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“In a political era where we are bombarded daily with reports of racism and discrimination, it is easy to feel helpless and withdraw. Anneliese Singh’s workbook is a practical guide to actively engaging and participating in social justice on a personal and societal level. Singh draws on best practices, research, and advocacy to create pathways to restore hope in humanity and to create the self-efficacy needed to be a change agent. What a gift!” —Edward Delgado-Romero, PhD, associate dean for faculty and staff services, professor and licensed psychologist, College of Education, University of Georgia “Racism is America’s original sin. It is woven into the fabric of this country, and is an inextricable part of this nation’s history. Racism is psychologically and spiritually damaging, yet the sad reality is that in the current political climate racism has been emboldened. Anneliese Singh has given us a desperately needed gift in this racial healing workbook. For those who are social justice activists, or just people who want to understand themselves as racial beings, Singh’s workbook is a psychological guide and spiritual salve for facilitating our own racial healing. It is destined to become a classic!” —Kevin Cokley, PhD, Oscar and Annie Mauzy Regents Professor for educational research and development, professor in the department of educational psychology and African and African diaspora studies, and author of the book The Myth of Black Anti-Intellectualism “This is the book you’ve been waiting for, even if you didn’t know you were waiting for it! Anneliese Singh makes a racial healing path accessible, practical, and comprehensive for anyone willing to pursue it. This handbook is personal, straightforward, honest, and inviting, and honors the system of racism in all its complexity. It is the rare kind of book I can recommend to my family, my friends, my colleagues, my clients, and to myself. An important contribution to our individual and collective paths toward liberation!” —Jen Wil; lsea, MTS, Atlanta-based social justice and anti-racism facilitator, consultant, and coach “Race and healing? Not words you often see together! Yet Anneliese Singh has brought her gifts together as a healer, a scholar, a clinician, and an activist to weave a heartfelt and liberating book of hope. Whether you’re White, a person of color, or multiracial, Singh invites us all—through personal stories, reflection exercises, self-assessments, and an impressive integration of history and the social sciences—to engage in the lifelong practice of racial transformation for ourselves and our communities. This is a gift and a balm for the racial wounds we all carry!” —Alvin N. Alvarez, PhD, professor in the department of counseling and dean of the college of health and social sciences at San Francisco State University, and coeditor of The Cost of Racism for People of Color “Anneliese Singh’s The Racial Healing Handbook is a must-have resource for all educators and mental health workers, and for anyone interested in creating a more racially just world. Singh masterfully weaves together theory, empirical research, and narrative to inform her discussion of the key elements for racial healing for people of color and White individuals. Singh’s strength is her ability to translate research into developmentally appropriate, practical activities that will stimulate deep reflection and action. As such, she offers a nice balance of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral exploration. I can’t wait to use the handbook and practical exercises in my classes and my work with community members.” —Helen A. Neville, PhD, professor in the department of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; past president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race; and coeditor of The Myth of Racial Color Blindness and The Cost of Racism for People of Color Visit http://www.newharbinger.com/42709 for a downloadable clinician’s guide and a downloadable reading group guide for this book. Publisher’s Note This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. In consideration of evolving American English usage standards, and reflecting a commitment to equity for all genders, “they/them” is used in this book to denote singular persons. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books Copyright © 2019 by Anneliese A. Singh New Harbinger Publications, Inc. 5674 Shattuck Avenue Oakland, CA 94609 www.newharbinger.com The figure “Racial Identity Development” in chapter 1 is adapted from the work of Marla Rowe Gorosh and Kathy McGrail and John and Joy Hoffman. Reproduced by permission of Marla Rowe Gorosh and Kathy McGrail. “Examples of Racial Microaggressions” in chapter 6 is reproduced from “Table 1: Examples of Racial Microaggressions” (pp. 282–283) in Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A. M. B., Nadal, K. L., and Esquilin, M. (2007). “Racial microaggressions in everyday life: Implications for clinical practice.” American Psychologist, 62(4), 271–286. Cover design by Sara Christian; Interior design by Michele Waters-Kermes; Acquired by Ryan Buresh; Edited by Rona Bernstein All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file For my beloved, Lauren Lukkarila, who supports me in every step of my own racial healing journey. For Jasbir Singh, Diane Singh, and Ravi Singh—your courage is with me always. For Priyanka Sinha—you are my dearest friend, mirror, and anchor on this racial healing journey. To New Orleans and to India—you both taught me not only the brutal realities of racism, but also the pathways toward racial justice and healing. To my fellow Sikhs—may we cultivate chardi kala and sarbhat da bhala in building a more racially just world. Contents Contents Foreword Introduction Chapter 1: Know Your Racial Identity Chapter 2: Explore Your Internalized Racism Chapter 3: (Re)learn the History of Racism Chapter 4: Grieve and Name Racism Chapter 5: Raise Your Race Consciousness Chapter 6: Catch Yourself in the Flow of Racism Chapter 7: Understand Racism in Relationships Chapter 8: Reclaim Your Whole Racial Self Chapter 9: Be a Racial Ally Chapter 10: Engage in Collective Racial Healing Conclusion: Time to Dream—What Does a Racially Just World Look Like? Acknowledgments Afterword References Foreword Confession time: I was late—very, very late—turning in this foreword. As in, a few hours before the passing of the absolute final, final deadline late. And although I wouldn’t normally think my tardiness necessary to mention at the outset of someone else’s book, in this instance, the reason for it is entirely related to the subject matter of this important volume. To be specific, for most of December 2018, my family and I were the recipients of an onslaught of hateful phone calls, texts, and tweets from white supremacists who managed to find and release our cell phone numbers and address to the general public and to threaten harm not just to myself but also to my wife and two daughters. Long story short, after much effort, we have weathered the storm, turned over the harassers’ information to the proper authorities, and taken the necessary measures to protect ourselves from future threats. But the bigger question is about how we, as a society and a culture more broadly, can protect ourselves from the poison of white supremacy. Not just in its most blatant iterations, as with the kinds of twisted souls who have spent the better part of a month harassing my family, but even when it comes in a smoother, less obvious package, as it so often does. Or when it carries the power and authority of the state, as with disproportionate police violence or immigration enforcement against persons of color. Because for every white man like myself who has the resources (and frankly the power) to go after the racists who terrorize me and mine, there are literally millions of people of color—especially women of color, and LGBTQ folks of color, and poor folks of color—who do not. Who carry around the same fears, indeed greater ones than I, but for whom society extends not one-tenth as much sympathy or the kind of response it does for me. Not that society shouldn’t respond to hateful racist and anti-Semitic threats like those directed at my family, of course. It should. But until such a response is the norm—and until people of color can feel safe going to law enforcement to protect them from white supremacists, rather than worrying that law enforcement is but another instrument of white supremacy—this culture will have a lot of work to do. Obviously at present, we are a long way from that time. That’s where this wonderful and vital volume comes in. I have known Anneliese Singh for a little more than thirty years now. Our history is extensive: from anti-apartheid work at Tulane University in the 1980s to fighting for reproductive justice in Louisiana and challenging the political candidacies of neo-Nazi David Duke in the early 1990s, we have been through a lot together. I am ecstatic to call her a friend, a colleague, and a teacher. In this workbook, Dr. Singh teaches us all, myself very much included, how to truly identify racism, both internalized and systemic, and to take action for justice and equity. And not from a position of guilt or shame, but from one of strength and commitment. Importantly, she shows us the connections between the tortured national history of racism and white supremacy and the issues we face today, illustrating how we have for so long carried the scars of that injury with us and transmitted them like a virus down through the generations. And she reminds us of the harm racism does to all: to people of color as its targets, to be sure; and also to white folks, who wind up as the collateral damage of a system created for our benefit, but which, in the long run, injures us all. Weaving personal, historical, and analytical narratives with dexterity, humility, and compassion, Anneliese shows us a path forward—at a vital moment in the history of the United States and the world. With xenophobic nationalism on the rise throughout the so-called white world (in the U.S. and Europe in particular), and with Trumpism taking longstanding racist tropes and weaponizing them in ways even more blatant than with previous American presidents, there could be no better time for a workbook of this nature. Although the kinds of racism and anti-immigrant hysteria currently being whipped up around the world are hardly new, with modern technology spreading hate faster than ever and with the global economy leaving hundreds of millions of people behind, the atmosphere for reactionary and even neofascist politics, which seek to blame despised “others” for the problems of unemployment, crime, and other social ills, becomes even more toxic. While many authors and thinkers have weighed in so as to diagnose the problem, fewer have offered up personal and systemic measures one can take in the cause of freedom. That’s why I am so grateful for what Anneliese Singh has provided us in this volume. More than just an exploration of our national and global dilemma when it comes to racism and white supremacy, what The Racial Healing Handbook offers us is a blueprint, with practical steps all of us can utilize and deploy to get free from the personal and institutional barriers to racial equity and justice for all. Like Anneliese, this book is resolute and bold, pulls no punches, and fundamentally tells the truth. Both she and the work she has produced here are indispensable to the struggle. It is an honor to know her and to heartily recommend her genius, on full display in The Racial Healing Handbook. —Tim Wise Antiracist educator, commentator, and author of White Like Me: Reflections from a Privileged Son Nashville, TN Introduction There are several basic premises of this workbook, the first of which is that our world is steeped in racism. Racism is a system of oppression that relies on beliefs that one race or group of people is superior to another based on biological characteristics, like skin color, facial features, and hair. White supremacy, the key driver of racism, designates White people as superior to people of color—which is just not true. There is no one race that is better than another. In the system of racism, White and light-skinned folks are granted unearned privileges or advantages by society just because of their race. For instance, White folks get to see their societal value reflected back to them continuously—from seeing their histories in school textbooks and positive media portrayals to having the advantages of safe neighborhoods, quality education, high-paying jobs, access to good medical care, and greater health and well-being. Meanwhile, people of color experience a world that does not value them in the same way as it values White people, and they experience a lack of access to neighborhoods, schools, communities, and jobs, which in turn influences the quality of their overall health and well-being. Privileging one group of human beings over another in this way is obviously not fair. A second premise of this workbook is that because we all grow up in a society steeped in racism, everyone learns explicit and implicit stereotyped messages in families, schools, and communities about who people of color and White people are. We end up learning these racialized stereotypes and acting on them consciously and unconsciously without much opportunity to unpack or critique them. In this manner, racism has created—and continues to create—wounds of pain, grief, and loss for everyone in society, both those devalued by racism and those who are in the dominant, privileged group. When you internalize and come to believe stereotyped ideas of who other people are and who you are, it becomes challenging to understand how extensively we all are influenced by the context of white supremacy (Wise 2011). People of color have their opportunities and lives limited by the barriers they face and the way their experiences and identities are marginalized. And White people find themselves participating in a system in which they gain advantages that, as individuals, they may not have earned. This can lead to feelings of unease and guilt as they see people of color who don’t have those advantages or when they witness overt racism. But so much of racism, especially in the current moment, is systemic—embedded into the structures that surround us, including our schools, governments, legal system, social programs, and more. Consider the following examples. School systems continue to use textbooks that center the history of White people, and when it comes to high school completion, Black and Latinx students have lower rates than their White peers—likely due to racist school environments and differential access to educational supports and resources (Sablich 2016). People of color have little representation in the US federal government; at the time of this writing, the House of Representatives is 75% White (Wolf 2018), and the US Senate is 90% White (Brown 2017). Black and Latinx Americans make up 32% of the US population, yet they constitute 56% of people who are incarcerated (NAACP n.d.). Asian and Pacific Islander Americans who are US citizens are consistently asked where they were “born” (Tran and Lee 2015), implying that they somehow are perpetually “foreign” to the United States. Native American/First Nation/Indigenous people see their images used as mascots for sports teams, which is a denigration of their culture (Leavitt et al. 2015). These are just a few examples of the widespread racism in our society—privileging one group (White people) while disadvantaging another group (people of color). So while racism does exist, as a society we don’t tend to have regular conversations about it, aside from social media posts and occasional town hall meetings, which is partly why it is hard to figure out what racism is, when it is happening, and what to do about it. On the one hand, you may be able to identify racism when it is happening, like when a family member, friend, or colleague makes a racist comment or joke. On the other hand, you might not know how to respond or interrupt this person, leaving you with a range of feelings, such as guilt, anger, fear, and sadness. Or you may feel that you are the target of the racist joke or comment and feel too stunned and shocked to respond. Racism can be truly overwhelming in our interpersonal interactions. But, as extensive and overwhelming as racism can be, there is a third premise of this workbook: that you can begin healing from racism through changing your individual actions and interpersonal interactions. When I talk about “healing from racism,” what do I mean? Healing means you begin to unlearn the stereotyped racial messages you internalized about your own race and the race of others. It means you as an individual learn to recognize the wounds that racism creates in you, whether you are White or a person of color and whether you are conscious of these nicks and tears to your psyche or not. Healing means you open your eyes to the costs of racism, which are pretty much everywhere, and work to stop participating, either knowingly or actively, in the system of racism and white supremacy that was designed to favor some people and not others. You learn to notice how your race drives the differential privileges and access to needed resources you might receive. The good news is that healing from racism is a process of proactive individual actions and strategies you can practice throughout your lifetime. And the even better news is that as you begin to heal from racism, you can learn to give folks in your personal and professional circles the opportunity to heal from racism too. So, as you read this workbook, you will learn a recipe of sorts for individual actions you can take right now to be an active part of dismantling racism, while doing some important healing in the process. These endeavors aren’t simple processes that will happen overnight, but they are processes you can start now, so you can be part of a generation of folks who did something about racism together. Getting educated is a key part of ending racism, so let’s talk a little more about what racism is and why healing from racism is an integral part of dismantling it. What Is Racism, Exactly? To understand racism, you have to understand race and ethnicity. In this workbook, you will see me use the word “race” as shorthand to describe both race and ethnicity—but there is a difference between them. Race is often defined as a biological construct, such as a shared genetic classification. Ethnicity refers to a group that shares a common or distinct ancestry and cultural practices, generally according to a geographic region and often with psychological attachment (Phinney 1990). To make it even more complicated, race and ethnicity are just social constructions—elements of a system developed by humans to categorize people who “appear” to share common features. These constructs can and often do overlap. And often these words—which are frequently used inaccurately and have been scientifically disproven—were designed for racist practices. A good example is the word “Caucasian,” a common term to describe the race of White people. The term comes from Blumenbach’s racial classification system, in which he purported that God created Caucasians in his own image as the ideal race (Moses 2017). Then, Blumenbach designated other races that he deemed inferior to describe everyone else (e.g., Mongolian, Malayan, and Negroid). Blumenbach’s system was later used to justify the enslavement of Black people in the US (Moses 2017), so his social construction of race had lasting effects. But guess what? The term “Caucasian” is also entirely inaccurate. My very brown and very Indian dad was born near the Caucasus Mountains, and his skin color was the furthest thing you could imagine from being “White.” So you can see how the word “Caucasian” is not a helpful or accurate word to describe White people. Nonetheless, White supremacy is real, and the amount of melanin that you have in your skin signals something to the world about the societal norms that will be applied to your presumed race. For instance, there are societal norms—the vestiges of colonization and enslavement practices—that value light skin over dark skin. In other words, these societal norms promote messages that Whites are the “ideal” race, which then puts folks of color in the non-ideal box. These messages then trickle into our media, schools, families, and communities, where we pick up these implicit and explicit messages without realizing it. This is why Asian American/Pacific Islanders face perpetual questions about their “foreign-ness” and Black men are viewed as “threats” or “dangerous”—because their skin color is outside the White “norm” and deemed less than. And of course, this social construction of race is wholly unjust and unfair. So it’s important to (1) keep in mind that race is not helpful as a social construction and (2) recognize and understand that racism really exists based on perceptions of what your race or the race of others might be. Long story short, race can be a pretty inaccurate social construction to describe who you really are. But your perceived race and the race you perceive of others matters a lot in society because of White supremacy. And that is what racism ultimately is: the construction of “races” from particular biological characteristics people have, and the use of this construction to lift up certain groups in society into a dominant class and keep other groups in a lower, oppressed class. The system of racism is such that all people in the societies in which racism exists are affected by it. This is also why this book is written for everyone—those who are disadvantaged under White supremacy and those who benefit from it. The reality is, we all suffer under White supremacy and racism. And we all have the power to heal that suffering, too. Healing from Racism: A Daring Proposition Each chapter of this workbook will take you step by step through a given strategy of healing from racism. Each step will relate to you no matter what your racial identity is; this workbook is for people of color and White people to engage in racial healing strategies alongside one another. There may be ways you diverge in your exploration of healing from racism if you are a person of color or White, but along the way you get to take a peek into what another reader from a different social identity or subject position might be doing to foster their part of healing from the pain and wounds of racism. For instance, both people of color and White folks internalize racism that may be easy or challenging to recognize, yet there is a distinct difference in how this happens. If you are a person of color, you have internalized negative messages and beliefs about your race, and if you are White, you have internalized a sense of dominance related to your race. Why did I want to address both White folks and folks of color together in the same workbook? Well, I myself grew up with a lot of the racial complexities we will talk about in this book. My mom was White and her family had immigrated to the land we now call the United States multiple generations ago. My dad was a Sikh, turban-wearing guy who emigrated from India in the 1950s. In retrospect, as their mixed-race child, I saw so many missed opportunities for my mom and dad to talk about how racism influenced their relationship. For instance, I never heard how my mom felt about the racism she saw my dad experience because of his dark skin, turban, and immigrant status. I also never got to hear how he felt when she was silent about the racism she saw him and our family experience. Because my parents were in the throes of experiencing racism as an interracial couple and didn’t quite have the words to talk about what was happening to them, I also didn’t know what I was experiencing when it came to the system of racism and the messages I was learning about what it meant to be White or a person of color. So, after these experiences surrounding race in my family, I set about on a healing journey myself. I learned that healing from racism wasn’t a one-time thing, a few workshops to attend, or even a counselor’s office to frequent. I learned that healing from racism comprised several important healing strategies to keep engaging with over time. I pursued training in counseling and psychology, immersing myself in studies by leading multicultural scholars on race (including Derald Wing Sue, who wrote the afterword in this book), looking for more specifics on the harm that occurs from racism. I knew what racism felt like when I experienced it, because even when it was subtle I could feel it in my bones. I also reconnected with racial justice movements I had been involved in and fellow activists I had shared space with (including my friend Tim Wise, who also wrote the foreword to this book). In doing all of this, I not only became more educated about the empirical studies and racial justice movements detailing what racism is, but I also dug deep into how racism personally impacted me in multiple areas of my life—and as a human being. And I adopted a “recovery mindset”: I realized I might not be able to save the world from racism, but I was going to identify ways I had internalized racist ideas and stereotypes about the world. Part of this recovery included identifying ways I could act differently when I encountered racism in day-to-day life, so as to be genuinely antiracist, and perhaps inspire others to do the same. In the process, I found that adopting this intentional recovery framework where I was engaging individual strategies of healing—such as learning about my cultural background and racial identity and working for racial justice—gave me the best chance of “healing” from the harm racism did to me. Now, if you’re a person of color, you likely have firsthand knowledge of and experience with how racism looks and feels. You are likely the target of racism, and you may experience overt, in-your-face acts of racial discrimination and prejudice such as being called a racial epithet or not having your job application reviewed because you have an “ethnic” name. In addition, as a person of color, you may experience a range of everyday indignities of racism, which Derald Wing Sue (2010) calls microaggressions. These microaggressions—such as Asian American people being asked where they are “from,” as if they were not born in the US—can add up over time. Ultimately, as a person of color you can get boxed into stereotypes that have nothing to do with who you actually are, which then puts you at risk for internalizing these stereotypes and believing they are true. Because of these racialized stereotypes, you may be tokenized as the “only” person of color in your school or community, perhaps leading you to believe you have to be overly conscious of being a “good representative” of your race. The effects of racism may be less clear for you if you are White. Paul Kivel, a White, antiracist author, says White folks indeed benefit from having advantages based on their skin color (Kivel 2011). Because of these advantages you have if you are White, you can be participating in racism, even if it is not overt, because you have internalized these advantages as being “normal” experiences that everyone has. For instance, because you are White, you don’t have to experience being called a racial epithet or employment discrimination. However, as White antiracist Frances Kendall (2013) says, there is a cost you as a White person pay for being part of a system of racism—whether you know it or not. When it comes to talking about or challenging racism, you can often feel shame, guilt, apathy, and an internalized sense of dominance and get frozen in these emotions so you can’t talk or act. As a White person, you are likely to have lost your connection to your ethnic group (e.g., Italian, Irish, Russian) and may know little about your cultural backgrounds and history. Furthermore, activists like Tim Wise describe the losses White people have in terms of the opportunity to learn a full history of society that includes the achievements of people of color, and why it is so important to interrogate Whiteness so your perspective of the world is not as limited. This interrogation includes learning not only to relate to the wide variety of racial groups that exist, but also how White privilege disconnects you from your own cultural background and how you can act to challenge racism (Wise 2012). So again, whether you are a person of color or White, there are many inaccurate messages you can pick up from the world about who you are and who other races are. This workbook is all about taking action to develop strategies you can use to begin the journey of healing from racism. A Guide for Your Journey: The Racial Healing Wheel Take a look at the Racial Healing Wheel below. Each “spoke” of the wheel—or pie slice—represents a healing strategy you can use in your journey of recovery. Each chapter in this workbook explores one of these healing strategies and contains exercises and techniques you can learn to use to educate, inform, liberate, and transform yourself to bring that aspect of racial healing into your everyday life. Below is a brief description of each chapter: Know Your Racial Identity: Explore what you know about your racial identity and what you were taught (or not taught) about race and racism. Explore Your Internalized Racism: Identify belief systems about race and racism that aren’t yours, and develop new and more helpful thoughts and feelings. (Re)learn the History of Racism: Discover new knowledge and gain a new understanding about racism and how this system of oppression works. Grieve and Name Racism: Acknowledge the stages of grief that come with more awareness, learning, and action on racism. Raise Your Race-Consciousness: Learn how to act more consciously as a racial being and be a positive influence on others to do the same. Catch Yourself in the Flow of Racism: Understand that racism can arise in spontaneous and unexpected ways, and develop skills to interrupt these instances. Understand Racism in Relationships: Recognize how racism plays out in interpersonal relationships across a variety of settings and learn to identify when it is happening. Reclaim Your Whole Racial Self: Honor the ways you have changed and the authenticity that comes with individual racial healing. Be a Racial Ally: Learn ways you can help others and work for racial justice. Engage in Collective Racial Healing: Find ways to build circles of accountability and support for community racial healing. Each of the healing strategies in the Racial Healing Wheel is an important part of your overall healing journey, and each one builds upon the next. That doesn’t mean you have to read the workbook from front to back. You can jump in at any point in the workbook to explore and practice a particular healing strategy. If you do read it from start to finish, you might decide to go back and further develop one or more of the strategies. Things to Keep in Mind as You Read This Workbook I’d like to highlight some key points before you begin. First, I call the exercises in each chapter “Racial Healing Practices” for a reason. Each practice builds your strength and prepares you to loosen racism’s grip on you and ultimately be able to challenge systems of racism more effectively. You can download worksheets for these Racial Healing Practices from the website for this book: http://www.newharbinger.com/42709. (See the very back of this book for more details.) Second, as you read through the chapters and engage in the exercises, you’ll note that I use the terms “people of color” and “White people.” I use a binary system of race (people of color, White) for now, as perceived skin color still defines so much of what we experience in the world of racism. Again, this is shorthand and not perfect, but it allows me to convey the general meanings of who has power and who does not as we explore racism, race, and the journey of racial healing. Keep in mind that in today’s day and age, there are way more complex racial identities and experiences you may have than the two categories I’m using would imply. You may be a person of color, but are perceived to be White due to lighter skin color. Or, the opposite may be true and you are White, but are perceived to be a person of color because you have darker skin. “Mixed race,” “multiracial,” “biracial,” and other words may more accurately capture your experience—and that is awesome. More racial combinations exist within families and communities now than ever before, which can also complicate how you experienced your race growing up. For instance, you may be a person of color who grew up in a racially blended family, neighborhood, school, and/or religious/spiritual community. You could be a White person who grew up in a predominantly and historically Black community. You could be Latinx and from a wealthy family, where your class privilege helped buffer some of the effects of racism. You may also have other identities that impact how you experienced your race, as you will explore in chapter 8. Our experiences and identities of race can get very complicated. You may have racial privilege but a lack of privilege based on your other identities, or vice versa—and this means that the work you’ll do to heal will be unique to you. Third, regardless of your particular mix of identities regarding privilege and oppression, the majority of the healing practices involve reflecting on your own experience of race and racial identity. You might choose to use the words that are most empowering for you, and even cross out the words I use if they are not helpful to your understandings. And if some aspect of racial experience I describe doesn’t sound like your own, know that this workbook will give you lots of opportunities to explore these intersections and get busy with your own unique racial healing work. Finally, be gentle with yourself as you embark on this part of your racial healing journey. You may have thought about racism a lot, rarely, or somewhere in between. You may have done some racial healing—investigating your history with racism and how it affects your thinking and the world—and then forgotten about it, and restarted, or you might never have contemplated it at all. As you work through this book, you may whiz through each chapter, or you might need to take your time, or need to take breaks to let things digest. You may read alone or gather with fellow comrades who are also committed to healing from racism. You may struggle along the way (especially because racism is unrelenting), but remember that you can be in charge of your healing from racism. Sometimes the struggle means you are on the verge of generating a new healing strategy and integrating it deeper into your core understandings of yourself. Any and all experiences you have had about race and racism are welcome in these pages—and, even more so, are critical to your healing and the healing of the world, which truly needs to recover from racism. And remember that no matter how you choose to do this part of your journey, embody it with gentle compassion and curiosity. Racism is as impersonal as it is personal, and just when you think you “have” it in terms of understanding, the next moments can feel like you don’t know anything and that racism is just simply impossible to heal from and overcome. So take time to breathe and feel as you work through these pages—it will deepen your work and strengthen your resolve to continue doing the work you can do as an individual to challenge racism and do some healing in the process. The Journey Begins Healing from racism is a journey. This journey starts with reflecting on what you, as a White person or a person of color, have been taught to believe about the world and your own race. This journey can be a bumpy ride, as it entails relearning the history of the world and how racism came into practice, as well as understanding how this history is linked to racial myths and stereotypes that you have been taught to believe. In so many ways, to heal from racism, you have to reeducate yourself and unlearn the processes by which racism thrives—that is, how racism is internalized for people of color and how race, ethnicity, and Whiteness are made to be invisible for White people. This workbook breaks new ground by giving you tools that will help you as a person of color or as a White person to heal from the harm of racism you’ve faced or done and encourage others to heal from racism in the same way. As you work through the exercises in each chapter, you will explore your own race from an intentional perspective of healing, transformation, and liberation, while also learning about the possibilities for healing for other racial groups. A good place to start is by exploring your own racial identity and experiences—which we’ll do in chapter 1. Chapter 1: Know Your Racial Identity To understand how racism works, it’s important to know about your racial identity and your racial identity development. Racial identity is a social construct that generally refers to a group that is thought to share a racial heritage. For example, my dad was Indian, so he shared a racial heritage with Indians and South Asians. Meanwhile, your racial identity development refers to the stages or processes you experience in learning about your racial identity. As my dad’s racial identity unfolded over time, he went from being oblivious to what it meant to be South Asian to realizing—as a result of a critical incident of racism—what his race was and that racism was a real thing that exists. To deal with this, he then immersed himself in South Asian circles and communities, deriving comfort, validation, and shared experiences related to his race. Later, he came to view people who weren’t South Asian as people with whom he could also form safer communities. Ultimately, through his racial identity development, he learned what it meant to have and claim an Indian racial identity. When it comes to your race, developing a positive racial identity is important (Neville and Cross 2017). A positive racial identity means you are secure in your racial identity, you are aware of the history of your racial group, and you are able to identify when you are being racially stereotyped. Notice that having a positive racial identity is very different from having an identity under White supremacy, an unjust system where one race is inferior to another. Rather, a positive racial identity means you have spent time learning about who you are as a racial being—both the privileges and the disadvantages it affords you—and how your racial identity affects your experience of others and the world. Developing a positive racial identity entails cultivating nonjudgmental curiosity as you learn about your racial identity. This may seem like a simple thing, but curiosity is one of the most challenging of human emotions to cultivate when it comes to race. Ultimately, being curious about your race and racial identity development means that you question old ideas, remain open to new ones, and see what information best fits you—and you keep cultivating that curiosity over time. At the same time, it can be especially challenging to be curious when you feel stressed, anxious, worried, sad, frustrated, or angry, which are just a handful of the emotions you may feel as you learn more about race and begin an intentional healing journey from racism. So think about curiosity as a muscle that you need to develop and strengthen in order to be able to breathe. Without this muscle, your lungs can’t expand to receive new air; with this muscle, you are able to release the old and let in the new. Let’s use your curiosity muscle to investigate some of the earliest things you learned about race and racism, of which racial identity is one aspect. Here, we’ll embark on our first Racial Healing Practice. (As a reminder, all of the Racial Healing Practices can be downloaded from the book’s website at http://www.newharbinger.com/42709.) For this and each exercise you do in this workbook, write the first things that come to mind. Don’t analyze. Let your first responses guide you, as they are usually the most truthful—and most vulnerable—parts of your experience. Racial Healing Practice My Earliest Memories of Race and Racism Think back to the earliest time you realized you had a racial identity. It’s okay if you don’t remember all the exact details. Describe as much as you can about that experience here. What did this experience teach you to think about your own race? Write about those thoughts here. Thinking about this earliest time you realized you had a racial identity, write about the feelings you have as you remember this experience here. As you explored your earliest recollection of race, what stood out the most for you? Was there anything that surprised you as you wrote about your earliest memories of your racial identity? You might notice a common theme in your recollection that connects to thoughts and feelings that still linger about race and racism today. The feelings that come could be surprisingly negative or positive. For example, you might have felt shame, guilt, and embarrassment writing about these memories—or you might have surprised yourself by remembering a time you experienced pride in your racial identity. No matter what feelings came up, hang on to your curiosity and build that muscle as we delve a little deeper into why those earliest memories matter. One of the most helpful ways to develop your racial curiosity muscle is to swap and share stories with other people who share your racial identity and others who are of a different race so you can notice how common the experiences and feelings are that people have about race and what they learned growing up. Check out Phillip’s story below about his earliest memories of being White and the feelings that came up for him remembering them. Phillip’s Story: “I Don’t Like Those People” The first time I can remember thinking about race was when I was three or four years old. I was in the car with my mom. She was driving us to my grandma’s house, and we were driving on a different road than usual. Along that road were several neighborhoods where Black people lived. I said out loud to my mom, “I don’t like those people.” I feel a lot of emotions remembering that story, mostly shame. When I talked about that story with my mom recently, she remembers being shocked when I said that. She wondered where I had “gotten that type of thinking,” because according to her she didn’t teach me that. She’s right. She never taught me to say something like that. But somehow I had picked up that thinking somewhere. If you are White, Phillip’s story may resonate with you. Even if no one is “teaching” them to be racist per se, little children are like sponges and pick up that thinking from the world in which they live. It’s common to feel ashamed of those thoughts learned from society, and it can feel like you should have known better, done better, and figured out some other way to think and be around race. If you are a person of color, Phillip’s story may bring up emotions too—anger, irritation, the feeling of suspicion confirmed—but you may not be surprised. You may know all too well that racism is taught in covert ways that are hard to identify. Read Della’s story below to see how she remembered her earliest memories of being Latinx. Della’s Story: “I Wish I Didn’t Want to Be White” I think I was four or five years old when I realized I was Latina. My parents moved from California to Connecticut. There were two other people of color in my grade, both African American. I remember being called a word I don’t like to repeat. I didn’t know what it was, but my whole body knew it was bad. I ended up getting a stomachache that day and going home. My mom kept asking me if anything had happened that day. Later on that night, I asked her what that word meant. She told me it was a bad word and not to worry about it. She told me to be proud of who I was and my background. She even told me stories about our family and how many accomplishments they had made. But that night when I went to bed, my stomachache turned into feelings of anger. I wished I was White, and then I felt like that was wrong too. I was so confused. Remembering this, I feel a lot of shame. I wish I didn’t want to be White when I was young. It’s like I turned my back on my culture without even knowing it and didn’t have words to describe what was happening. When it comes to her earliest recollections of race, Della’s story is very different from Phillip’s in some ways. At some point in his life, Phillip learned to categorize people of color as different from White people like him, and he learned that this difference was not to be liked. As for Della, she learned she was different racially from White people—and she learned to internalize that difference as something that was not as good about her own race. However, both stories share the feelings of shame. I would even say they share feelings of confusion. These feelings of confusion came for both Phillip and Della because there was information they needed about race and racism that they just didn’t have at that point in their lives. For instance, knowing that different races not only exist but also are valuable, and that all people are worthy of respect regardless of their race, would have been helpful to both of them. Somehow, Phillip and Della didn’t get these explicit positive messages from their families, school textbooks, and other sources of information. This could be for a multitude of reasons. Their parents may have been taught to not trust, like, or engage with people of another race. Or it may have been because racial identity and its stages aren’t typically included in school learning; often, schools use a “we are all the same” approach to race instead, disregarding the current realities of racism. No matter the reason, in the absence of positive information about people of color and in the context of White supremacy, it is not surprising Phillip and Della would internalize racially stereotyped messages about who they and other races were—and come to act on those messages, whether by disparaging people of other racial identities or disparaging their own. Now, we could blame their parents, families, schools, communities, neighborhoods, and more. But one of the ideas you will learn in this workbook is that a blame strategy doesn’t do much for racial healing, and neither does shame, whether you are shaming others or yourself about race and racism. Blame, shame—and let’s throw guilt in there too—are some of the mechanisms of racism that actually result in nonhealing responses like inaction, confusion, hopelessness, and feeling overwhelmed. Instead of exploring what the blame, shame, and guilt is about when it comes to race and taking action based on these emotions (e.g., reflecting on how you internalized a racialized stereotype, and doing your best to act differently), it can be easy to get stuck in those emotions, retreat, and hide from a more fruitful exploration of race. As Derald Wing Sue (personal communication, February 6, 2018), Chinese American and multicultural scholar, shared: My work on racial/cultural identity development has always been about asking one question: “Why should I feel ashamed of who and what I am?” Asking that question was very liberating for me because I realized I did not have to accept society’s inferior definition of my racial/cultural group. It took a while for me to overcome that cultural conditioning. This goes back to why curiosity is so important. Yes, these sometimes icky feelings of shame, blame, and guilt will come up as you learn more about who you are as a racial being. The healing-from-racism response I want you to take is to be curious and let that curiosity lead you to action, such as educating yourself on a racial issue or apologizing for expressing a racialized stereotype. Speaking of action, reflect on your answers to the previous healing exercise and do the following Racial Healing Practice. Racial Healing Practice Identifying What I Needed to Know About My Race Growing Up Reflect on your earliest memories of your own race and racism. List the things you needed to know to understand race and racism in a more complete way. How would knowing these things have changed your earliest memories of race and racism? How did it feel to write the things you needed to know more about to understand race and racism as you were growing up? What realizations did you have about what you needed way back then that might apply to what you need right now as you begin a racial healing journey? Remember, no judgment of yourself in this process of exploring, just lots of curiosity. Let’s use that curiosity to learn about racial identity development and how your own racial identity development has happened (and can and will continue to happen) over time. Understanding Your Racial Identity Scholars like Janet Helms (1990) have studied racial development for several decades now. What we have learned so far is that racial identity development is a developmental process. It starts from an early age (which is why I asked you to explore your earliest memories) and continues to develop as you move through different parts of your life—school, work, family building, developing friendships, growing older, and so on. Helms (1990) noted that people of color will commonly begin this process before White people, as they are more often asked to confront race and how racism affects them. Her research also demonstrated that while racial identity development is distinct for people of color and White people, there are also some similarities. Helms used to call these developmental processes “stages” or “statuses,” but she realized in her studies that racial identity development is not always linear. So, she began using the term “schemas” to describe these distinct developmental moments that you might cycle through and re-cycle through. You’ll read about these distinct—and somewhat overlapping—racial identity development schemas below for people of color and White people. As you read, notice the differences and similarities in both and that having a positive sense of yourself as a racial being is a good thing for White people and people of color alike. This is because, as you will see when you look at a racial identity development model, it increases your ability to act more consciously as a racial being. Put on your studious hat for a moment and read the next two sections about the racial identity development processes for White people and people of color. If you’re multiracial, you might resonate with aspects of both of these racial identity development processes. Racial Identity Development: White People The schemas of racial identity development for White people are conformity, acceptance, resistance, retreat, emergence, and integrative awareness (Helms 1990). Let’s look at what each of these developmental moments involves. Conformity If you are White, before critical incidents of racism open your eyes to the realities of race in the world, you are fairly oblivious about your race and the race of others. That makes sense, because racism isn’t a system that demands to be known, learned about, and questioned. Otherwise, you might have learned about your race and racial identity development in school, or some similar context. You tend to not be aware that racism exists. Sure, you might be able to point out overt acts of racism, or historical ones, and say these are bad. However, in this part of your identity development, you tend to believe the world for the most part doesn’t “see” race. You have a “color blind” view of the world with a conformity to White norms, values, and ways of doing things that is unquestioned. Feelings in this schema include obliviousness, safety, contentment, satisfaction, and comfort. Acceptance As a White person in this schema, you more consciously reject the notion that racism is real. When people of color talk about racism, you dismiss their thoughts and feelings and justify your own position that racism isn’t an issue. It’s tough for you to see the racism in whatever topic people of color are bringing up. You urge people of color to assimilate and merge with the (unacknowledged) White norms in whatever setting they are in so people of color stop “causing problems.” Feelings include alarm, surprise, anger, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. Resistance In this schema you begin to distance yourself as a White person from the idea that racism is real. It’s too difficult to think about racism. You might have tried to address some issues of racism and gotten criticized by White allies (White people who are antiracists, which you’ll read about in chapter 9) or people of color. The persistent and exhausting nature of racism as a system can feel like too much to think about, so you ask questions like “What can I really do anyway?” You tell yourself that racism existed so long ago, and people of all races just need to get along better. You move from minimizing what people of color experience to blaming people of color for racial disharmony. Feelings include anxiety, anger, worry, irritability, frustration, and numbing. Retreat If, as a White person, you keep developing your identity through paying attention to race, you can start to notice that the world is more unfair than you thought it to be when it comes to race. You notice not only that racism does exist, but also how you may have participated in or witnessed racism without taking action. As you explore how this White privilege thing works, and how people of color don’t have the same privileges, you move from being unaware of racism’s operation in the world to feeling guilty about racism. You can also retreat from fellow White people who are in earlier schemas involving unconscious and conscious denials of the impact of racism on people of color. Feelings include guilt, shame, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, and impatience. Emergence As you explore White privilege, you move into taking action about racism, such as starting to educate yourself on what you can do about racism or speaking up when you see a racist incident. You can get stuck, feeling uncomfortable in moments when you encounter your White privilege and then moving on to something less awkward or painful instead of taking action against racism. This is why, to start to develop a positive White racial identity, you need to link up with other White folks exploring racism and broaden your communities to include people from different racial backgrounds. Feelings include relief, motivation, curiosity, hopefulness, understanding, caring, and grief. Integrative Awareness In this schema, you continue to look at your White privilege. You also become more curious about other identities you have (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, disability, and social class, which you will explore in chapter 8). You realize the fullness of your racial identity development and the possibility of cycling into other schemas with awareness and skills to experience those schemas more consciously. You have respect for the racial identity development of people of color, including the various schemas they may be in that are different from or similar to your own. Feelings include a range of healthy emotions related to racism, such as confidence, clarity, curiosity, and motivation, as well as difficult emotions including anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear. You’ll sometimes feel these multiple emotions all at the same time in this schema, but you aren’t overwhelmed by them so much that you lose your center. As you read about White racial identity development, you can see that positive racial identity entails White people realizing that being White in itself isn’t a bad thing or a thing to feel guilty about. Yes, when White folks enact conscious and unconscious racism, that is something to feel bad about and to change. But if you get stuck in these emotions as a White person, you can’t challenge yourself to learn and grow. White people with positive racial identities understand their White privilege and are more aware of how racism works in the world. They can connect with people from diverse racial backgrounds, and they can use their privilege to take action interrupting and challenging racism. Racial Identity Development: People of Color As you read about racial identity development for people of color—conformity, dissonance, immersion, emersion, internalization, and integrated awareness (Helms 1990, Hoffman and Hoffman 2004)—you’ll see that the “first” and “last” schemas are the same as those for White people, but the experiences are different, even at those points, because people of color are the targets of racism. You’ll also notice the difference in the “middle” schemas that occur as people of color accept that racism is real and move into more conscious awareness of this. Conformity In this schema, as a person of color, you are oblivious to the existence of racism. You ascribe to White norms, values, and behaviors without question, thinking that this is just part of being a good person. Some of your emulation of Whiteness is driven by norms that value Whiteness over people of color. In other words, you think White norms are positive and good. Feelings include obliviousness, safety, contentment, satisfaction, and comfort. Dissonance As a person of color, you experience one or more critical incidents of racism and realize the world isn’t fair or equitable when it comes to race. For instance, you experience racism yourself. You ask yourself a series of questions: Did that really happen? Was that directed toward me? Wait—I am a good person, why would they treat me that way? The experience is not only shocking, unexpected, and unfair, but it also seeds your suspicions of the motivations of White people. As a person of color, you begin to see the world differently in terms of race. Feelings include confusion, surprise, and anger. Immersion Immersion is the schema where, as you notice more and more of the racial inequities you and other people of color experience, you feel anger toward White people. You don’t feel as safe being around White people because you can’t trust them. You assume that all White people are racist. Feelings include disillusionment, frustration, anger, and worry. Emersion Emersion is the schema where you become engrossed in your own racial community due to the distrust you have toward White people in the immersion schema. You experience an even greater need to connect with members of your own race and other people of color so you can feel comforted and validated when you do experience racism. You avoid White-majority spaces when you can and seek community with other people of color. As the target of racism, you may feel the need to be aware that racist incidents can happen and be prepared to act or react. You may seek connection, solace, comfort, and understanding about shared experiences of racism within your own racial groups. You can think of these experiences of racial emersion as healing spaces in which people of color learn strategies for how to cope with racism, stand up against racism, and experience feelings of pride in their race. Feelings include avoidance, questioning, anger, comfort, and a strong sense of belonging with people of color. Internalization In this schema, as a person of color, you have positive experiences with White people who are antiracist and are working to challenge racism in positive ways. You also explore other parts of who you are (e.g., social class, gender, sexual orientation) and how these complex intersections of identity shape your experiences of race. People of color acknowledge they are more than their race. Feelings include surprise, relief, complexity, and curiosity. Integrative Awareness At this point in your racial development, as a person of color, you experience the capacity to reach out to a more racially diverse group of people with whom to build communities. You do not feel you are less than another racial group, you are still aware of how racism works, and you value your own racial identity as a part of many important identities you have. Feelings include a range of emotions related to racism, including confidence, clarity, curiosity, and motivation, as well as anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear. You’ll sometimes experience multiple emotions at the same time in this schema, but you aren’t overwhelmed by them so much that you lose your center. Okay, now that you have read over the racial identity development model for both White people and people of color, take a look at the following figure that includes the racial identity development of White people and people of color side by side. The figure, which was developed by McGrail and Rowe Gorosh (2018), portrays Hoffman and Hoffman’s (2004) integrated racial identity development model, which is an adaptation of Janet Helms’s (1990) racial identity development models for people of color and White people. Reproduced with permission from McGrail and Rowe Gorosh (2018) It’s pretty helpful to “see” the schemas laid out like this. Which parts of the figure feel familiar to you and fit your own racial identity development? Which parts do not fit? Notice where the racial identity development of both groups diverge from one another. As you look it over, think honestly with care and compassion about the schema you are in now, and any you have been in the past. Any of the schemas are “good” in that you have thoughts, feelings, and education needs that can support you in moving to greater awareness of your racial identity. Also, the schemas of racial identity development are rarely linear, and it is possible to simultaneously experience more than one part of the model. As a person of color, you can be in the emersion schema and still need to be steeped in the community of color. As a White person, you might be in the retreat schema, or somewhere between acceptance and resistance, and still having difficulty seeing yourself as a person with White privilege—and feeling anger or grief about it. Keep in mind that racial identity development models are a general starting point for understanding your own racial identity; you might have had very different experiences of coming to understand your racial identity. If you are mixed race, multiracial, or biracial, or describe your race in some other way, the way you experienced race in the world and in treatment from others can make your experiences of race even more complicated. In addition, if you were raised by parents or caregivers of a different race from yours, this can influence the progression of your racial identity development. Joy Hoffman (personal communication January 9, 2019), racial equity educator along with her partner John Hoffman, describes that she is Korean and was adopted by White parents, who had access to White privilege, which gave her lots of access to educational and class privilege as well. Joy reflects that because of this access, her racial idenity development came a little later in life. It wasn’t that she didn’t expereince racism earlier, but she didn’t have the words yet to understand what was happening because she was buffered so much as a Korean American by the Whiteness of her parents. As you read through the next sections about racial identity development for people of color and White folks, pay attention to which parts of the model fit your development or don’t. But first, do the next Racial Healing Practice to identify where you are in your own racial identity development. Racial Healing Practice Knowing the Twists and Turns of My Racial Identity Development Take a quick look back at the racial identity development model, and respond to the following prompts. It’s okay if you don’t have answers for each of the prompts. Does the racial identity development model mirror your racial development? Which parts of it match your experience? Which do not? Describe how your life was before you realized race and racism existed. Describe the first time you saw racism happening (this may be similar to your response in the first Racial Healing Practice in this chapter). Were you the target of the racism, did you enact the racism, or did you witness the racism? Include a description of your thoughts and feelings at the time. If you are White, describe a time when you felt you were “color blind”—when you tried not to “see” race. If you are a person of color, write about how you coped with realizing that racism was a real thing that you needed to think about a lot. Include a description of your thoughts and feelings at the time. If you are a person of color, how have people, places, and institutions influenced you in the immersion and emersion schemas? As a White person, how have people, places, and institutions influenced you in the resistance, retreat, and emergence schemas? If you are a person of color, was there ever a time when you wanted to spend time with your own racial group as a source of empowerment and understanding? If so, write about it. If you are White, describe a time when you started to explore the privileges that came with being White. Include a description of your thoughts and feelings at the time. Has there been a time when you sought to intentionally build a diverse racial community in your life and felt positively about your racial identity? Include a description of your thoughts and feelings at the time. Are there other periods of your racial identity development that don’t really fit into the racial identity development model—or that seem important to write down to give a fuller picture of how you came to know yourself as a racial being? Did you notice that some of the prompts in that exercise were easier to respond to than others? That would make sense, as different emotions come along with each of part of the racial identity development model. Did more than one example come to mind for some of the prompts? That would also make sense, as racial identity development isn’t a linear process, where one schema happens before the next in a predictable way. One thing to note about racial identity development is that it is influenced by the world around us. For example, when my Indian dad died (I was in my 20s), as a mixed-race person of color, I felt drawn back into racial identity emersion. I wanted to spend all of my time with South Asian people, and it was in these communities that I found the most comfort. Think about how your racial identity development has been influenced by the experiences you’ve had, as well as national and international events, people, places, and institutions. There are a few other things to keep in mind about racial identity development: This racial identity development model is just that—one simplified picture of how our racial identities tend to develop. Yes, there is research to support the idea that racial identity development typically proceeds in the schemas outlined (Atkinson, Morten, and Sue 1998; Cross 1991; Helms 1990). It is also true that research can’t capture every lived experience of racial identity. Lots of other things can influence your racial identity and matter a lot too. For instance, you may have grown up in a racially homogenous neighborhood and not thought much about your race, much less had a critical incident, until much later in life, such as in college or in your first job. Like my dad, you may have moved from one country to another where a different racial group is in the majority. So getting curious about what other factors, events, or circumstances influence your racial identity development is extremely valuable. Remember that the model may “look” linear, but the experience of developing a racial identity often isn’t. Even though racial identity development starts early in life, the awareness of what you are feeling in the different parts of the model grows over time and with more experiences. It doesn’t just happen from start to finish. You can spend a lot of time in one part of the model or another, and you can move back to an earlier schema of the model depending on current societal events. For example, when a dramatic experience of racism happens, people of color who are in the integrated awareness schema may need to be surrounded by other people of color, therefore moving to the immersion schema. Or White folks, feeling shocked after White nationalist marches and sentiments expressed at the highest levels of our government, may move from integrated awareness into the retreat schema instead of taking action. Everyone has their own racial identity development. And when you consider the fact that folks are typically in different schemas of racial identity development, you can see how lots of misunderstandings, disagreements, debates, and disconnections about race and racism can happen. This is why when racial topics come up at the family holiday table, the conversations may not always go that well. For instance, if you are White and in the integrative awareness schema and one of your White family members is in the retreat and resistance schemas, it may be difficult (or impossible) to get them to reflect on their White privilege. Because people are at different racial identity developmental moments, they may not have the ability to “hear” one another. Instead, you might need to provide them with information (e.g., books, articles) that they can review on their own to expose them to new ideas about race and racism. Possibly the most essential and challenging thing to think about is that each part of the racial identity model is an important place to be. It’s tough to develop a positive sense of your racial identity without experiencing each schema in the model. For instance, let’s say you are a person of color in the first schema, conformity. At this point your experience of racism is one of obliviousness. However, as you move from that schema to dissonance after experiencing critical incidents of racism, you have the opportunity to learn more and more about yourself as a racial being. Then, you get to immerse yourself with other people of color to learn even more about your racial identity. With each developmental progression, you learn different things about yourself as a racial being and about other races—ideally being able to develop a positive sense of racial identity. When you have a strong racial identity—a sense of your race, the privileges and disadvantages afforded to it, and what you might owe or should come to expect from others as a result—you become more secure, grounded, and aware of your race and how racism works. That gives you the ability to make more informed decisions, think more accurate thoughts, and cultivate communities that can do the same about race and racism. Before we wrap up this chapter, take a moment to check in with yourself about how you feel about your racial identity right now. Racial Healing Practice What Is My Racial Identity Now? Glance back again at the racial identity development model and respond to the following prompts. Where would you place yourself in the racial identity development model right now? Do you need to move into a more positive sense of your racial identity development? If so, what support, experiences, learning, understanding, and so on would you need to do this? Keep in mind that if you’re in integrative awareness a good deal of the time, there may still be events, experiences, places, and people you experience that pull you into a different part of the racial identity model. Describe a recent situation that might have drawn you into an earlier schema of your racial identity development. How does it feel to write about where your racial identity is now? Did you judge yourself or feel like you should be somewhere you aren’t? Or, did you start to feel curious about all the things that might have influenced where you are in your racial identity right now? What did you notice about what you need to develop a more positive racial identity? As you have been reflecting on your own racial identity, has it been a tough thing to do, or has it come pretty easily? I find at times reflecting on my racial identity can be challenging. For example, even when I am in integrative awareness, I still may have an experience that is tough as a person of color, and suddenly I am in a different part of my racial identity development. It doesn’t mean the integrative awareness is gone or that I feel negatively about my racial identity; it just gets a little more complicated because the feelings are so different for each part of racial identity development. I may cycle into obliviousness about race and then be shocked when I encounter racism. Or I might feel I need to be around mostly people of color because of a certain racist national or political event that has happened. It is tempting to judge yourself for these sorts of feelings, but remember, what’s most important is to be curious about where you’re at with your racial identity and what’s influencing that. Then, you can get the support you need to feel secure and positive in your racial identity and move from a place of inaction and unawareness to action and knowledge. That is why knowing about your racial identity is an essential part of your racial healing journey. Racial Healing Wrap-Up You started off this chapter with exploring your earliest memories of race and racism, and then learned about racial identity. In the process, you discovered the importance of developing a positive racial identity, which, rather than proceeding in a straight line, can be an evolving spiral where you move forward, backward, and sometimes all around the model. In chapter 2, you will learn more about how your racial identity has been shaped by events, people, family, places, institutions (e.g., schools), neighborhoods, religious/spiritual communities, political affiliations, and other influences, and how racism gets internalized in all of us. Chapter 2: Explore Your Internalized Racism Now that you know having a racial identity is a good thing, we can think a little more about how racism gets internalized. The template of racism we learn places people of color in an inferior racial position compared to White people. People of color and White people alike absorb this principle; it then informs the way we perceive the world and the way we behave in it. For people of color, internalized racism—the racialized and stereotyped ideas about their race they learn from the world and society—can result in a range of painful emotions and beliefs, stress, ambivalence or even hatred for their own culture, or a sense that life is harder for them for reasons they can’t quite explain. For White people, the phrase “internalized dominance” may be more accurate; racism, with its assumption of White supremacy, can lead to ignorance and disregard of other cultures and blindness to their own privilege. There is widespread inability and failure among White people to acknowledge that racism is real, exists, and is a system operating with folks tagged with advantages and disadvantages (with the result that White people may remain in the conformity schema of racial identity development, as you learned in chapter 1). The internalization of racism is a key mechanism of how this system of oppression works. When you “explore your internalized racism” as one of the spokes in the wheel of racial healing, you are becoming clear about how to know when that internalization is happening, the costs it can have for your mental and physical health and well-being, and how to interrupt it. Racial Socialization: How You Learn What You Know About Race Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “socialization” as the process beginning during childhood by which individuals acquire the values, habits, and attitudes of a society (Merriam-Webster.com, s.v. “socialization”). When you unpack that definition, socialization is essentially how you learn to be a grown-up so you can function in the world. As for how this happens—especially across the many identities we have—I like to use Harro’s (1996) cycle of socialization (below) to understand what socialization is and how it works. You can see that Harro identifies five stages of socialization in her model. The first stage, “The Beginning,” refers to the way societal norms are already set in place when we’re born. These societal norms provide the belief systems for the second stage, “First Socialization,” where we learn from our closest family members how to “be” and “act” in the world according to those societal norms. The third stage is “Institutional and Cultural Socialization,” where we enter schools, places of worship, and other community settings and receive similar messages about our identities that reinforce our first socialization. Within these institutional and cultural sites of socialization (as well as our families), the fourth stage, “Enforcements,” occurs, as we either get rewarded for staying within societal norms or get punished for stepping outside of those same norms. Finally, in the fifth stage, we embody the “Results” of socialization, which can range from personal feelings and thoughts about our socialization to the ways we navigate society. We continue to manifest these racial socializations until we “wake up” and begin to question each step. Because I grew up in the South, when I think of the “beginning” and “first socialization” I experienced, I remember being socialized across many of my identities in a specific geographical context. My White mom taught me how to have manners and “good home training” so I would do the right thing when I was out in public. I was also being socialized to wear westernized clothes, to speak without an “accent,” and to obey my elders at any cost. On the other hand, my Indian dad—who was socialized in a very different South Asian culture—was training me to be grown up in some similar ways to my mom’s training (e.g., say “please” and “thank you,” obey your elders), but he wasn’t teaching me to say “yes ma’am” and “yes sir,” as my mom was. Dad was teaching me that I should live with my brother until I got married (groan, I mean living with my brother??) to a man (I turned out to have a queer identity—surprise!). The point is, of course, as a mixed-race person, my socialization was influenced by a few different cultures. In addition to socialization by my mom and dad, there was my “institutional and cultural socialization”: a combination of the Catholic school I attended and the Sikh religion I was raised in. I said the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi each morning at school; I had my palms together with my hands in a prayer position and my head bowed. When I attended the Sikh gurudwara (Sikh house of worship), I sang shabads (spiritual songs) and also had my palms together with my hands in a prayer position and head bowed—except I sat on the floor cross-legged, with no shoes, as this was a critical sign of reverence. The “enforcements” came in my family and schools, where I was punished through teasing or bullying because my skin was too dark or the Indian food I brought to school “smelled weird.” If I expressed any type of identity other than “straight,” I was also verbally harassed. On the other hand, when I tried to “act White” and “straight,” I was rewarded and life was a little easier (even though I was faking it big-time). The “results” of this socialization were that I was scared to express my queer identity, and I knew my mixed-race identity wasn’t exactly on the “rewards” list—so I just knew deeply that I didn’t fit what I had been socialized to be. So you can see different socializations in my past. It’s not always about race; socialization happens around a lot of social identities (see chapter 8). But no matter the identity, my various socializations were definitely about getting trained in how various things should be done to qualify for “adult status.” Let’s look at how you can apply Harro’s cycle of socialization to your racial socialization specifically. It’s a Cycle: Discovering Your Racial Socialization Again, socialization happens in many realms—but we are going to focus on racial socialization for now. Take a look back at Harro’s figure; you’ll use this cycle to examine your racial socialization. Let’s take a close look at the stages: The Beginning. When you are born, racism is already in place. There are clear messages that being White is superior and being a person of color is inferior. So you really don’t have a lot of choice about this larger system of racism and its history of stereotyping, prejudices, discrimination, and other thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The system of racism has already been set in motion in the world. First Socialization. Parents, families, loved ones, teachers, and others teach you racial scripts, which basically are the rules of how to be in the world, in conscious and unconscious ways, as a racial being within White supremacy. If you are White, maybe you don’t learn what it means to be White—for instance, that you benefit from the system of racism in certain ways, like being able to get a job easily or not being harassed in public spaces. You may be actively discouraged from seeing race in others or in the world around you, but for reasons that aren’t made clear. If you are a person of color, there can also be a vacuum of information—especially if you were raised in a community of primarily other people of color. But it’s also pretty likely you began to learn something from the major players in your life—your parents, your family, figures in your community—about your race and what that meant for you in the world, like how you’re expected to behave in public or what you are or aren’t entitled to. In this stage, all people learn what the norms are and what expectations to have about race—basically, the unwritten, unspoken, but very obvious racial scripts and rules about how race works in the world (e.g., White people are superior, people of color are inferior), your place in the system, and how you should play out your racial role in larger society. Institutional and Cultural Socialization. Your first racial socializations are reinforced by the institutions you attend, such as school, and through your culture, such as the language used or not used in your racial group or in other groups you may be part of. Such institutional and cultural socialization happens consciously and unconsciously with explicit and implicit messages about your race and the race of others. You may be socialized to be proud of your race or to ignore race completely. White privilege may mean you can be oblivious to race and racism most of the time—you don’t find yourself acutely aware of your racial identity as you move through the world or worry about how you’ll be received because of it. Being a person of color, on the other hand, may mean you experience people seeing you and treating you according to societal racial scripts assigned to your racial identity. These scripts can clash with the ones you’ve learned from your family. For instance, a Black family may teach their children the value and importance of being Black, yet when their children consume media, they may pick up different messages that being Black is not as good as being White. And there are various coping methods you might use in response. Some of these methods are adaptive (e.g. feeling angry, setting boundaries), and some may be maladaptive (e.g., pretending racism doesn’t exist or that racism you experience doesn’t affect you). Enforcements. In this stage of the cycle, you experience within your personal and other networks (e.g., school, work) the rewards and punishments of the system of racism. The rewards may mean when you don’t challenge racism, you don’t experience distress and you get to feel like you “belong” with people because you didn’t rock the boat and challenge racist social norms. The punishments could include rejection when you do rock the boat. You might lose a friend or family group if you object to a racist comment or act by a loved one; or you might get fired from a job for speaking up or calling attention to racism you experience or witness in the workplace. People of color often experience ongoing racial discrimination, stigma, and prejudice when they try to find work or housing or just be in the world, and they use the range of racial coping strategies they were taught in earlier stages of socialization to cope (e.g., fight back, get angry, pretend it is not happening). White people also experience reinforcement by the system, but their privilege related to being White in the world may be so sanctioned and reinforced that it is not readily apparent and therefore challenging to see. Results. As the cycle of racial socialization continues, you act on and perpetuate racialized societal scripts—believing stereotypes you encounter about other racial groups; shaping your behavior to match what you feel is expected of your racial group; enduring poor treatment you receive because of your racial identity. You may be largely ignorant of what is happening in society with race and racism, or dimly aware of and feeling guilty about it, or fully cognizant of it and feeling stressed. You might also experience overt results of racism, such as harassment, violence, and systemic racism, and covert processes of racism, such as others’ pretending there isn’t a problem of racism in society (which amounts to complicity in racism). My White friend Jenna received a pretty intense racial socialization. She was born into a world of White supremacy where she had advantages. While her parents never explicitly said people of color were less valuable than her White family, they did discourage her from having friends of color over to her house. Her family didn’t have any people of color as friends either—sending an implicit message that being White was different from, and superior to, being a person of color. Jenna went to majority White schools, where she heard people behave in racist ways. Latinx and Asian Americans were “foreigners” and didn’t “belong” here, and being fearful of Black people was considered normal. Moving from the beginning, first socialization, and institutional and cultural socializations, she was rewarded for not questioning these ideas growing up because she “didn’t cause a fuss” in her family, friendships, or school settings. The results of her socialization, however, were painful for her. She didn’t get to develop close relationships with people from different racial groups, and she knew deep inside a lot of the racism she was seeing—even if it was covert—was wrong. So you could say that being socialized as a White person who didn’t exactly endorse racism but also didn’t stand up to it messed with her head quite a bit. My friend Ajei, who is Native American, went through the same stages of racial socialization as an indigenous person with some similar effects—but some entirely different ones, too. Racism and White supremacy were certainly in place before she was born; her tribal lands had been stolen many generations ago, so her family was restricted to the US-designated “reservation.” In her first socialization, her family taught her not to trust White people, who were often the teachers in her schools. The schools on her reservation used books that barely scratched the surface when it came to the history of her tribe, so her institutional socialization was within a White and Western frame. But she was receiving cultural socialization about what it meant to be Navaho in her community, and she loved participating in tribal celebrations and traditions. There were various enforcements in these contexts, in the form of rewards and punishments. Ajei excelled in school, and she was rewarded for learning and regurgitating the knowledge from her White and Western textbooks. When she questioned some of her teachers’ lack of knowledge of Navaho culture and traditions, she was told these were things she would “learn outside of school”—meaning outside of that context. When she left the reservation, she worried about being stopped by the police and harassed by White people in a neighboring community who would talk about her Navaho community in negative ways (e.g., “You are a good Navaho; the others, you can’t trust”). The results of her racial socialization left her with anger, confusion, guilt, sadness, sometimes happiness and comfort, and other conflicting emotions about her own race in a White-dominated world. As you read through the cycle of socialization above and the stories of Jenna and Ajei, you might have seen your own experience mirrored in these stages. Let’s explore your racial socialization in an exercise. Racial Healing Practice What Is My Cycle of Racial Socialization? Respond to the following prompts to explore your stages of racial socialization. It’s okay if you don’t know a lot about your early socialization. In those cases, write about your best guesses of what those racial scripts were. The Beginning—When you are born, racial scripts have already been laid out in the world, and those who raise you carry them out. Write about the racial scripts the people who raised you were operating on. First Socialization—Loved ones and others you are around teach you the typically unwritten and unspoken rules about racial scripts. Racial scripts can also be delivered explicitly through verbal messages about your race or other races. Even the absence of exposure to other races serves as a message. Write about the expectations and norms of racial scripts you were taught. Institutional and Cultural Socialization—Moving outside the circle of people who raised you, you learn about racial scripts from schools, places of worship, health care systems, government systems, and other settings. And you learn racial scripts from your culture, such as the media and culture-specific practices within your cultural group. Write about the conscious and unconscious messages you learned from your racial scripts. Enforcements—You receive rewards for playing along with your racial scripts and punishments for stepping outside of them. Write about how your racial scripts were revised and reinforced through racial privilege, stigma, discrimination, and/or oppression. Results—You are part of the overall system of racism and experience dehumanization. That dehumanization may look like silence, guilt, anger, self-hatred, and even violence or other patterns of disempowerment. What have you experienced as a result of racism and dehumanization? Write about that here. As you completed this Racial Healing Practice, what stage of your socialization was easiest to write about and which one was the most challenging to write about? Did your racial socialization happen mostly through unspoken messages and covert teachings, or was it more in-your-face and hard to escape? According to Harro (1996), the core of the cycle of socialization is fueled by the fear, ignorance, confusion, and insecurity you feel as you learn about what your racial identity means in the world. When you feel these emotions, you tend to stop asking questions that would challenge or question racism—they feel too uncomfortable—and fall back into the racial scripts you are expected to enact. Breaking Out of Racial Socialization: Acts of Freedom and Liberation If racial socialization is the process of learning to be an “adult” in the world of race and racism, then how do you break through some of the ways you have internalized racism? If you look back at Harro’s Cycle of Socialization, there actually is an escape clause after stage 5. As Harro describes it, you can either repeat the racial socialization by taking no action, not stirring the pot by questioning or fighting against the system of racial socialization, and refusing to challenge the status quo, or challenge racial socialization through deciding to make a change. First, you set an intention to resist racial socialization and racism by, to the best of your ability, reeducating yourself about how race and racism works (you will explore this process in chapter 3). Then, you can take this new education to reframe old racial stereotypes and belief patterns, which enables you to interrupt racial socialization and patterns in your thinking, feelings, and behaviors. This workbook is all about the latter, more healing and liberating option: option 2. You learn to restructure your entire racial socialization, entering the integrative awareness schema of racial identity development—where you have a secure and positive sense of your race, understand how racism works, and appreciate other races—and use that new knowledge to act differently in the world and change it. One of my heroes, US Congressional Representative John Lewis of Georgia, often urges people to be “bold, brave, and courageous” and to do what they can “to get in the way.” Of course, if you think back to what you learned in chapter 1 about racial identity development in general for White people and people of color, you know that even if you are in integrative awareness, you can cycle to another part of your racial identity in a heartbeat. You can be cultivating lots of awareness about your racial identity and how racism works in the world, and then something happens. As a White person, you may get called out for making a racially stereotyped assumption—and bam! You feel hurt and retreat into obliviousness, ignoring the fact that racism does exist and that you have White privilege, even if that privilege is not always apparent to you. Or as a person of color, you may end up exhausted by noticing racism in so many parts of your life, so you retreat into obliviousness to just not think about it for a while. Let’s go back to Jenna’s and Ajei’s racial socialization stories to see what a more positive racial socialization might have looked like. Both could have been born into a world that is confronting the existence of racism (to some extent this is true for many communities and in many places in our world!). Their first socialization and institutional and cultural socialization could have included Jenna’s family helping her understand what it means to be White and how to work against White supremacy and Ajei’s family addressing what it means to be a person of color in the context of racism and how to really deal with that and challenge her internalized racism. Jenna’s and Ajei’s schools could have provided them with guidance about race, racism, and racial identity development as well as how to counter racism and engage in making the world a more just place. (To this day, these are rare resources to find in families or schools.) The enforcements for Jenna and Ajei could have been rewards for raising their consciousness about their racial identity, such as receiving encouragement and praise for learning to be an active bystander who can challenge racism when it occurs. Their families, schools, and other institutions could have had a policy of no tolerance of racist ideas and actions. The results could then be confidence, preparedness, and curiosity about their own and other racial groups, with the goal of developing positive racial identities themselves and respect for others’ racial identity and human worth. Complete the next Racial Healing Practice to do some of that intentional restructuring of your racial socialization. Let yourself dig deep in this exercise. This process is part of the road of your racial liberation and healing. So whether you are in an earlier or latter part of your racial identity development, push yourself to identify the parts of your racial socialization that you just gotta question some more to really understand your racial identity and how it influences your way of being in the world and with others. Racial Healing Practice Resocializing My Racial Self In this healing practice, you will go back through the racial socialization model and identify the messages you needed to hear to have a more holistic, truthful, and helpful racial socialization. The Beginning—Write about the world you needed to see, when you were born, in your neighborhood, community, family, and close personal networks regarding race and racism. First Socialization—Write about what you needed parents, families, loved ones, teachers, and others to teach you about how race works in the world, your place in the system, and how you should play out your racial role in larger society. Institutional and Cultural Socialization—Write about the messages you needed to hear from the cultures and institutions around you to move beyond the societal racial scripts assigned to your racial identity. Enforcements—Write about the positive reinforcements you needed from your personal and other networks (e.g., school, work) to be able to comfortably inhabit your racial identity; to identify ongoing racial discrimination, stigma, and prejudice; and to develop a more helpful range of racial coping strategies. Results—Write about the results there could have been if you had experienced a more holistic, helpful, and truthful racial socialization. Include messages you needed to receive to hold on to your humanity and be a part of eradicating racism and healing from it. Identify three main messages you learned from your earlier racial socialization that you would like to change right now. For instance, Jenna might write down that she learned racism was something that “good people” avoid—and ignore—when in reality, it’s something that all of us, “good” or “bad,” are socialized in, capable of, and obligated to challenge. Ajei might write down that she learned her race was something she could affirm and embrace only in certain environments, not something she should be able to inhabit and take pride in anywhere. Write your early racial socialization messages here. Use the additional lines if you want to write more than three. Next, identify three ways you can shift these earlier racial socialization messages; basically, identify ways you can take a stand, reframe racial stereotypes and belief patterns, reeducate yourself, and interrupt racial socialization and patterns in your thinking, feelings, and behaviors. Ajei might write how she can interrupt and correct any internalized negative messages about being Navaho so that she can embrace being Navaho in different environments. Jenna might write about how she began to use White privilege to take a stand against racism and how she could reframe the subtle and overt racist messages she received from her White family and homogenous school environment about race. Write the new messages you’d like to put into practice here. Again, there are a few extra lines in case you feel that you are on a roll right now and want to identify more. How did it feel to reflect on (1) what your racial socialization might have been if it had been carried out in the efforts of ending the system of racism and healing and (2) steps you could take toward that outcome? Did you feel excited, hopeful, motivated and/or sad, lost, angry, worried? Remember that all of these feelings are pretty normal. Interrogating racism requires raising your awareness and knowledge about what it actually is and how it works, not only in the world, but also in your own life. As you make decisions to change, like in the last part of the previous exercise, and learn new skills to achieve that change, you can feel exhausted, tired, and overwhelmed. It may seem like you’ll never be able to “fix” the racism in the world or in your life. But I promise you this. Doing the work of racial healing is way better than doing nothing. Even more so, when you do this work, you put yourself in a long tradition of freedom fighters, rabble-rousers, warriors, and important healers who have used their entire lives to work against racism for their beloved community and the world. Now that’s pretty powerful to think about. Racial Healing Wrap-Up One of the reasons we don’t like to talk about race is because much of what we think we are aware of, believe, think, feel, and do with regard to race is grounded in internalized racism. For White people, this process looks like internalized dominance. Internalized dominance hurts White people, as it is dehumanizing, puts them in a place of inaction a