All of a sudden, white supremacy is all over the news. Like the sleeping giant, it has been present all along – never actually asleep but lying low, at least where mainstream media is concerned. While the rise of neo-Nazis is alarming, a silver lining is that more white people feel compelled to take a stand against racism.
Over the last few months, white people have been showing up in record numbers to drown out the voices of hate in cities
and towns across the U.S. And yet…in my work with groups, people of color constantly ask: Why don’t white people challenge racism when they see it?
Most of us white people were never taught to challenge racism. More often than not, the messages we got growing up, if not outright racist, were to awkwardly ignore or silence any conversation about race. Even in my social justice conscious family, I was taught some about organizing but not about how to intervene in the moment. As adults, we are embarrassed to acknowledge that we don’t have a clue what to do. I don’t always get it right. However, I’d like to share here a few steps for taking up the challenge that I have learned from colleagues, friends, and experience.