Becoming Less Racist: Lighting the Path to Anti-Racism
With Simran Jeet Singh
There are moments in history where societies reach breaking points, no longer able to ignore the ills that plague them. We are living in one of those moments currently, and it feels as exciting as it does scary. We have the opportunity to confront our errors and reform our structures, but we better get it right. Collective reckoning does not come around often.
Episode Nine with Jeff Yang and Phil YuRead the transcript for Episode Nine here
Since childhood, I have wondered what it would take for us to take racial justice seriously. I felt passionate about it because of my own frequent experiences of enduring racism. I would look at the Anti-Apartheid Movement and Civil Rights Movement with equal parts admiration and envy. If they could garner mass support and if they could confront racism head-on, then why couldn’t we?
My entire career has been devoted to convincing people that they should care more about equal rights and justice. It is rewarding work, but it is also disappointing and frustrating to see people pay lip-service to empty buzzwords—diversity, inclusion, equity— without following them up with action.
This is why it’s so refreshing and inspiring to witness the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping across the country and around the world. It feels like the moment we have been waiting for our entire lives. Millions of people are standing up and speaking up and showing up, risking their own safety for the cause of racial justice.
And what’s more, it’s not just one particular community. As I march through the streets and watch videos online, it’s clear that this might be the largest, most diverse movement the world has ever seen.
As grateful and heartened I am to see all this, I also feel an urge to deepen our collective understanding of racial justice. So many people are newly passionate about the cause – and they are welcomed with open arms – but we must also ensure that our movement is firmly planted. Self-education is critical.
This is the intervention of our new show, Becoming Less Racist: Lighting the Path to Anti-Racism. We believe that racial justice work is as much about inner excavation as it is about social activism. This show aims to facilitate both. In each episode, we will bring in an expert to speak about a particular aspect of racism, their own experiences with it, and what wisdom they can offer as we all seek to navigate these in our own lives and communities.
The show will be hosted on Religion News Service’s Facebook page every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.
During the first week of "Becoming Less Racist: Lighting the Path to Anti-Racism," we received many questions about the name of the series.
Host Simran Jeet Singh writes, "The title for the show is intentionally provocative. We wanted to start from the premise that we all have racist ideas embedded within us. If we can accept this idea collectively without feeling shame about it, then we can begin to honestly grapple with the racism all around us and inside of us too. We believe it should be our collective journey to become less racist, and that our end-point should be to become anti-racist."
July 10: Linda Sarsour
July 15: Arno Michaelis
July 17: Khyati Joshi
July 22: Jennifer Harvey