engage your professional networks in fun ways. Check out our Workshops page for more information.




Are you affiliated with the Black Lives Matter organisation?


Here at ARSC, we firmly believe that Black lives matter. That means all of our work focuses on promoting anti-racism and allyship with Black communities. When we use #BlackLivesMatter, we are usually referring to the broader movement, and not the specific organisation that exists. Though we agree with many of the tenets of the Black Lives Matter organisation, we are our own entity and are not officially affiliated with any other organisations.




Is it too early to start educating my children about racism?


Not. At. All. Early childhood development research shows that even babies notice differences in skin colour. So it's important that from a young age we aren't avoiding conversations about the realities of the world in order to "protect" our children. It does a disservice to them when we hide from these difficult topics and makes us complicit in the continuation of the legacy of racism in our world.




Is this club only for White people?


While the content we curate and produce is targeted towards White people and non-Black people of colour, this club is open to everyone. There is something here for everyone, regardless of your race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexuality, marital status, faith, level of income, political affiliation, or disability status.

We all have a role to play in promoting racial equality and this club will hopefully provide information that not only benefits you, but also your personal and professional networks.





Burning Questions

Why can't I say the "N-word"?


Well you can. But you probably shouldn't. And by probably, we mean definitely. Nigger is an ethnic slur directed towards Black people. Regardless of its history and regardless of who in your life is Black, if you are not Black you shouldn't use the term. Nigga, a variant of the term, is just as problematic. The spelling and pronunciation of this abbreviation reflects the pronunciation of nigger in certain non-rhotic dialects of English, like that of UK English. Some argue that music is an exception and claim that if an artist puts the word in their song, they should expect it to be said. This is not an exception. Black artists should not have to alter their creative expression and desire to take back the term, just to accomodate White fragility (see definition above).

When this issue arises, we challenge you to think why you want to say the word. If it's because you feel you have a right to, it's highly possible you have a eurocentric worldview. So when in doubt, just don't say it. It's pretty simple when you think about.




Why are we focusing on only Black people when other groups experience racism as well?


Let's say for example that you donate to a breast cancer charity. What if someone then accused you of not supporting other types of cancer research? Or let's say there's a global pandemic and the government prioritises research and testing for COVID-19. Are they saying that HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and other terrible diseases aren't important? That's basically the equivalent of "All Lives Matter". The statement in and of itself is accurate. The truth is, however, that all lives can't matter until Black lives do too. Yes, several marginalised groups face racism throughout the world. But if you emphasise everything, you emphasize nothing. So our focus is on the group of people research supports has been most impacted by institutionalised and systemic racism throughout history and across geographies. It's also important to note that no one was saying "All Lives Matter" until people started saying "Black Lives Matter". This suggests that #ALM is more of a way to maintain the status quo and is a result of White fragility, as opposed to a genuine interest in promoting equality for all. That being said, much of the information you'll find on this website relates to the experiences of indigenous peoples and other people of colour.




Is posting on social media performative?


Depends who you ask! But in reality, it shouldn't matter. Sharing resources with your personal and professional networks via social media is a great way to educate others and fight ignorance. But just make sure it's not the only thing you do. Contact your politicians, sign petitions, donate monthly, protest, learn, LISTEN, and amplify the voices of Black people. And if you see something on social that isn't accurate or is problematic, speak up about it! For tips on having difficult conversations, check out our original content at the top of this page.




Why are protests violent?


The truth is, most aren't. But that doesn't get news ratings, does it? Take this quote from President John F. Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable". We like this quote because the focus is on the problem, not the symptom. Violent protests, although not ideal, are just a symptom of an oppressed people trying to fight for their lives. But if you're more concerned about a burning building, and not the reason behind the protest, that could be a sign of your privilege. It's okay to be opposed to violence, but that should be coupled with an opposition to all forms of oppression that cause harm – and that includes racism. We shouldn't focus on the right or wrong ways to protest – what's important to focus on is why we protest and what problems we are trying to fix.




Why are so many Black people anti-police?


Think of it less like they're anti-police and more like they're fearful of police. Does that change your perspective? Young Black people are seeing themselves killed by the very people meant to protect and serve them at disproportionately higher rates than any other group. So it's important to realise this before accusing Black people of being anti-police. Are their good cops? Sure. But that doesn't mean there aren't bad cops that need to be rooted out. Historically, police forces have proven to be racially biased. So what can you do instead of calling the police on a Black person? First, ask yourself if you or someone is actually in danger. Then ask yourself if it's possible that implicit bias is causing you to misinterpret the situation. Then ask yourself if there are other resources available to help with that particular issue (e.g. mental health organisations, etc.). It's important to review our own motivations and biases when deciding whether or not to engage police and other legal measures against Black people.




Why do we have policies like affirmative action, isn't that just reverse racism?


Racism requires power and authority. So although it may feel that diversity initiatives like affirmative action are discriminating against Whte people, they're not. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that White people suffer from diversity initiatives and claims of reverse racism ignore the fact that Black people and other minorities lack the power structures to actually oppress White people. We should not view equality as a zero-sum game. We all benefit when equality exists. It's important to recognise our privilege and weaponise it to bring about opportunities for those less fortunate than us.





The Anti-Racism Social Club
The Anti-Racism Social Club
The Anti-Racism Social Club
The Anti-Racism Social Club