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Meet Anti-Racism Writer, Casira Copes
And learn how deciding to write about "things that mattered" started her current journey
Medium has introduced me to a large network of anti-racism writers, and Casira Copes is one of them. I’ve found many of her articles insightful, and am happy to introduce her to you all. Please meet Casira.
Casira, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I never made a conscious decision to write about anti-racism or to become known as an anti-racism writer. The writing journey I’m on now began with the decision to stop avoiding “delicate” or “controversial” topics, and start writing about the things that mattered to me and affected me in my daily life. Unfortunately, as a queer Black woman, many of those things revolve around racism, sexism, and queerphobia. But writing has helped to unleash some of the frustrations I experience, as well as develop stronger ties to my various communities.
What response have you had?
Responses have been primarily positive, honestly. A lot of that has been the result of connecting with other like-minded Black writers very early on who have been immensely supportive of my work. I also don’t entertain trolls at all, so while I’m sure there have been plenty of people dissenting in the comments, I typically don’t see them. Arguing with strangers online isn’t something that I waste any amount of my time on, so from where I’m standing things have been pretty good.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
My vision is to have the kind of topics I write about become common knowledge in everyday life.
In the online world, I encounter a lot of social justice-oriented content and sometimes assume that other people are just as exposed to this stuff as I am. But I recently had an in-person experience with many people (primarily white) who had never encountered the term “intersectionality” and had no idea what it meant. The gap between what’s discussed online and how far those discussions reach people in the real world is often bigger than we think.
There isn’t a media outlet anywhere that I could pitch a story to about why white people should stop touching my hair—it’s been written a million times over. Yet I encounter white people in my life all the time who have apparently never gotten the memo to keep their hands to themselves.
Somehow, we need to bridge this gap.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
My top 3 articles are:
This article was definitely a piece that allowed me to express my own frustration, and it’s something that I’ve found has resonated with many other writers of color who feel fed up and taken advantage of by well-meaning white “allies.” Writing about racism has exploded online over the past few years, and with it has come a torrent of weird and inconsiderate approaches by white people to “help” Black voices. It’s often counterproductive.
Another one of my responses to the current climate, this article talks about the way our culture is turning the work of anti-racism into a sort of “quick fix” problem and solution. Following George Floyd’s murder, my social media feeds were absolutely flooded with a bunch of “21-day anti-racist challenge” posts and gimmicky things that just did not sit right with me. This article was my response.
I really like this article because oftentimes the conversation around anti-racism work focuses too heavily, in my opinion, on the interpersonal. I think that when we talk about racism we should always have a focus on it as a structural issue that shapes the way our society functions. Literacy is an issue that is close to me, as someone who taught struggling readers in an underfunded school district. It’s important to put the actual numbers and realities in people’s faces when we talk about the myriad of ways Black people are suffering in America and around the world.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
An article by Anastasia Reesa Tomkin called “How White People Conquered the Non-Profit Industry” really resonated with me as someone who works in that sector. Tomkin did an excellent job of highlighting that structural aspect of how white supremacy functions and calling attention to the way well-meaning white allies can still be part of the problem.
Thanks for reading,
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.