Meet Anti-Racism Writer, Bridgette L. Hylton
And learn how she’s sharing insights to help us create a more inclusive society
I’ve been reading Bridgette L. Hylton’s work for a few months now. I’m always guaranteed to come away with some new insight into anti-racism practice, from the actions we take to the language we use (of particular interest to me as a professional writer). I hope you’ll find her articles as insightful as I do. Please meet Bridgette.
1) Bridgette, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I'm a lay student of anti-racism. The topic interests me deeply. It's been an experiment to marry that innate curiosity with my own love of writing.
I have always believed that the best writing comes from exploring what you know well. As a Black woman living in the United States, it is impossible to ignore the ways that race and racism influence our daily lives, sometimes in ways that are invisible to White people and other non-Black people who don't have the same lived experience.
My story is further enriched by the fact that I'm a descendant of Jamaican immigrants, which colors my perspective on these issues as well. I can't of course speak for all Black women or Black people or first generation immigrants, but I do try to share insight when I think it can help others do the work of dismantling racism in themselves, at home, and in the world around us.
If we want to live in a society that is truly equitable and reflects the principles that most reasonable people agree are ideal, every one of us, regardless of our identity, stands to benefit from educating ourselves about anti-racism. It is so important for me to continue to read and learn as much about these topics as I can. I find myself agreeing and disagreeing a lot on these issues with other writers and people in the world at large as I work to refine my perspective.
As we shape our own world views by engaging with this type of information, we can identify which work is most important and meaningful for each of us to undertake. For me, that’s been my writing. Racism and anti-racism work supply plenty of opportunities to do just that. My hope is that anti-racism writing can shine a light to make others more aware of these issues and help to allow us to collectively create a more inclusive, more equitable society. I'm still learning as I go.
2) What response have you had?
Overall the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I've connected with people all over the world seeking more insight into or offering insight regarding the ideas that I share.
I have had some negative feedback as well mostly from individuals who feel I do not have the right or authority to speak about my own self and my own lived experience. Although I think their drafters realize it, these types of comments are frustratingly ironic attempts to marginalize and suppress a Black female voice - which is one of the main reasons I feel so compelled to keep writing. We have to tell our own stories in our voices and in the ways that are meaningful to us.
Sometimes the people who want to challenge or silence me, unintentionally I’m sure, motivate me to keep going. I tend to move past their comments unless I think engaging may help to further anti-racism perspectives for other readers. If I get a common question, even if it has a negative bend, I do try to answer it because it means that more than just the respondent thinks that way and it may be an opportunity to illustrate and dismantle some illogical or inappropriate thought lines around this work.
3) In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is one where we can celebrate our cultures and our differences without hierarchy. I believe strongly in the words of Dr. King, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I hope that it will continue to bend under the weight of our collective efforts for people all over the world of all races, creeds, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. I imagine that we can get to such a world, but it will take effort, consciousness, awareness and pushing past our own discomfort.
4) What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
I picked these three essays, which were published in Human Parts on Medium, because they address how much words matter when it comes to anti-racism work. They are about how we ask to be identified, how allies are identified, and how we want our ancestors to be referenced. I think the synergy between language and word choice and anti-racism work is extremely fascinating and I think your readers might as well.
5) Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
Just this morning I read an article about gentrification in San Francisco that I think is worth sharing: If Gentrification Killed San Francisco, Racism Rode Shotgun
I love this type of piece that uses a personal story to illustrate wider systemic problems.
Thanks for reading,