Racism: Listening, learning, amplifying, taking action

Racism: Listening, learning, amplifying, taking action

Racism: Listening, learning, amplifying, taking action

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

– Desmond Tutu

Given what’s happening in the world, we don’t need another post today about what to eat.

Given that my purpose here is to help people live longer, healthier lives, what this moment calls for is for White people to condemn violence against Black bodies, listen to them, educate ourselves, and step up to help in whatever way we can.

This is not okay

So first, unequivocally and whole-heartedly, I condemn racism and violence against Black people. What should go without saying, that Black lives matter, must be said, loudly and clearly, because Black people are under assault, and they have been for far too long. The brazen murder of George Floyd is just the most recent and a particularly conspicuous example of what has been happening for over 400 years.

Sadly, anti-black racism and violence has long been a problem here in Canada as well as in the United States. And it feels disingenuous to say that without also acknowledging our country’s long and horrific history of mistreatment of Indigenous people. While we’d like to tell ourselves otherwise, racism in Canada is a problem, and it’s obviously not acceptable here either.

Listen, learn, reflect

So what can we do? First, educate ourselves. Especially if you felt some doubt when you read that statement above about Black people being under assault and racism being a problem in Canada too. Especially if these tragic stories in the news still feel like isolated incidents, I invite you to explore some of the following resources. Lord knows we weren’t taught about it in school.

US Focus
Canadian Focus

Clearly there is no shortage of ways to educate ourselves!

If food and health are of interest to you, you may also appreciate the voices of the Black dietitians, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals I heard this week thanks to the #amplifymelinatedvoices challenge. Mental health therapist Alishia McCullough, launched the challenge with dietitian and activist, Jessica Wilson. In their words:

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A post shared by Jessica Wilson, MS. RD.She/Her (@jessicawilson.msrd) on

Racial and ethnic diversity is limited in the field of dietetics, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you, like I, didn’t already have any Black dietitians in your social media feeds.

The thing is, by listening to them, we can learn from their lived experience and their wisdom on health and wellbeing. Most have a non-diet, body positive, Health At Every Size (HAES®) perspective, and an understanding that “wellness” is about much more than what goes in a smoothie. If you haven’t already, take a peek.

(I’m sharing their bios so you can see in their words how they describe their feeds. Most are on IG = Instagram.)

Alishia McCullough (IG @blackandembodied) – co-creator of the #amplifymelinatedvoices challenge
  • Licensed Mental Health Therapist
    ✊🏽🌈  Social Justice Warrior
    🦋  Promoter of Fat Liberation & Racial Healing
    🌻   Trauma Informed ED
Jessica Wilson (IG @jessicawilson.msrd) – co-creator of the #amplifymelinatedvoices challenge
  • Dietitian.Consultant.Activist.✊🏽
    Centering the experiences of those most marginalized in conversations about food and bodies. #amplifymelanatedvoices

 

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A post shared by Jessica Wilson, MS. RD.She/Her (@jessicawilson.msrd) on

Ayana Habtemariam MSW, RDN (IG @thetrillrd)
  • 🖤  Promoting collective healing from trauma, rejection, and body oppression.
    📴  Cert. IE (Intuitive Eating) Counselor
    🍽  Cofounder @reclaimingourplate

 

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A post shared by Ayana Habtemariam MSW, RDN (@thetrillrd) on

Christyna Johnson, MS, RDN, LDN (IG @encouragingdietitian, Twitter @encouragingRD)
  • 🥑 Anti-Diet Registered Dietitian
    ✝️ Christ Follower
    ✨ Weight Inclusive
    🤓 Nutrition NeRD
    🎙Intuitive Eating for the Culture

 

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A post shared by Christyna, MS, RDN, LDN (@encouragingdietitian) on

Rosie Mensah | Dietitian (IG @therosienutritionist, Twitter @rosiemensah)
  • 👩🏾‍💼  I help ambitious women build a healthy & enjoyable relationship with food
    🗣  Anti-Poverty Advocate
    👉🏾   as seen in @nowtoronto @thetorontostar
  • A creative spirit, foodie, writer, and a Registered Dietitian

Shana Minei Spence, MS, RDN, CDN (IG @thenutritiontea, Twitter @thenutritiontea)

 

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A post shared by Shana Minei Spence,MS,RDN,CDN (@thenutritiontea) on

 

This obviously isn’t a complete list. There are so many more! It’s just people creating content that spoke to me, as I begin to diversify my feed and expand my horizons. Full Soul Nutrition & Fitness on IG created a graphical list of Black dietitians and nutritionists, so if you want more, they’re tagged in this post on IG, so you can access them easily.

 

 

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A post shared by Full Soul Nutrition & Fitness (@full.soul.nutrition) on

 

But what can we actually do?

For too long, too many of us have heard the news, said “that’s terrible,” and then carried on with our busy days. For too long we’ve lived with the belief that we don’t have the power to change something happening in another country, another city, another neighbourhood.

This moment calls for all of us to step up and recognize that we can, we must, do our part to address racial discrimination, injustice, and violence.

Again, other people have given this way more thought than I have, so I’m just going to link to them here.

No matter where we live or how far this feels from our daily lives, we can at the very least educate ourselves and our children, speak out against racism, violence, and injustice, and vote for social justice oriented candidates and parties. If you can also protest, sign petitions, and donate to support the people doing the hard work in this, even better. All of our voices are needed.

“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”

— Angela Davis

Comments, questions? Feel free to chime in on Facebook.

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