Making a Difference
Working with white women's organizations has taught me a lot. It has given me the opportunity to learn about feminism and see how gender and not only race and class affects my life and helps to define who I am. I see now that it is not enough to fight against racism and classism but that patriarchy is a very real oppression which like racism and classism has many different and far reaching forms.
To be an anti-racist educator is not an easy task. At the heart of the work is the belief in the equality of human dignity and the commitment to forward social change. These ideals, while high and noble, are difficult to put into practice. I constantly face denial that racism exists. Even when it is acknowledged, individuals often don't want to change the status quo to eliminate it.
Racism is everywhere. In art, language, music, television, sports, culture, entertainment... Every action sometimes to me seems motivated by racism. Often I get discouraged and wonder why I do what I do. Then I remember that my work allows me to learn and to grow. And as I get farther and farther along I can see that-although real, lasting change takes a long time-I am making a difference.
Beryl Tsang is a senior program consultant in Multicultural and Anti-racist Services of the Addiction Research Foundation. She has worked as an anti-racist educator for several years.