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Arts & Life

What can white people do about racism in America?

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Courtesy of Wayne State University
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What can white people do about racism in America?

We asked that question to people walking around Ann Arbor and Northville today. Here’s what they said:

Tawana Petty and Dessa Cosma of the Detroit Equity Action Lab joined Stateside today to discuss some of the ways white people can become part of the struggle for racial justice in America.

Cosma said she thinks white people should ask themselves daily what they can do to stop racism. A starting point, she said, is to learn as much as possible about the history of race is the United States.

“It’s really important for me to reflect on what being white means and to remember that my position as a white person grants me certain unearned privileges throughout my daily life that are really easy to take for granted as a white person,” Cosma said, “but that people of color don’t take for granted because they see that they’re not being afforded the same opportunity.”

She said white people should observe how their position of privilege plays out in daily life, and should “build strong relationships with people of color, and take their direction in how to solve issues of racial injustice in the United States.”

As a woman of color, Petty said one of her concerns is that well-meaning white people think organizing against racism happens within communities of color.

“I feel that there are too many white well-meaning people running from racial conversations within the white community,” she said, “and so then that creates a dynamic where people of color – black people predominantly – are running from racial violence.”

Listen to the full conversation above.

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