Not racist or Anti-Racist?

In recent years, the terms “not racist” and “anti-racist” have become increasingly prevalent in discussions about race and social justice. While both terms may appear to have similar meanings, there are significant differences between the two. Being “not racist” implies a passive stance that involves refraining from engaging in racist behavior or espousing racist beliefs. In contrast, actively anti-racist involves taking an intentional and consistent stance against racism and actively working to challenge and dismantle systemic racism.

To be “not racist” is to simply avoid being overtly racist. This may include avoiding using derogatory language, making derogatory comments or jokes, or discriminating against people based on their race. However, being “not racist” does not necessarily entail any proactive efforts to address or eliminate racism. People who identify as “not racist” may still benefit from a system that is inherently racist, and they may not take any steps to address this systemic issue.

On the other hand, actively anti-racist individuals are actively engaged in the work of challenging and dismantling racism in all its forms. They acknowledge that racism is not only a matter of individual attitudes or actions but is also deeply ingrained in the structures and systems of our society. They work to understand the ways in which racism operates and seek to interrupt these systems of oppression wherever possible. This can include advocating for policy changes, supporting anti-racist organizations, and educating others about the impacts of racism.

While being “not racist” may seem like a reasonable baseline for decent behavior, it is ultimately an insufficient response to the ongoing problem of racism. Racism is not just a matter of individual actions or beliefs, but a systemic problem that requires active, ongoing intervention. Simply avoiding overtly racist behavior does nothing to address the underlying structures and systems that perpetuate racism. In contrast, being actively anti-racist means working to dismantle these structures and actively challenging the ways in which they perpetuate inequality.

The difference between being “not racist” and actively anti-racist is a matter of intentionality and commitment. While being “not racist” may seem like a good starting point, it is ultimately an insufficient response to the ongoing problem of racism. Only by actively working to challenge and dismantle the structures of racism can we hope to create a truly just and equitable society.

3 thoughts on “Not racist or Anti-Racist?

    1. Absolutely. I think both are important. Sometimes when I hear white people say the word “Equality” it harkens back to the words in the Constitution “All men are created equal” but we know from history this wasn’t true. True equality includes equity in that it makes up for the inequalities of systemic and institutional racism as well as the historical nature of these inequities. I appreciate your comment and thank you for reading. I’m committed to being “Anti-racist.”


    2. Equality suggests that everyone is at a particular starting point and should be treated the same. It seeks to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same level of support. Equity, by way of contrast, aims to give everyone what they need to be successful. Because of the hundreds of years of inequitable treatment, saying “equality” alone doesn’t give Black Americans the reparations and restitution due.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s