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Makenzie Van Vooren

Fine arts with a concentration in graphic designAnti-racism is:

Anti-racism is the conscious act of challenging the learned racism in your head and taking actions that counteract racist systems.

My Anti-Racism Journey Feels Never-ending

My anti-racism journey began in community college when I took an African American history course with a friend. This class helped me understand that societies use racism to seize power; using race to justify taking control from another person is a racist act that runs through America's history.

After transferring to CSUF, I took two Asian American studies classes that also challenged my perception of the world. Understanding negative portrayals of Asian Americans in the media to strip them of power mixed with unrealistic expectations of being the "model minority" were racist ideas and actions.

How I felt this past summer — when the powder keg of years of Black people's murders at the hands of police officers exploded — was a mix of rage and helplessness. My education from ethnic studies classes supplied me with the knowledge I needed to use. Understanding how vital local action is and practicing radical empathy was pivotal in my anti-racism journey.

As I write this, I have just finished reading an article about the rise in Asian American hate crimes in Vancouver. There is no way to separate my anti-racism journey from my own identity and experience as an Asian American.

I am a half white, half Filipino queer woman, but the Black American experience is something I will never fathom. My anti-racism journey feels never-ending, and that is how it will be until racist thoughts and actions are a thing of the past.

Makenzie Van Vooren is a fine arts major studying graphic design and is a student assistant in the Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Programs. In her quest for self-discovery and education, understanding the complexities of race is not easy or safe but necessary.

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