“If you’re not talking about power, then you’re really not doing racial equity work or inclusive work.” ~Brit Holmberg
Brit Holmberg, MSW, LCSW, is a staff therapist at The Wellness Center of Loyola University and a longtime colleauge. He’s also the co-creator, alongside his colleague Marion Malcome MSW, LCSW, of “Becoming An Anti-Racist Social Worker”.
Use of that hyphenate is critical to this conversation. Not racist is easy but anti-racist? That’s where the real work sits and, spoiler alert: it never ends. As Brit explains, supporting the radical social changes Black people and people of color demand – and deserve – requires white allies to embark upon a life-long process of unlearning and decentering.
Designed in 2013, the workshop challenges practitioners to identify and address implicit biases against clients who identify as Black or POC. The exercises can make for some powerful, often uncomfortable discoveries; the micro-aggressions committed almost daily as well as the policy initiatives that have blindly fostered a supremacist agenda. As challenging as the realizations are, they lay the foundation for substantive change.
“These workshops,” Brit says, “just kind of create a space where people can start to talk about their experience [with] race and racism in this country. And that alone is the beginning of the healing process.”
So what does a CIS HET guy know about racism? Glad you asked. Brit is clear on this point: he’s not one of racism’s intended victims. Instead, his mission is to make inroads with people who, like him, have long been the beneficiaries of white supremacist culture.
Does that make him a healer, wounded or otherwise? You’ll have to listen in to hear what Brit thinks about my favorite question. The process of becoming an anti-racist, though? That’s transformative healing for those on both sides of that equation.
Brit offers these excellent suggestions for your anti-racist syllabus:
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard To Talk To White People About Racism – by Robin DiAngelo
Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria? – by Beverly Daniel Tatum
White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible White Knapsack – by Peggy McIntosh
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness – by Austin Channing Brown
Code Switch Podcast – NPR
Brit Holmberg (he/him, they/them) is a passionate community organizer, educator, and mental health practitioner who seeks to disrupt white supremacy culture and promote anti-racism at both the clinical and organizational levels. Brit lives with his family in Chicago, IL.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
CONTACT BRIT HOLMBERG:
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