Below is a sketchnote created from the text of an article titled “Nothing to Add: A Challenge to White Silence in Racial Discussions” by Robin Diangelo. This doodle is a partial summary of a few points that stuck out during my read, and I highly recommend reading the full article. The full text of the article that this sketchnote is based on can be found at: wpcjournal.org. Here’s a direct link to the free PDF of the article.

Text and concepts are the work of Robin DiAngelo, author of the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. If you’d like to download a free PDF version of this sketch note, you can do so at the bottom of this page.

 

A sketchnote by Lindsay Braman of an article on white silence by Robin Diangelo

 

Text for the Instagram Post of this Image:

“White silence protects white power” – @diangelorobin There’s a lot of info in this doodle, but trust me, it’s worth zooming in on. I’ll post an easier to read version via the link in my profile in a few minutes (plus a link to the source article more accessible for text-to-audio users)

It’s been hard to process, think, speak, this week, but reviewing this doodle from one of my grad school classes helped me remember that to not speak is to use my privilege to collude with oppressive systems. So, I’m listening, talking, reading, and growing through feedback this week. Check out my stories or the link in my profile for more info and resources I’d like to point you to.

Download the PDF: 

If you are learning, researching, and listening as you grow your capacity to speak up in conversations about race and social justice, you can make a meaningful impact in the meantime by supporting organizations on the frontlines of this work.
Donations will never replace the responsibility of white people, like me, to do our work in dismantling internalized bias and externally oppressive systems, but it can help further the work of others at the same time as we do our own work.
Some organizations on the ground in Minneapolis include:
A sketchnote by Lindsay Braman of an article on white silence by Robin Diangelo

Part 2: Racism Isn’t A Binary Illustration

Doodle that reads: "How I thought racism worked before anti-racism education" with a check box below with the text "Are you racist? Yes, No" Below is more text that reads: "How I think racism works now:" with a spectrum inside a box that reads (end, middle, end): "Anti-racism, where most people who deny any racism probably are, over racism."

There’s so much I don’t feel qualified to speak to on the topic of anti-racism, and so many critical nuances that this doodle skips over, but here’s what I want to say from my own experience:

Racism isn't a binary, it's a spectrum

When my thinking about racism moved past a judgment-loaded yes/no binary to an understanding that racism is a spectrum that we are all on, it helped me move from defensiveness (“That’s not me! No! Never!”) toward the capacity to be a better listener, curiosity about my unconscious biases, critical thinking about the ways my race has privileged me in many systems, and willingness to engage in the conversation – because if I mess up or get called out, it’s an opportunity to learn and move along the spectrum, instead of something to be ashamed of.

Download this 2 page doodle as a PDF:

 

Recommended Reading

There are so many good resources for non-fiction anti-racist reading lists, including one from The New York Times, one from the Center for Racial Justice in Education, and the Social Justice Training Institute. Part of why I am a believer in the power of stories is because I personally have gained valuable perspective through fiction and alternative nonfiction (like memoirs and narrative history texts). I’m including some of those resources below:

Fiction Books:

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (historical fiction)

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Stewart Paton (Classic. Racism in 1940’s South Africa)

Alternate-Format Non-Fiction

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (memoir)

A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki  (highly engaging book on aspects of American history neglected by most history textbooks – there’s also an easier to read version aimed at kids but that is accessible for adults at various reading levels.)

Other Resources:

A Challenge to White Silence in Racial Discussions by Robin Diangelo

Playlist of Ted Talks on Racial Justice 

 

 

Image description for screen readers:
This post is centered around a sketch note doodle with content provided by Robin DeAngelo & Understanding & Dismantling Privilege Journal.

The sketch note, which is colored in green, black, and white reads:

“Nothing to Add” A challenge to white silence in racial discussions.

Loud voices in racial discussions get attention as problematic, but silence harms. 

What is whiteness? 1. A location of advantage, 2. A standpoint from which white people view self, other, and community, 3. A set of cultural practices usually unmarked and unnamed. 

Race is process and practices; not just skin color. Being white is rights, values, beliefs, perspectives, and experiences that we often claim are shared, but are really only consistently available to white people. 

“Race is never not at play.” -R. Dyer

White silence protects white power. 

Common reasons why we choose silence: 

  1. “I feel intimidated” – the fear may be very real, but silence perpetuates own fear and privilege. 
  2. “I already know this” – says: I have nothing to learn from you.
  3. “I don’t want to be misunderstood” – to not speak because of this fear is to protect pride and perspective from expanding.
  4. “I’m uninformed; I’ll just listen” – you are present as a person with race. Your experience matters. Share “here and now’ experiences.
  5. “I need time” – deflecting of vulnerability. Time is privilege. 
  6. “I don’t feel safe” – ask: is the fear for safety or for comfort?
  7. “I’m just quiet” – seeing yourself as an individual and exercising the option to remain silent is privilege. It is saying to a POC: “Adapt to me.”
  8. “I don’t have anything to add” – your voice matters. Speaking even just to affirm validates those who have been vulnerable. 
  9. “I don’t want to dominate” – be aware but vulnerable and flexible; refusal to join creates ineffective passivity.

Key ideas: common reasons white people choose not to engage in racial discussions & how this silence can maintain power if not part of an anti-racist framework. Silence must be challenged. 

Read more @ wpcjournal.com

Through Patreon, you can get instant access to download all printable PDFs, licensing for professional use, and early releases- all while supporting the creation of more psychoeducational resources like this.

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