Kenrya Rankin on her new book and actions for non-BIPOC’s to live by today and always.
– KEYS SOULCARE
Kenrya Rankin has been prompting necessary conversations for years — from appearing as a keynote speaker at the 2020 Mothering Justice Summit to talking about sex, culture, and activism for TV and print. In her own words: “I write books and articles that make people laugh and cry and scream… and expand themselves and their thinking around identity, race, parenting, health, and justice.”
We chatted with her about five ways white, non-BIPOC’s can embody anti-racism:
1. Don’t ask Black and other people of color to do emotional — or any other labor — for you
“No texting or DMs asking what you should do, what you should read, or where you should give money. We’re dealing with enough already, and we don’t need to have your shakiness on top of ours,” says Rankin. “As I like to say, ‘Google is the homie.’”
2. Be courageous
“Hold yourself and the white people around you accountable for the ways that you all are holding up the system of white supremacy, in whatever ways it applies to you. Thanksgiving is coming up, and I know a lot of folks like to talk about how tough it is to have those conversations during the holidays. But you shouldn’t wait until then. If you have an uncle who says likes to drop racist bombs in your family group chat, call him out for it in full view.
3. Look to support versus lead
“Gather your people and support ours,” says Rankin, who points to organizations such as S.U.R.J. (Showing Up for Racial Justice) as examples of white-led groups taking responsibility for finding anti-racist solutions within their own communities.
“One thing we’ve seen over the last few months of [intersectional] protesting are first hand accounts of white people who have just really woken up to the realities that [Black and Brown people] have been shouting about for decades and centuries,” says Rankin. “Those who have been doing this work for a long time take offense to it being taken over and re-centered around people it’s not about.”
4. Provide financial support to organizations and people who are dedicated to the liberation of Black people
According to Rankin, dismantling racism requires recognizing what unearned privileges have afforded us — and actively working to right unjust outcomes.
“I’m aware of my own privilege as a cisgender heterosexual female,” says Rankin. “There are people with more oppression on their shoulders than me. I give my money to organizations that are working to support the Black trans community, and if anyone were to ask me, specifically, I’d direct them there.
5. Teach your kids to be actively anti-racist — starting with not being “colorblind”
“How are we going to dismantle a system that oppresses me based on my color if you can’t admit that it exists?” asked Rankin. “If you can’t see colors, then you can’t see me.”
Finally, Rankin emphasizes that living an anti-racist life is based upon ongoing action that’s accessible to every one of us.
Says Rankin, “My hope is for people to read the book and either see themselves on the page, or see the person that they want to be, and then find their own ways to be actively anti-racist every day.”
How are you putting a more just world into action right now? Share what — and who — is inspiring you in the comments.