My Antiracist Journey

My Antiracist Journey

My Antiracist Journey: Dr. Richard Booth

Dr. Richard Booth is a 47-year-old Black Jamaican therapist, consultant, and trainer. He has engaged in this line of work for almost 20 years. He has lived in the United States since his childhood. He recounts “many” lies that were told to him including that Black people “were less than and that difficulties we faced were based on individual lacking in us and our people and not a result of historical trauma and systematic and purposeful oppression and marginalization.” He said it was “society as a whole, including other Black people” who taught him these lies.

Richard realized he was lied to at a young age, but he laments that “it has taken a lifetime to decipher the insidious and often hidden and ingrained nature of the lies [because] they are built and reinforced across multiple systems in society.” Richard believes that the biggest consequence of these lies is that Black people “feel less than and act accordingly, and others feel we are inferior and act accordingly.” With this mentality in mind, Richard holds that it is “easy to do inhumane things such as policy when you think who you are doing it to is subhuman or not deserving of human decency.”

Richard was not short on examples of his experiences with stereotypes. He often has people believe he is not a doctor because he is Black and has had his research questioned for its originality because he is Black. These types of experiences led to Richard and his friends “always feeling behind [and] not prepared for our life trajectories and we were traumatized through multiple interactions across our lifespans.” He states firmly that this oppressive system is “still in place and continues to traumatize us, and we have achieved less than our potential and have less access to knowledge and resources, which hinders what we can leave our offspring.” For society to change, Richard proposes a very holistic approach:

We need the people who passively benefit to work with other marginalized communities to foster justice and equality. We need changes in who are voted in on a local level and up in order to change laws and policies and procedures. We need to have active involvement in controlling the narratives and images of Blacks. We also need to be honest and realistic about past, present, and future instances, not letting things get derailed, co-opted, or brushed over. Lastly, we need to focus on mental health and healing, and increasing training on parenting, having successful relationships, and financial planning, political systems, and literacy.

Without these actions, Richard is not optimistic about the future of America. He states that many people believe there is less work to be done today, but in reality, the systems of oppression are getting stronger, and that successful Black people are seen as exceptions and not the norm but the way the successful are lauded in America leads to America “diminishing the realities of the marginalized society.”

Your Antiracist Journey

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