How NOT to Be an Anti-racist

Another one of my open letters

Clay Rivers
4 min readJul 17, 2021

In response to a late night rant I came across last night.

Buddy, it sounds like you have not a chip, but the Rock of Gibraltar on your shoulder. Here’s why I say that. Fifteen words into your first sentence you’re name-calling (“white latte liberals”) and making unfounded accusations (“telling the rest of us how racist we all are”). Tim Wise used the word racist eight or nine times in his essay. It occurred four times in the word “anti-racist,” and four or five times as a stand-alone adjective (once when referring to spoken word or action, once in the title of a bookmarked essay, and three times in an anecdote about a patently racist act). So your state of exhaustion, which you may have been experiencing at the time, is self-induced. You alone sit on your throne of decision-making for not only what you want to read, but what you actually read.

Let me turn your question back to you: Have you sought out the opinion of Black folks in need to find out what we need from white people to improve our lives? With such an impressive spate of Black people permeating every facet of your life, and believe me, that’s a whole lot of Black people for one white guy to be associating with [cue: “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”], one might guess you’ve asked several of them on numerous occasions what they need from white folks to improve their lives. But wait . . . with working so close to all those Black people for ten years, running with your Black buddies, the Black friends you have had at your house, dating all those Black women, and attending all those concerts and sporting events, and what with the Black guys who’ve crashed at your home (we won’t include the Black kids you’ve babysat because . . . you know . . . well, they’re too young to have anything truly relevant to add to the conversation), your Black friends probably aren’t poor, are they? Not that their economic status should factor into who your friends are, right? Because if it did, that would make you—a classist.

I mean really? Come on, my man. You’ve already tipped your elitist hand. Oops.

For the record, the economic status of a Black folks is irrelevant to this conversation because the lived experience of every person living in Black skin, from the lowliest of the…

Clay Rivers

Artist, author, accidental activist, & EIC Our Human Family ( and OHF Weekly ( Twitter: @clayrivers