Antiracism in Family Law

dr. david campt
Dr. David Campt

As a member of the IACP Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I’ve been learning how to take steps toward true antiracism from Dr. David Campt, a national expert in inclusion, equity, cultural competence and intergroup dialogue.

This antiracism work is so important, now more than ever, as America moves toward finally and completely changing the racial equity landscape once and for all (I hope). 

Dr. Campt teaches about how we can address racial bias in our work. He speaks about learning to talk across divides, how to manage conversations and ways to practically engage in conversation so we all learn how to do this better.  

As a mediator in addition to being a family law attorney, I am always looking for ways to better manage and guide constructive conversations that lead to outcomes that benefit all involved.  

Fully owning my white privilege, I looked at Dr. Campt’s White Ally Toolkit (find it here).

Photo by Joan Villalon on Unsplash

It isn’t enough to be inclusive; we must be actively anti-racist, taking steps to become aware and living as examples of what it means to be truly anti-racist. This is an imperative that we must fulfill in our professional and personal lives! 

Some tips Dr. Campt offers for working toward effective anti-racism include the following: 

  1. Clarify Your Intentions. Dr. Campt says that an overriding goal in combating racism should be “facilitating opinion change.” He says to be very clear on what you want to accomplish from the outset, and let it guide your actions. 
  1. Cultivate Mindful Courage. With antiracism in mind, Dr. Campt emphasizes the need to be calm and centered before you take action. That means releasing anger and allowing yourself to take a moment during an interaction to calm yourself before continuing.  
Photo by Joan Villalon on Unsplash
  1. Cultivate Curiosity. Ask questions – don’t lecture people on their wrong views. The best way to get someone to listen to you is to listen to them first. 
  1. Focus on Agreement and Common Humanity. Minimize differences by showcasing shared values and common ground. Pointing out differences puts people on the defensive and makes it hard to have productive conversations. 
  1. Practice Humility. People bond over vulnerability. Opening up about a time when you behaved in a way that you regret, perhaps even in a racist way, shows humility and builds respect from the other side. To become antiracist, be open. Be honest. Sharing is the first step toward caring. 

How are you making changes to become truly anti-racist? Click here to contribute to this conversation.

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