Take Action


“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.” 

William James


Starting Small is Fine

There are lots of ways to get started in countering racism and it’s really a personal choice with lots of possible starting points.  The key is to get off the sidelines and be in the game as quickly as possible.


Do not Get Stuck in Preparing on the Sidelines

Prepare just enough.  Then act.  And learn from the experience and continue to develop awareness, knowledge, and skills.  Beyond the basics, our competencies all develop faster “in the game” than on the sidelines.  To effectively counter racism we must all “learn the way.”  All of us.  Even the “experts.”


“Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.

Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”

Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” 

–  Dale Carnegie

The three sections below address the guiding questions for (a) making a genuine commitment to countering racism; (b) getting past the natural barriers we face as White people; and (c) choosing focused sustainable actions. 

You can click on any of the key guiding questions and find an introduction, an expanded PDF you can download, and an action template in Microsoft Word format that you can also download and customize.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, and we miss it,

but that it is too low, and we reach it.”




 The Key Questions  

  1. How can I be an anti-racist?

  1. What might be worth committing to action – my vision & benefits?

    • Action Template – My Vision – The Possible Benefits

  1. What will I encounter and how might I manage the journey?

    • Action Template – Managing My Journey in Countering Racism


“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to

our better selves, a call to become something more.” 

Rosabeth Moss Cantor




Get Past the Barriers

 The Key Questions

  1. What might stop me right at the beginning?

    • Action Template – Getting Past the 3 “Guardians of the Threshold” in the Beginning

  1. What might stop me on the path?

    • Action Template – Getting Past the 6 Barriers on the Path

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There

will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect

conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take,

you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled,

more and more self-confident, and more and more successful.”


Mark Victor Hansen




The Key Questions

  1. What Can I do?

    • Action Template – What I Can Do – Actions

  1. How Can I be an effective ally?

    • Action Template – What I Bring & What I Want to Develop as an Effective Ally

  1. How Can I be an effective advocate?

    • Action Template – Being an Advocate



Summary of Basic Actions

  1. Make a commitment to be an active anti-racist.
  2. Identify why it’s worth the effort, challenge, and risk (personal vision and possible benefits that can be created) the beginning of your journey
  3. Say “Yes” to the natural journey required and grow through the challenges encountered
  4. Get past the three “Guardians of the Threshold” encountered at the beginning of the journey
  5. Manage the six natural barriers encountered on the path
  6. Identify and act on the array of actions that you can commit to taking
  7. Become an effective ally
  8. Play your part in the advocacy process required for systemic change
  9. Connect with others
  10. “Hold the course” through perseverance and resilience


Connect with Others

This action is highlighted because it is deceptively important.  Countering racism is tough work that requires courage, perseverance, and resilience.  Being connected to others helps with that challenge.  Plus, the big challenges in countering racism require collective action.

Connect with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, etc.  Connect with groups and organizations.  You can even start your own small group.


“Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one man or

one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s

ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence…

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can

work to change a small portion of events, and in the total

of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that

human history is shaped. Each time a man (or a woman) stands

up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out

against injustice, he (or she) sends a tiny ripple of hope, and

crossing each other from a million different centers of energy

and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down

the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Robert F. Kennedy, speech at Day of Affirmation,

University of Capetown, South Africa