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How can I learn more about racial discrimination and the struggles of the Black Community? (Video)

Hey, y’all. My name is Brittany Morris and I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Lead Clinician with Thriveworks in Chesapeake, VA. And today, I’m going to be answering your questions about how can I learn more about racial discrimination and the struggles of the black community.

So first, I just want to share a little bit about what racial discrimination is, which is basically the mistreatment of individuals based off the color of their skin or ethnic or racial origin, or the perceived assumption of these things. And finding ways to recognize where you can see this individually and with groups, but also systematically and the way that things are in the United States.

So one of the first things I think it’s important to know is it’s important to understand white privilege. So I know there’s a little bit of controversy around this, but understand that white privilege is not the same thing as being a privileged white and white privilege has nothing to do with socioeconomic status.

It’s important to know that with white privilege becomes a lot of opportunities that are available and assumptions made day to day, such as safety that the black community does not have the opportunity to feel because they’re not allowed. And as soon as you can understand that, then you can start to understand initially where the black community feels slighted and where things are different.

I think also it’s important to look at your unconscious biases. And I know we like to all think that we’re really good at being understanding and loving diversity, but we’ve all got them. So it’s important to look at how you move day to day and the assumptions that you make and how you engage with people and the things that come out of your mouth to look at where these biases are coming from and how you’re displaying them day to day.

Next, I think it’s important to research racism as a social construct in the United States. It’s definitely something that has been around here for a long time. And a lot of the older blatantly racist rhetoric is still woven within a lot of our systems in the United States. And because of this and the recent light being brought to things because of social media, the black community is able to outwardly express their feelings more about feeling oppressed and feeling taken advantage of by the system because of this social construct. So it’s important to do the research there.

Read. There’s a lot of books out about anti-racism and confronting your whiteness and the white privilege in general, to open up conversations about race. So you can Google, there’s tons and tons and tons of lists out. But there’s a few places to start. And so White Fragility is a great one, The Social Contract, and The New Jim Crow are a few good books to start with. But like I said, you can Google a bunch of lists to figure that out.

And I think just finding ways to be an ally. And so that’s going to take a little bit of looking at the organizations that you are a part of seeing how they allow diversity to flow through the company, how they manage new hires, how they’ve handled everything that’s going on and decide if they’re lining up with the views that you have.

Donate to organizations, do some research look at what’s happening locally, where the organizations that are coming up as well as nationally, see who you can learn from and what organizations you align yourself more with.

Have conversations with your friends and your family. When you’re hearing these polarized opinions or some of this racist rhetoric—confront them, talk to them, and figure out where this is coming from, and have those hard conversations in private, not just in public.

Be able to support your black leadership. If you have any in your company, talk to them, know what they’re trying to accomplish and see if you can get on board with being as supportive as possible with that. I think it’s also really important to know when to be silent. It’s great to have allies for that are white or that are other non-people of color, but the black community right now is really wanting to have their voice heard. And it’s important to respect that.

I think the last thing I want to leave you with is that just remember if you have black friends or other friends of color, it’s not their job to explain these things to you. Black people specifically, and other people of color are extremely tired. Don’t want to have these conversations over and over again because they’re dealing with it all the time every day. So try to be sensitive to that and do your research first before coming to them with some of these questions. I hope that helps and y’all have great day.

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Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is the Content Development Manager at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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