- What is Racists Anonymous and when did it start?
- How does Racists Anonymous work?
- Why is Racists Anonymous effective?
- Why is Racists Anonymous so important?
- Frequently Asked Questions about Racists Anonymous
- 12 Steps of Racists Anonymous
What is Racists Anonymous and when did it start?
The organization of Racists Anonymous is a 12-step fellowship that was created for individuals who want to end racism in themselves. While it utilizes the same concept and format as Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step groups, it is in no way affiliated with them; it simply follows a 12-step recovery process because this method is extremely successful.
When did it start?
A more recently created group, Racists Anonymous started in 2015 by Pastor Ron Buford of the Sunnyvale, California United Church of Christ. The organization began after the mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, done by a 21-year-old white supremacist. The shooting took place during a Bible study of a predominantly black congregation and killed nine of the church’s members. Before the group began, Pastor Buford tried, in his own ways, to deal with the race issues, but they often left him feeling frustrated and its white participants feeling guilty.
As of 2017, the group had over 90 congregations in at least four countries, with some growing independently on their own. The goal of Racists Anonymous is to end racism one person at a time, allowing members to start with themselves. The programThis refers to any official course of treatment for addiction. This could be anything from in-patient facilities, to 12-step programs to harm-reduction programs. More believes that while all people are racist to some degree, improving oneself instead of trying to “fix” or “force” a change will help improve their own lives as well as slowly ending racist beliefs in themselves.
How does Racists Anonymous work?
The first step of the program asks members to “admit powerlessness over their addiction to racism, in ways that they are unable to fully recognize, let alone manage.” Racism is believed to be an illness, just as alcoholism or drugA name for a wide variety of chemical substances capable of altering the function of your mind and body in significant ways. These can include over the counter prescriptions, alcohol, and controlled substances. Most drugs are either physically and/or psychologically habit-forming. More addiction is in other 12 step groups. Racists Anonymous believes that in an American culture, every individual is raised to be racist to some degree, so the fellowshipThis refers to the members of AA and the bonds of support between them. It is this fellowship that allows addicts to share their stories and accept each other in a world that is not always understanding. More allows individuals to acknowledge it and do something about it.
Giving members the opportunity to acknowledge that they have a problem that they cannot manage on their own allows them to explore racism within themselves in safe roomsA common 12-step moniker for the place where meetings are held. It can also refer to the atmosphere and fellowship in meetings. More with other like-minded individuals. The only way to address the problem and begin making changes in oneself is to accept that there is a problem of racism. Once members are aware of these behaviors, they allow themselves the opportunity to begin improving them.
Not only are meetings a safe place for members to share their thoughts and experiences, they can also express their racist feelings or how they have witnessed racism firsthand but done nothing to stop it. Attending meetings can be humbling to participants because acknowledging unconscious racist tendencies is not something everyone is capable of doing. Because meetings are open and beneficial to everyone, there are all kinds of members in attendance including whites, Asians and blacks.
Why is Racists Anonymous effective?
While Racists Anonymous uses the same format and concepts as other 12-step programs, it is a little different when it comes to identifying the addiction problem. Although racism is not necessarily a traditional “addiction,” cultural norms that reinforce prejudice and discrimination are still prevalent today, making it impossible for some individuals to free themselves from racism or racist thoughts. Racists Anonymous is so effective for its members because it gives individuals the chance to assess their own behaviors, learn from others in the group and see how they, themselves, perpetuate racism, whether purposely or accidentally.
Once members of the group recognize these behaviors in themselves, they can attempt to change and eliminate them rather than continue acting upon them. Members can also begin putting their old behaviors behind them and engaging in new, accepting behaviors, such as openly communicating and having mutual hospitality despite cultural or racial differences. The most important part of the program is not necessarily changing these thoughts and negative behaviors, but more so becoming aware of them and making an honest effort to work towards self-improvement.
In the organization of Racists Anonymous, racism is defined as affecting more than just someone’s skin color. Racism is defined as abilities, class, gender, sexual orientation and more. This allows members to focus on all types of individual biases, rather than just race, so that they can regard all human beings as equal.
Why is Racists Anonymous so important?
For some members, attending the first meeting of Racists Anonymous can be extremely difficult. Acknowledging that one may have racist tendencies or beliefs can be hard, especially in this day and age. Once newcomers and existing members can see some residual racism in themselves, they can begin addressing these behaviors and changing the way they think and feel. It’s important for members to start with themselves before trying to end racism anywhere else.
Not only can the meetings of Racists Anonymous help members see these issues in themselves, they can also start seeing how racism may play into their everyday lives, without even realizing it. In the long run, Racists Anonymous hopes to end racism for all future generations, as it has been an ongoing struggle for decades.
Frequently Asked Questions about Racists Anonymous
How do I find a meeting?
There are many different face-to-face meetings available for Racists Anonymous. The program uses Meetup, a web and mobile application, so individuals can view event and meeting lists that are still available. If there are no local meetings, members are encouraged to check out the recurring weekly Zoom meeting available, as well as check out any other scheduled meetings at any convenient time, which can be found here.
Do I have to call myself a racist?
At the start of many 12-step meetings, for all fellowships, members are encouraged to introduce themselves and identify that they have a problem or addiction. For example, “Hi, I’m Bonnie and I am an alcoholicAn individual with an unhealthy dependence on alcohol. From the perspective of AA, it is an individual who has lost control over their life due to an inability to stop drinking. More,” may be the introduction of an Alcoholics AnonymousThe original 12-step fellowship, formed in 1935, to help alcoholics, regain control over their lives. It remains the largest 12-step organization and has contributed to the sobriety of millions worldwide. Read more about Alcoholics Anonymous More attendee. At Racists Anonymous, it is not a requirement to admit this in a meeting. Members are allowed to identify themselves with an “unsure yet” title, giving them the opportunity to decide whether or not they have a problem with racism.
Are there sponsors in the program?
Unlike other 12 step groups, Racists Anonymous does not require or designate sponsors in the program. Instead, building a strong support system is recommended, as well as collecting phone numbers from existing members to help with any problems or feelings that want to be discussed more personally. Individuals are encouraged to engage in one-on-one conversations with other members, to begin building trust and open communication within the program.
12 StepsThe term "12 steps" refers to the core principles of the approach to addiction exemplified by Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar groups. The 12 steps are a set of guidelines designed to help individuals overcome addiction and rebuild their lives. They were created by the founders of Alcoholics A... More of Racists Anonymous
Because Racists Anonymous follows the same 12-step recoveryThe process by which addicts attempt to break the hold a certain substance or behavior has on their lives. This can refer to participation in a wide variety of methods. What they all have in common, is a sense that life is improving and the addict is regaining control. More process, the format of the 12 steps is similar to other 12-step organizations.
1. I have come to admit that I am powerless over my addiction to racism in ways I am unable to recognize fully, let alone manage.
2. I believe that only a power greater than me can restore me in my humanness to the non-racist creature as God designed me to be.
3. For my own good and the good of future generations, I have decided to turn my will and my life over to the care of God insofar as I understand God.
4. I’ve made a searching and fearless moral inventoryStep 4 recommends the addict conduct “a searching and fearless moral inventory.” This involves coming to terms with the flaws which preceded addiction and those that came as a result of it. More of myself concerning my bias toward others on the basis of race, class, gender, physical attributes, abilities, nationality, sexual orientation, and more.
5. I have admitted to God, to myself and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongful thoughts and actions.
6. I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. I humbly asked God to remove my shortcomings.
8. I’ve made a list of all persons I have harmed and am willing to make amends insofar as this is possible.
9. I will make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them, others, or create more harm than good.
10. I will continue taking personal inventory, and when I behave wrongly, I will admit it promptly.
11. I will continually seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contactBuilding a relationship with a Higher Power is a crucial element in recovery. This involves conscious contact with a Higher Power through prayer and meditation regularly. More with God insofar as I understand God, praying for knowledge of God’s Will and Wisdom for my life along with the power I need to carry that out.
12. As I have spiritual awakenings as the result of these steps, I will share this message with other race addicts as I seek to practice these principles in all my affairs.-rainternational.org