What You Did Was Racist

Via: Jump Off The Bridge

I think that this video makes an excellent point.  The language that we use to call out racism can be just as important as  the racist act or symbol itself.  If the purpose of the conversation is to let someone know that their deeds, or language was racist, calling them a racist may actually be counter productive to your goal.  If we take the time to focus on the specifics of the action, or language then this forces them to deal with the issue at hand.

When he pointed out  that when celebrities are called out for racist behaviour their first point of defense is to provide character witnesses who are  quick to claim that the individual in question is not a racist, it struck a resounding bell with me.  Suddenly whether or not the person in question is a racist becomes the focus of the conversation, rather than the behaviour or language that was problematic in the first place.

As a committed anti-racist, language is very important to me, and I believe that this video can point the way on how to engage effectively as an anti-racist.  The point of calling someone out is getting them to acknowledge that their speech or behaviour was problematic, and if we immediately put them on the defensive, the tone of the conversation will be corrupted, and despite our best intentions nothing will be gained from the engagement.  It is important that when we engage with others that we do so critically while making sure that the conversation remains on point.  Racism ends one productive conversation at a time.

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