21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge©
“There is no social change fairy. There is only the change made by the hands of individuals.” –Winona LaDuke
© 2014 All Rights Reserved America & Moore, LLC
Have you ever made a successful change in your life? Perhaps you wanted to exercise more, eat less, or change jobs? Think about the time and attention you dedicated to the process. A lot, right? Change is hard. Creating effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of power, privilege, supremacy and leadership is like any lifestyle change. Setting our intentions and adjusting what we spend our time doing is essential. It’s all about building new habits. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. The good news is, there’s an abundance of resources just waiting to empower you to be a more effective player in the quest for equity and justice. Please use this plan just as it is, or adapt it to a sector, an ethnic/racial group, or interest area. *
Choose one activity per day
further your understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity.
Tips For Success
- Use the tracking chart provided below to stay on course. You can drag the image to your desktop and print, or you can access a digital version here and copy it for editing.
- We think understanding white privilege is a powerful lens into the complexities of doing social justice work, so we’ve focused our resources on that specific issue.
- Adaptable to all forms of social justice.
- Can be done individually, with friends and family, or organization-wide.
- Like our Facebook page. Use it to get ideas as well as share your 21-Day experience with the 21-Day community.
- Diversify your habits by doing some of each.
* For adaptation ideas and examples of how communities are adapting the challenge to meet their specific social justice focus, click HERE.
How White People Got Made, by Quinn Norton, exploring where the term “white people” comes from and which ethnic groups have and have not been able to become “white” through US history.
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack and other essays, Groundbreaking 1989 essay by Peggy McIntosh who lists the ways she’s beginning to recognize the way white privilege operates in her life.
Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, raised “the kind of poor that people don’t want to believe still exists in this country,” explores where race and class do and don’t intersect and how she’s come to understand her own white privilege.
The Injustice of This Moment Is not an ‘Aberration,’ Michelle Alexander contextualizes the US’s 2020 state of racism/white supremacy as an inevitable outcome of a collective narrative steeped in denial.
White Fragility, Groundbreaking 2011 article by Robin DiAngelo, which led to a 2018 book of the same title, exploring why it can be so hard for white people to talk about race, and how the resulting silence and defensiveness functions to hold racial dynamics and racial oppression in place.
Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap, 2017 study by Amy Traub, Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Mescheded, & Tom Shapiro analyzing the racial wealth gap that exists between white, black, and Latino households.
White mom to racists: ‘Don’t use my child to further your hate-filled ignorance,’ Rev. Edith Love models allyship in an article written in response to online racial abuse arising from her white teen son’s recent attack by a group of young teens who are black.
White Fragility in Students, A call to action by Teaching While White founders Jenna Chandler-Ward and Elizabeth Denevi who share their experience in school after school where white students and adults lack the knowledge or skill to navigate racism and conversations about it and how that white deficit impacts students of color.
21 Racial Microaggressions You Hear on a Daily Basis, Using a series of photographs by photographer Kiyum Kim, Heben Nigatu, elaborates on the term “microagression.” Note that Ibram X. Kendi, in his recent book How To Be An Anti Racist, calls us to consider using the term “racist abuse” as a more descriptive alternative.
Guide to Allyship, Created by Amélie Lamont this site strives to be an ever-evolving and growing open source guide meant to provide you with the resources for becoming a more effective ally.
From Alt-Right to Groyper, White Nationalists Rebrand For 2020 And Beyond, Report authored by the Institute For Research And Education On Human Rights (IREHR) on white nationalist marketing strategy known as “groyper.”
People of colour have to ‘code-switch’ to fit in with white norms, from a longer series taking an in-depth look at racism in the UK in 2020 this article focuses on the double bind of code-switching. What is it? What toll does it take? What is the cost of not code-switching?
Teaching While White, hosted by longtime educators Jenna Chandler-Ward and Elizabeth Denevi, TWW’s podcast focuses on how whiteness shows up in the education sector and what anti-racist educators are doing to challenge that. Episodes feature different nationally renowned anti-racist educator guests. (any episode – times vary)
All My Relations, hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) this podcast “explores indigeneity in all its complexity.” Episodes focus on issues such as DNA identity, appropriation, feminism, food sovereignty, gender, sexuality, and more while “keeping it real, playing games, laughing a lot, and even crying sometimes.” (any episode – one-ish hour each)
Code Switch, hosted by journalists Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji, both people of color, this podcast is curated by a team of NPC journalists of color who navigate the complexities of race, both professionally and personally, daily. Episodes focus on a wide range of issues overlapping race, ethnicity,and culture. (any episode – times vary)
Breakdances with Wolves Podcast, hosted by Gyasi Ross, Wesley (“Snipes Type”) Roach, and Minty LongEarth, “a few Natives with opinions and a platform.” Episodes report on current events through an indigenous perspective.(any episode – one-ish hour each)
Black Like Me, host Dr. Alex Gee “invites you to experience the world through the perspective of one Black man, one conversation, one story, or even one rant at a time.” (any episode – times vary)
Scene on Radio – Seeing White Series, host John Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika explore Whiteness over the course of 14 episodes. Where does it come from? What does it mean? Why does it exist? (Episode S2 E1: Turning the Lens – 16 minutes)
On Point Radio – Oklahoma To Incorporate 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Into Statewide School Curriculum host David Folkenflik interviews Tulsans about the 1921 “Black Wall Street” race massacre and recent efforts to integrate it into the Oklahoma education system. (46 minutes)
TED Radio Hour – Mary Bassett: How Does Racism Affect Your Health? host Guy Raz speaks with Dr. Mary T. Bassett, Director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University about how and why race affects the medical attention you receive, your baby’s chances of living, and even life expectancy. (12 minutes)
Here & Now – Without Slavery, Would The U.S. Be The Leading Economic Power? host Jeremy Hobson explores with Edward Baptist, author of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, how slavery established the United States as a world economic power. (15 minutes)
NPR Morning Edition – You Cannot Divorce Race From Immigration journalist Rachel Martin talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas for a response to a story in The Atlantic, written by David Frum, proposing the U.S. cut legal immigration by half. (6 minutes)
BBC Radio 5 live – The Sista Collective – Created and hosted by BBC producer Jessie Aru-Phillips, each season showcases the depth of Black British talent. (any episode – one-ish hour each)
You could also choose a song from the Soundtrack4Justice playlist below.
Short, Coffee Break Length
This is Us, Dr. Eddie Glaude explains why blaming current racial tensions on Donald Trump misses the point. (3 minutes)
The Iroquois Influence on the Constitution, Host and producer of First Voices Indigenous Radio Tiokasin Ghosthorse explains the sequestering of two Iroquois chiefs to advise in the writing of the U.S. Constitution. (4 minutes)
Racism is Real, A split-screen video depicting the differential in the white and black lived experience. (3 minutes)
Confronting ‘intergroup anxiety’: Can you try to hard to be fair? Explores why we may get tongue tied and blunder when we encounter people from groups unfamiliar to us. (5 minutes)
I Didn’t Tell You, Ever wonder what a day in the life of a person of color is like? Listen to this poem, written and spoken by Norma Johnson. (7 minutes)
CBS News Analysis: Students May Be Miseducation About Black History, Ibram X. Kendi reviews current history curriculum production and use across the U.S. (5 minutes)
The Disturbing History of the Suburbs, An Adam Ruins Everything episode that quickly and humorously educates how redlining came to be. (6 minutes)
New York Times Op-Docs on Race, Multiple videos with a range of racial and ethnic perspectives on the lived experience of racism in the US. (each video about 6 minutes)
Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story, Robin DiAngelo explains the function of white fragility in maintaining racial hierarchy. (7 minutes)
White Bred, Excellent quick intro to how white supremacy shapes white lives and perception. (5 minutes)
What Kind of Asian Are You? Humorous two minute youtube video that illustrates the utter silliness of the way many white Americans interact with Asian Americans. (2 minutes)
What Would You Do?: Bicycle Thief Episode ABC’s popular show explores the impact of racial and gender bias and prejudice at a family friendly park. Before this video, would you have anticipated this differential treatment? https://youtu.be/ge7i60GuNRg
Medium, Lunch Break Length
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race, TEDx talk by Jay Smooth that suggests a new way to think about receiving feedback on our racial blindspots. (12 minutes)
What Being Hispanic and Latinx Means in the United States, Fernanda Ponce shares what she’s learning about the misunderstanding and related mistreatment of the incredibly diverse ethnic category people in U.S. call Hispanic. (12 minutes)
Indigenous People React to Indigenous Representation in Film And TV, Conversation with a diverse range of Indigenous people by FBE about media depictions of Indigenous people, Columbus day, and Indigenous identity. (15 minutes)
How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time, TED Talk by Baratunde Thurston that explores patterns revealing our racist framing, language, and behaviors. (10 minutes)
The urgency of intersectionality, TED Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw that asks us to see the ways Black women have been invisibilized in the law and in media. (19 minutes)
The danger of a single story, TED Talk by Chimamanda Adiche, offers insight to the phenomenon of using small bits of information to imagine who a person is. (18 minutes)
How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them, TED Talk by Vernā Myers, encourages work vigorously to counter balance bias by connecting with and learning about and from the groups we fear. (19 minutes)
Hip hop, grit, and academic success, TEDx Talk by Dr. Bettina Love, explains how students steeped in Hip Hop culture, often seen as deficient, actually bring the very characteristics deemed necessary for 21st century success. (15 minutes)
Long, Sit On the Couch Length
When they see us, Four-part Netflix series by Ava DuVernay about the wrongful incarceration and ultimate exoneration of the “Central Park Five.” (four 1+ hour episodes)
13th, Netflix documentary by Ava DuVernay about the connection between US Slavery and the present day mass incarceration system. (1 hour 40 minutes)
Slavery by Another Name, 90 minutes PBS documentary challenges the idea that slavery ended with the emancipation proclamation. (90 minutes)
Unnatural Causes, Seven part documentary by California Newsreel that explores the impact of racism on health and US healthcare. (4 hours total, episodes have variable lengths)
Birth of a White Nation, Keynote speech by legal scholar Jacqueline Battalora, offers a blow-by-blow description of the moment the idea of, and word for, “white” people entered U.S. legal code. (36 minutes)
In The White Man’s Image PBS documentary about the Native American boarding school movement designed to “kill the Indian and save the man.” (56 minutes)
Race: The Power of an Illusion, Three-part, three-hour film by California Newsreel exploring the biology of skin color, the concept of assimilation, and the history of institutional racism. (three 1 hour episodes)
Once people start to learn about white privilege and America’s systems of oppression through history, they often ask, “Why didn’t I see this sooner?” It’s easy to overlook what we’re not looking for. Once you understand the phenomenon of selective noticing, take yourself on a noticing adventure.
1) Start by watching the Test Your Awareness: Do The Test
2) Then…go out in the world and change up what you notice. Here’s some of what you might look for:
- Who is and is not represented in ads?
- Who are your ten closest friends? What is the racial mix in this group?
- As you move through the day, what’s the racial composition of the people around you? On your commute? At the coffee shop you go to? At the gym? At your workplace? At the show you go on the weekend?
- What percentage of the day are you able to be with people of your own racial identity?
- Notice how much of your day you are speaking about racism. Who are you engaging with on these issues? Who are you not? Why do you think this is?
- What are the last five books you read? What is the racial mix of the authors?
- What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?
- What is the racial mix of people pictured in the photos and artwork in your home? In your friend, family, and colleagues’ homes?
- Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world? (e.g. Who’s the store manager and who’s stocking the shelves? Who’s waiting on tables and who’s busing the food?) Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?
- Who do you notice on magazine covers? What roles are people of color filling in these images?
- If you’re traveling by car, train, or air, do you notice housing patterns? How is housing arranged? Who lives near the downtown commerce area and who does not? Who lives near the waterfront and who does not? Who lives in industrial areas and who does not? What is the density of a given neighborhood? Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?
Follow Racial Justice activists, educators, and organizations on social media. Here are some ideas to get you started. A good way to widen your circle of who you follow is to check out who these organizations follow, quote, repost, and retweet.
Colours of Us
Privilege to Progress
Black Minds Matter
Teaching While White
White Nonsense Roundup
Conversations with White People: Talking about race (Facebook Group)
Racial Equity Tools
So many more you’ll discover!
Google who’s who in your area by typing in ‘Racial Justice” or “Anti-Racist/m” + name of city/town, organization, or sector. A few website visits, emails, and phone calls later, you’ll likely have an idea of how to get on the mailing of one or more organizations in your area who are addressing issues of power and privilege. Once you connect to one, it’s easy to connect to many!
Join your Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) organization if there’s one in your area.
Research racial justice speakers and see who might be coming to your local university, church, community center, or speaker series.
Take a course or workshop. Community Colleges and Adult Education Centers are a great place to find a course about social justice issues.
This can be the hardest part for people new to racial justice work. Engaging in racially mixed settings can trigger age-old power and privilege dynamics. The goal is to be a learner more than a knower, exactly the opposite of what dominant U.S. culture teaches us to be.
Here are some Engagement Tips to guide you:
- Enter the process to learn and bridge knowledge gaps.
- Enter the process to practice mindful social habits like the ones below.
- Stay engaged even when your mind and body start sending you signals to shrink or walk away.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Acknowledge what you don’t know.
- Validate others by listening closely and believing the truth and importance of what they are sharing.
- Share airtime so that multiple perspectives are shared.
- Step Up Step Back. If you are generally quiet, step up and practice speaking more. If you are generally a talker, practice stepping back and listening more.
- Notice your biases and judgments as they arise. These are gold for you to excavate your subconscious!
- Notice when you are uncomfortable. Reflect on why you’re uncomfortable and think about what you can do to build more emotional stamina in this area.
- Honor confidentiality. Though you can share what you are learning in general terms, do not repeat stories in a way that can be traced back to the person who shared it.
- Find a mentor within your own racial group to support and guide your growth.
Though many people want to jump to action sooner instead of later, action without a vigorous self-education and self-reflection practice can unexpectedly reproduce the very power and privilege dynamics we seek to interrupt in this work. Here are a few actions that you might consider:
- Invite friend(s), family, and/or colleagues to do the 21-Day Challenge with you.
- Prepare yourself to interrupt racial jokes. Click HERE for some advice about how.
- Interrupt the pattern of white silence by speaking openly with family, friends, and colleagues about what you’re doing and learning in the 21-Day Challenge.
- Invite friend(s), family, and/or colleagues to join you for one or more of your daily “to-do’s” for a low-threshold invitation into the work and introduction to the 21-Day Challenge.
- Find out if your school, workplace, or faith group has an Equity Committee. What can you learn from them? Are they open to new members? Join if you can. Support in other ways if you can’t.
- Find organizations such as The Privilege Institute, your local YWCA, and other non-profits doing racial justice work and support them through donating your time, money, and other resources.
- When the status quo is racist, disrupt it. No matter how big or small put yourself out there to create change. No need to wait until you are comfortable disrupting; it may never get comfortable, though you will get better at managing discomfort! Examples from participants include:
- Requiring administration to change the name of a dodgeball team from “The Cottonpickers”
- Improving the representation of books in the library by raising funds and purchasing hundreds of new books
- Conducting an equity audit within the organization
- Creating learning communities to set goals, objectives, and action plans
- Disrupting inappropriate language by offering alternative language you yourself are learning
- Speaking, emailing, and posting about articles, blogs, movies, and this 21-Day Challenge that you find impactful. Let people know you are not neutral!
Reflecting and Journaling is a crucial piece of the challenge. Plan to take time every day to reflect on what you choose to do, what you’re learning, and how you are feeling. Difficult emotions such as shame and anger, though uncomfortable to feel, can guide you to deeper self-awareness about how power and privilege impacts you and the people in your life. At the very least, use the “Reflect” space on the below tracking tool.
Create a Soundtrack4Justice playlist that fuels you and/or can serve as a conversation starter with people of all ages.
Ain’t Got No, I Got Life / Nina Simone
Baltimore / Nina Simone
Be Free / J Cole
Blended Family / Alicia Keys
Blue Bucket of Gold/Gallant X Sufjan Stevens
Born This Way / Lady Gaga
Brave / Sara Bareilles
Colors in Bloom / Lex Allen ft. Taj Raiden
Fight the Power / Public Enemy
Fight Song / Rachel Platten
Formation / Beyonce
For The Kids / Homeboy Sandman
Four Women / Nina Simone
Give Your Hands to Struggle / Sweet Honey in the Rock
Get Up, Stand Up / Bob Marley
Good As Hell / Lizzo
Hijabi / Mona Hayder
If It’s Magic / Stevie Wonder
Keep Your Head Up / Tupac
Love’s In Need of Love Today / Stevie Wonder
Living for the City / Stevie Wonder
Mercedes Benz / Janis Joplin
Ne Me Quitte Pas / Nina Simone
People Get Ready / Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions
Rich Girl / Nina Simone
Roar / Katy Perry
Same As It Ever Was/Michael Franti & Spearhead
Same Love / Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Save Me / Nina Simone
Stay Human / Michael Franti & Spearhead
Super Rich Kids / Frank Ocean
Strength, Courage & Wisdom / India Arie
The 10 Stop and Frisk Commandments / Jasiri X
The Colour in Anything / James Blake
Try / Colbie Caillat
We The People / Tribe Called Quest
Try Everything / Shakira
Where Is The Love / Black Eyed Peas
White Privilege / Mackelmore
White Privilege II / Macklemore
Whitey on the Moon / Gil Scott-Heron
Stand 4 What / Nick Cannon
This Is America / Childish Gambino
To Be Young Gifted and Black, Nina Simone