Meet Anti-Racism Writer Petiri Ira
And learn how she's using her writing to effect change
When I started looking for a few more people to include in my anti-racism writer series, Petiri Ira’s name popped up. Once I had a look at her work, I knew you’d enjoy it, too. Please meet Petiri.
Petiri, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
It started with my countless experiences with racism. That is what sparked my interest in writing about race, culture and society. Racism, colourism and texturism are things that I've endured from a young age. Given that, it's had a tremendous impact on how I view life and view the society we live in.
Therefore, anti-racism writing allows me to leave my thoughts in print. Giving people an opportunity to educate themselves on all aspects of racism. Also, writing provides an outlet for me to contribute to making a change in this world. Even though I know I'm just one person, I know that I'm contributing to the greater good for the next generations to come.
What response have you had?
I've had a mixed response. On one hand, I have received an outpour of support from other anti-racism writers who acknowledge and appreciate the work that I've done. Which I appreciate because I feel a strong sense of community from their encouragement, which motivates me to continue writing and fulfilling my purpose. I'm also humbled and pleased to know that there are people out there who say they have learned from my work and see it as beneficial. Which is a great part of this because I know I would have made a difference to a few handfuls of people.
However, I have made my fair share of trolls here and there. But in any case, there will always be people who discredit your experiences with racism and centre themselves instead. But, that won't stop me from being honest and saying what needs to be said.
In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
I hope that society can see and live in a world where the construct of racism will cease to exist. This can happen if we continue to educate, amplify and call out all forms of racism. That's internally, interpersonally, structurally and systemically. For that to happen, it is key for all of us to move in an anti-racist and progressive direction.
What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
This article holds a very special place in my heart because it unpacks the mythical concept of reverse racism. A concept that has been created to make white people appear as if they are the victims. I wrote this article to debunk the myth. If reverse racism were an issue, it would mean that we live in a world where all racial groups have equal, institutional, social, and systemic power. Which we don't have.
As a Black woman, I've heard an abundance of racist remarks that have been so normalised to the extent that people view them as harmless. This listicle unpacks 5 of the most popular remarks us Black woman often hear. I explain why each one is fundamentally rooted in racism and why these remarks are offensive to us.
Whitesplaining is when a white person comments on the minority experience and explains what that experience is like to the minority person. In a simple societal context, it is the act of telling a Black person whether something is racist or not. I chose this article because it is important to acknowledge that people's encounters of racism are often shut down and disregarded by defensiveness and centring as a cause of fragility. Society needs to acknowledge that whitesplaining normalises and contributes to racism itself and upholds white supremacy.
Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
Misogynoir — The Two-Headed Dragon by Allison Gaines resonated with me. I admired how she perfectly explained how the experience of misogyny is uniquely different for Black women. In her article, she assessed how sexism intersects with racism to form misogynoir. In her article, she discusses how ''misogynoir creates stereotypes about Black women that cut off their humanity.'' Which I agree with because it dehumanises us and causes society to see us as emotionless beings that can endure all pain and should be okay with being viewed as indestructible.
Read more anti-racism writer interviews.
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