Race and Ethnicity

A Different Approach to Anti-Racism

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“If you want to fight the impulse that we human beings have to feel better than others,” says Chloé Valdary, “it’s a bad idea to make people so insecure.”

Chloé Valdary had an unusual childhood. She grew up in a Christian family, but one that celebrated Jewish holy days. She was raised in New Orleans, a city dominated by Catholicism and its symbols, but her church was anti-Catholic. She’s black, but her first steps into identity politics and activism were in opposition to antisemitism. And even with her religious upbringing, it was something an agnostic professor said that provoked her eureka moment.

So it’s perhaps unsurprising that her approach to anti-racism is different from that of best-selling leftist consultants such as Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo. Instead of pushing people to feel guilty and complicit in everything from minor slights to systemic racism in workplace trainings, Valdary’s company, Theory of Enchantment, wants participants of every background to learn to be more curious about and compassionate toward those who are different from them. “This attempt to correct injustice is laudable,” she wrote last year in USA Today of the protests over the police killing of George Floyd that erupted across the country, “but the work of anti-racism must be rooted in the moral ethic of love and acknowledge the profound sacredness of human beings.”

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Categories: Race and Ethnicity

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