How to Be Less Racist at Reclaiming Events
(originally shared as How to Be Less Racist at Witchcamps)
By Rachel Yuriko Noelani Yukimura
When first meeting someone, don't immediately ask them about their race or ethnicity.
Those kinds of conversations often require the trust of an ongoing relationship.
When people of color (POC) create groups and events that exclude white people, do remember that we need separate spaces in order to feel safe, often because we feel marginalized in majority-white spaces, like this event.
If a POC opens up to you about their background, do remember that they are an individual human being, and do not make generalizations or assumptions about them or their identities.
Do not sexualize or fetishize POC or their identities.
Do not expect POC to educate you about racism. If you have a question about race or racism, do ask a fellow white person who has done work in these areas, do attend an optional offering about anti-racism, and do ask questions of POC who have explicitly offered their knowledge and perspective.
Do remember that reverse-racism does not exist. Prejudice can occur in any direction, but racism is institutional, and we live in a country founded on white supremacy.
Do address racism when you see it. If someone does or says something racist, you might pull them aside and have a conversation about it. Even if they respond defensively, you have planted a seed of awareness that will hopefully lead to more respectful behavior in the future.
If you are told your behavior had a negative impact, do take a deep breath and apologize without excuses. Even if you had good intentions, it is important to acknowledge your impact.
Do remember that being anti-racist is a life-long process. We were all raised in a racist overculture and must overcome deeply ingrained conditioning. Do not expect to be perfect, and do remember that the work and learning are never done.
Thanks for listening/ reading!
Rachel Yuriko Noelani Yukimura has been involved with Reclaiming since 2011, when she attended her first witchcamp (Free Cascadia Witchcamp). Since that time she has become a member of the California Witchcamp community, and a teacher at Teen Earth Magic. A devotee of the Ishtar-Aphrodite-Mary Magdalene lineage, Rachel is a proud sex worker and a Surrogate Partner Therapy practitioner, and lives on Nisenan land in Sacramento, CA with her tiny terrier, Asha, and her rosy boa constrictor, Clementine.