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Anti-Racism Workshop, Racism and Privilege Discussion, Community Anti-Racism Education, Understanding Systemic Racism

Anti-Racism Work is Never Done

anti-racism Mar 28, 2024

The work of anti-racism is never done. It’s not something on our to-do list that we can simply tick off. The learning is ongoing. 

So when The Red Rattler and Addi Rd offered an Anti-Racism Workshop last week, I felt called to attend. I also felt like running away at the lunch break for a split second. And I’m so glad I didn’t.

Gloria Tabi shared her work with us generously. From Struggle to Strength: How a Black Woman Turned Her Pain into Purpose. In her video diary, she is standing in the corridor of a European-built castle on the Ghanaian coast. Here, during the Transatlantic slave trade, able-bodied Ghanaians of all ages were imprisoned. They were then forced onto slave ships bound for the Americas. Gloria captures the moment her pain turns into her purpose. She commits to continuing her work in anti-racism research for the rest of her life.

The Transatlantic slave trade had a deep and lasting impact on Ghana. It stripped the country of resources - both human and material. What followed was generations of poverty, debt, and illness. African people forced into slavery around the world were cut off with no way to trace their roots. 

Ghana broke free from British colonial rule on March 6, 1957. It became the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence from colonialism.

Gloria continued her academic research into racism. Interested in the roots of racism as a systemic issue, she says,

“Racism is a system of power and advantage based on whiteness.”

Its layers include systemic, institutional, interpersonal and internalised.

To show how privilege works, Gloria handed us each a sheet of newspaper. Upon instruction, we scrunched up the paper and wrote our name on it. The game was to throw our paper into a box next to Gloria. Those who landed in the box got a lucky prize.

There were no changing seats. We had to throw the paper from wherever we happened to be sitting.

And that’s what privilege is. It’s not earned. You get it by doing nothing not because you worked harder than someone else. So you can’t feel bad about it. It just is.

So many stories and research focus on the interpersonal layer of racism. Gloria urges us to understand the systemic layer of racism and go to work there. Lean on anti-racism educators and researchers. Stop leaning on the lived experiences of people around you. It’s not their job to educate, fix or work this out for white people.

After lunch, we met Mohammad Tabbaa, a criminologist, trauma management specialist and therapist'. He led us through an embodied experience of the damage of racism. 

Discrimination, he said, is a fact of life. Sometimes you’re in the front of the queue, sometimes you’re at the back of the queue. 

But there are other questions to ask. We each chose a chess piece that Mohammad had laid out on the table. Why did we choose that piece? We talked about the characteristics of each piece.

What we missed was the question, which board are we playing on? What would it look like if we had a different board?

Is this board set up for me to fail or to succeed?

Is this board set up for me to not be myself or for me to be myself fully?

On the current board where we play the game of life, people become fragmented. We have different selves that show up in different situations or areas of our lives. BIPOC people can only show up in fragmented parts of themselves. And this is the real impact of racism.

Racism beyond identity and systems, is deeply embedded in trauma. It reflects a fragmented self and then asks what’s your problem? That answer to which is, I don’t know who I am. Reflective therapy is a way to heal from this trauma.

Mohammad uses reflective therapy in many contexts and often in Healing Circles.

Check out their work:

Gloria Tabi, CEO of Everyday Inclusion

Gloria’s family consists of Black, and white ancestry by marriage, which gives her a broad understanding and lived experience of both sides of the spectrum. She brings well-grounded knowledge and experience of the impacts presented in race and gender identities.

After years of experiencing racial discrimination and sexism in the workplace, Gloria decided to use her pain for purpose by enhancing her education and knowledge of why racism occurs, and now she helps business leaders see the disconnect between the inclusiveness they aspire for their organization, and the reality experienced by their under-privileged employees.

Gloria is the author of Inclusive Teams & Workplaces: Everyone Wins!! 

She wrote this book to assist leaders become aware of the unique racial barriers faced by some of their staff and how to fix it. Gloria established Everyday Inclusion to work with leaders to achieve inclusivity for their workplace. Gloria is also Co-founder of VoiceEverydayRacism which gives a platform for those on the receiving end of workplace exclusion to voice these issues for leaders to learn.

Her research specialises in Social Analysis on Inequalities and Anti-Racism.

Gloria is passionate about helping businesses reach inclusivity that support people and future-proof business. With over thirty-years of experiences in Project Management, Recruitment, Employment, Student Mentorship, Customer Service and Sales Gloria’s ability to engage, negotiate and build worthwhile relationships across diversity, clients and demographics are her greatest skills.

Mohamed Tabbaa @elemental.reflection.therapy

Mohamad Tabbaa is a Criminologist working closely with communities across Australia over the past 20 years. His work has focused on truth-telling as a way of life, and exploring intersections between speech, truth and violence. Mohamad is the founder of Elemental Reflection Therapy, and The Muslim Advocacy Project (MAP). 



P.S. Thank you to The Red Rattler and Addi Rd for putting on this invaluable workshop.

Hello my friend, 🌈 I'm Danica Lani, here to empower you in your exploration of gender, sexuality, and performance. Known as The King Coach, I have proudly mentored, choreographed, and produced 106 first-time Drag Kings since December 2020 and built the uplifting Kings of Joy community. With decades of coaching and facilitation, I've led transformative workshops for hundreds of queer-identifying women, non-binary, and trans individuals, specialising in tantra within a queer context. My mission is that we can be 100% at home in our own skin.

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