Meet Anti-Racism Writer, Hannah Drake
And learn about the launch of a movement for Black people to hold their space
Hello friends, one of my previous interviewees introduced me to Hannah Drake, and I’m so grateful they did. Hannah is a powerful voice in anti-racism writing, and is a good person to follow if you want to take the challenge of broadening your perspectives. Please, meet Hannah:
Hannah, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
I do not think I became an anti-racism writer. I think as a Black woman I was just an anti-racism writer. I didn’t choose this. It chose me. It is what I know I was put on this earth to do. At times I feel like Esther in the Bible, perhaps I am here for such a time as this.
What response have you had?
While I do get hate mail, admittedly the overall the response has been great. I write the truth and while people may not like it, they cannot deny the truth. One thing that always baffles me is who told White people confronting racism would be easy? Who told White people that it was going to feel good? I tell people all the time reading my work is like taking medicine. Sometimes it may not taste good swallowing it down but it will be good for you.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
I believe that Black people have wanted nothing more than to just be. Just be. I remember when I went to Dakar, Senegal, I went to a store with a friend to buy some earrings. I was holding the earrings in such a way that the shop owner would not think I was stealing them. In America I was so used to being hyper aware of my Blackness.
When we went to pay for them, the shop owner was outside of the shop talking to someone. It dawned on me, for the first time in my life, my skin color was not an issue. The country of Dakar is predominantly Black so that alone didn’t make me a criminal.
It was as if I could see the world in color for the first time. It was like the world opened up to me and said, “Hannah, we’ve been waiting on you.” I had that feeling for one week but it was a feeling I never forgot. For one week I could just be. That is what I envision for the future: a world where Black people can just be and experience life in color.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
The 10 Stages of Facing Racism
I chose this article because it walks the reader through 10 steps to facing and dealing with racism. When people see it outlined it is very easy to relate to and in fact they can see exactly what stage they are in. I believe people will go through each of these stages before they are ready to face and deal with racism.
Do Not Move Off The Sidewalk Challenge: Holding Your Space in A White World
This is one of my favorite blogs and has been read by more than 1 million people. It started a movement around the world challenging Black people and People of Color to hold their space in this world and not move when a White person is approaching them. This is a life changing challenge because Black people and People of Color recognize how often they move for White comfort. But you are here and you belong here! Do not move off the sidewalk!
Karen Is You
I chose this article because often White people, particularly White women, think they are not Karen. They view Karen as someone that is super racist when in fact Karen is their neighbor, their friend on the PTA, their mom, their sister, their mail carrier, etc. White women do not get a pass when it comes to racism. They have been active co-conspirators.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
Amy Cooper Needs Accountability – Not Forgiveness by DarkSkyLady
Often Black people are expected to just move on, get over it and roll out the red carpet of forgiveness. For far too long White people have not been held accountable for their actions. It is time for White people to sit in their behavior and own it. Don’t run from it, face it. And don’t expect Black people to be there to nurse you through it.
I don’t know about you folks, but I certainly enjoyed learning more about Hannah. You can follow Hannah Drake on her website or Twitter.
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2021. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, a professional B2B writer and blogger, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.
Ms.Hurley, your newsletter never fails to encourage me to learn more about racism. I do not want to become a Karen or Becky and I think you are helping me to achieve my goal of understanding. Additionally, I do not be want to be what Malcolm X warned blacks to beware of- liberal white men. I want a deeper appreciation and understanding of trials, tribulation, and more importantly the nature of blacks. I don't want to define blackness by the simplistic answer- color of one's skin, but as Martin Luther King said, "By the content of their character."
I love obtaining knowledge as your newsletter allows me. Reading your interview with Hannah Drake pique my interest in her stories.I would like to make some comments about the stories written by her. I Iearned from The Ten Steps of Facing Racism the remarkable similarities between the ten steps and the steps most of us use to deal with Grief. From the second story, I understand the importance of blacks not giving up their space, to hold their ground. Ms. Drake's action at the counter, though was small a victory, it was a victory nonetheless. To attempt to be an example for others- to do as she did, somehow seems to me, takes courage. As for the last story about the Karen's in life, it seems to me that both Becky and Karen can be obnoxious or use microaggessions to defend their privileged ideas and lives. Becky, however has a need to try and fit in with Blacks- to be Black herself. She does this by claiming she works with and is even " friends" with blacks, by attempting to look black, and taking the liberty to talk black. There is weakness in her action for she uses unfounded racial biases to determine how she thinks she ought to act. She becomes the white liberal, Malcolm X warned black people about with their claims. Even worse is their disengenous motives. Many whites might be sold on the idea that these people truly want to understand Black people- to see where they are coming from. When all the dust all settles, humans always act out of self- interest- to satisfy their innate needs. Karens and Beckys are no different.
On some introspection, I was a Karen most of my life. I didn't even claim that some of friends were black or that I had studied with blacks. I had never personally never experienced and if I saw it, I took no notice. I didn't even know racism existed. I thought that privilege would keep me above racism, how wrong I was, how could I be so naive. I don't use anymore the excuse that my racism was solely because of the environment I was raised in. My world was filled with the consequences and the microaggession of racism, racism didn't effect me( or I thought) directly. So in the last analysis, I did consciously choose to ignore racism, there is no getting around that. For that I am deeply sorry.
I like Hannah's no-nonsense style! "It is time for America to stop dealing with the fruit and deal with the root."