Transfer center coordinator, Office of Outreach and RecruitmentAnti-racism is:
“Anti-racism is not only acknowledging the existence of racial hatred, bias, systemic racism and the oppression of marginalized groups, but it is also taking an active stand against such heinous acts.”
Our Anti-Racism Journey Requires We all Have an Open Mind
My journey to anti-racism started at a young age.
I grew up in a home where I was taught to treat everyone with fairness, equality, love and to be proud of my Black heritage. My parents taught me that I was not better than anyone because of my skin color, nor was I inferior.
As a person of color growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in Orange County, I became very aware that I looked different from my peers. It was common for me to be the only Black person in my classroom and, as I grew older, the only Black person in the workplace.
My earliest conversations about racism started as a youth when I began learning about the history of slavery in the United States. I learned about how my ancestors were demeaned, oppressed and treated with cruelty, which caused me to experience anger and sadness.
Why someone would view themselves as superior simply because their skin was lighter was a concept I couldn’t understand. I began to understand how slavery still plays a role in the racial tensions and injustices experienced by many Black people.
When I consider our current racial climate, it is clear that we have not come as far as many believe we have in ending racism. Our anti-racism journey will not be an easy one, and there is much work to be done.
The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it exists.
Our first step must be to acknowledge that a racial problem exists. Part of this process will require a willingness to have difficult, uncomfortable and honest conversations about racism.
We have avoided that conversation for far too long.
Through sharing our experiences with racism, acknowledging our biases and privileges and listening with open minds, I think we can learn from one other and move toward positive change.
Christin Johnson is a transfer center coordinator at Cal State Fullerton in the Office of Outreach and Recruitment. She is a member of the CSUF Black Excellence Care Group which aims to find ways to better support current Black Titans and improve the university’s efforts in the recruitment of Black students.