Language is not just a form of communication, it is a vehicle for expressing and spreading ideas.
During this era of social change for racial equality and justice, a part of the work we need to do is to examine the ideas and phenomenons that contribute to perpetuating false and harmful racial narratives about Black people and other minorities.
The work to abolish stereotypes and myths, and to expose damaging practices that marginalize and disenfranchise BIPOC will be long and difficult. I will keep adding to this list as I go forward and learn.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list.
In no particular order:
To refuse (a loan or insurance) to someone because they live in an area deemed to be a poor financial risk.
This tactic has been applied to minorities and BIPOC for decades and has heavily contributed to the racial economic disparity in America:
"The FHA adopted the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation’s rating system—known as redlining—around certain areas deemed risky and therefore where lenders would not extend loans. Redlining forced black families into higher-rate loans—if they could get them in the first place—which required them to live in certain areas within the community and in many instances prevented them from acquiring a home at all. It wasn’t until 1968, with the passage of the Fair Housing Act, that redlining was made illegal."
"Gaslighting, an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings."
Applied to conversations about racism, this tactic aims to undermine the idea that racial inequality exists, or to suggest that it is less serious and damaging as it actually is.
See examples HERE.
Collective trauma and mental health issues among the Black community pertaining to the historical and generational oppression and mistreatment of BIPOC in America; general feelings of anger, fatigue, fear, mistrust, pessimism, grief, and pain.
See also: The Talk and Black Parenting Tips.
A gentle reminder to allies: When working for the movement and trying to reassure your Black friends of your support, try to avoid bringing up violence and death just for the sake of it, as it unnecessarily adds to their burden. Acknowledge the victims of racially motivated brutality in a respectful way that preserves their dignity. Focus on celebrating Black Excellence and Black achievement instead, and on elevating and amplifying Black voices and ideas.
In film -- casting white actors in roles of non-white characters, while often the portrayals are caricatured and stereotyped; overlooking works by Black directors and writers, casting Black actors in secondary and supporting roles solely as a vehicle for accentuating the importance of the white main character.
See also: blackface/yellowface, #oscarssowhite, Scarlett Johansson.
In History -- the reduction of history in academic curriculums to the contribution and achievement of white figures as main characters; the censorship or deletion of events that put the white characters in an unfavorable light, the emphasis on colonialism as a vehicle for progress while omitting the negative effects on Indigenous and Black People, romanticizing of the past by excluding the injustices towards BIPOC.
See also: Confederate Flag and Statues, Columbus Day, Black History Month.
When it comes to being informed and educated about the past, it is prudent to forget everything we've learned so far about American history and learning it anew without all the inconsistencies and indoctrination tactics we've been taught, and focusing on the cross-section between race and politics, economics, and social science.
See also: Black Wall Street, Black Inventors and Scientists, Black Literature, the Eve Gene (misnomer).
BLACK MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY CRISIS--
"Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women – and this disparity increases with age, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
Most pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths have persisted over time." (From CDC)
Black women are more likely to be subjected to discrimination in the medical field, and their concerns and symptoms are often disbelieved and ignored. This is a holdover from the days of Slavery when bogus and malicious narratives about the way Black people feel pain were created in order to justify the abuse and cruelty inflicted upon them.
The unfounded idea that Black girls (and children in general) "grow up faster", are tougher and more mature than white girls and children, and that they are inherently less innocent and fragile -- therefore in less need of protecting and nurturing.
The idea that the only way for Black people to achieve equality and freedom is to have a white person aiding or leading their fight, thus validating their worth and justifying their means. It perpetuates the myth that Black people are not in charge of their own narrative and not in control of the liberation process.
See also: Hidden Figures, The Help, The Blind Side, The Green Book.
: a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority).
Telling a Black or a Person of Color that they "act or look white", asking people "where are they REALLY from", touching Black hair, using Black slang inappropriately just to appear "cool", complimenting non-white people on their English, etc.
"Oftentimes people of color are asked to educate white people on issues that the person of color has lived with and thought about for their entire lives. That can be very psychologically and emotionally exhausting for a person to then have to care about the white person's feelings and to take those extra efforts so that they can learn something that they should have — and could have — learned throughout the duration of their life."
See also: Tokenism, Backhanded compliment, Accidental Racism, Willful Ignorance.
Related: MASKING and MIRRORING result from racial microaggressions; a heavy and painful psychological toll on BIPOC caused by the pressure to conform and fit in a predominantly white-centric society in order to succeed, or even just survive.
"White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium."
See also: White privilege.
A much more detailed Racial Glossary HERE.
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