How to be Less Stupid About Race

By Brianna Lopez and Lori Huertas

Photo Credit to Ashley Mobley

Working knowledge about race and racial history is a powerful tool to further an anti-racist practice as Barry University students, faculty, staff members or alumni.

This Black History Month, a book on the South Florida People of Color’s radar is Crystal M. Fleming's 2018 book,  How to Be Less Stupid About Race.

The book outlines misconceptions that people perpetuate in the classroom, in the music industry, on television, and in government.

According to Fleming, here are six concepts to challenge our perceptions about race.

The KKK is hardly the problem anymore.

Photo Credit to Ashley Mobley

White supremacy did not begin nor end with the white sheet-donning, Negro-lynching Ku Klux Klan. Fleming claims that white supremacy has been a “social cancer” in our reality for centuries. It has “infiltrate[d] our institutions, laws, and cultural representations.” So, if you think that white supremacists are radicals, think again. She points out that “white systematically maintained by hundreds of millions of ordinary people, as well as by everyday institutional practices that protect the racial order.”

In order to be less stupid about race, Fleming suggests we must first understand that white supremacy is built into our American society and that it’s not a practice maintained by the worst people in our society.

Such systemic racism may be tough to notice.  See this article for examples.

Just because you haven’t experienced racism, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

BU Student Antonia Mobley. Photo Credit to Ashley Mobley.

This is what Fleming calls the gaslighting fallacy. One should not try to discount racism because they do not struggle with it. This sort of mentality keeps the bar for “intelligent racial discourse” very low, according to Fleming. Often, people get credit for just acknowledging that systemic racism exists because so much time is spent denying this fact.

Being less stupid about race means acknowledging that doing the bare minimum to fight race isn’t going to do much.

“People still get cookies for merely saying ‘people of color should not be killed’ or ‘white supremacy is wrong,’” wrote Fleming. This sets people back from having any real conversation about racism.

You can be educated and racist.

Photo Credit to The Independent