A white ally’s guide to action
June 4, 2020
A White Ally’s Guide to Action
The Black community needs our help more than ever and this goes deeper than just the general statements of support. We need to actively donate our money and time, educate ourselves on the struggles Black people face and our role in them, and do some real introspection about our sometimes unknowing participation in racist acts or sentiments.
A key way to start supporting the Black Lives Matter movement is by donating some money, even if it is only $1. There are three different areas you could target your money towards. The first is to support the family of George Floyd and the Black community of Minneapolis in the wake of his murder. I have included more victim memorials as well. You can also support bail funds to help release protestors from jail and others who cannot afford it. Finally, there are many organizations you can donate to that are organizing many meaningful long-term solutions and reform. If you have multiple causes you’re interested in supporting, you can select a megafund that will divide your donation among multiple funds or organizations (you can customize this to a degree). To make your donation count even further, the blog Cup of Jo is matching donations to organizations supporting Black causes if you forward your receipt, with subject line “donation” to h[email protected]
If you don’t have any money to donate, you can watch this YouTube video and playlist, designed to raise money for BLM causes using Adsense. You can even play it in the background of whatever you’re doing and if you don’t skip ads, it will donate money for you.
The Family of George Floyd & Minneapolis Support:
Black Lives Matter
Here are some more organizations to donate to, including Black LGBTQ funds, mental health organizations, and healthcare funds.
Unfortunately, most schools do not teach much about Black history, culture, and experiences. Almost no schools teach about white privilege and working to be anti-racist. However, it is absolutely essential for all white allies to put in the effort and time to educate yourself on these topics, especially if you consider yourself to be an activist. Racism is all around us; we internalize these prejudices and biases from our environment without even realizing. We must actively fight against this learned racism every day, making it a habit. There are countless resources available so you can learn about these crucial issues from a multitude of mediums.
Here is a list that RB’s Librarian, Ms. Phillips, and I have compiled of books about Black experiences, culture, and fight for equal rights, as well as books about white privilege and anti-racism: Recommended Reading List
- Code Switch by NPR
- 1619 by the New York Times
- Identity Politics
- Still Processing by the New York Times
- The Nod by Gimlet Media
- Pod Save the People by Crooked Media
- Scene on Radio, Seeing White
- Yo, Is This Racist? by Earwolf
- The Stoop
- 13th (Netflix)
- Malcolm X (Netflix)
- Who Killed Malcolm X? (Netflix)
- Explained: Season 1, episode entitled, “The Racial Wealth Gap” (Netflix)
- Time: the Kalief Browder Story (Netflix)
- Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea (Netflix)
- Moonlight (Netflix)
- When They See Us (Netflix)
- Dear White People (Netflix)
- The Hate U Give (Hulu)
- American Son (Netflix)
- Selma (Various streaming services for $2.99)
- Queen and Slim (Various streaming services for $5.99)
- LA 92 (Netflix)
- Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (Various streaming services for $3.99)
- More Than A Month (iTunes for $4.99)
- Slavery By Another Name (PBS)
- I Am Not Your Negro (Various streaming services from $0.99)
- Fruitvale Station (Various streaming services from $3.99)
- Black Britain on Film
- Just Mercy (Free on Amazon Prime now)
- 12 Years A Slave (Various streaming services from $3.99)
- Strong Island (Netflix)
- Blindspotting (Hulu)
- Brian Banks (Hulu)
- Hidden Figures (Hulu)
Finally, you can get even more involved with constructive activism. Before posting something online or doing something publicly in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and Black community, you should check if you are only doing performative activism. This is when you are only engaging in activism to bolster your own reputation, instead of posting to share information or learn about the cause you are devoted to. This has become “trendy,” with the Black squares being posted or the “tag 10 friends” challenges. Here is a post of questions you can and should ask yourself before you decide to post.
It is common to feel unsure of what you should post and how you should express your feelings about these situations without accidentally saying something insensitive or wrong. The truth that we have to accept in order to understand complex issues about racism and the Black experience is that we are constantly going to be making mistakes. That is completely fine. However, when we do make mistakes, we can’t be defensive or get offended when one of our Black friends or even a fellow ally calls us out on it. We just need to listen and get educated again. It is not shameful to change your mind or delete something after learning new information.
It is easy to distance yourself from racism because you consider yourself to be “a nice person” etc etc. However, you don’t necessarily have to be an overt racist to say racist things sometimes or have microaggressions against people of color. Don’t excuse yourself from any conversations about that. I struggle with understanding this and I have said things before that I now recognize are wrong. I’m sure almost all of us have in the past. We need to apologize for our actions, think about what led us to say or do harmful things, and do better in the future. We have to have a level of self-awareness that can be hurtful and difficult to understand in order to fight against internalized racism.
Regardless of how you choose to be active, always remember that your role as a white ally is not to be a leader. As white allies, we can best use our white privilege to amplify the voices of Black leaders and engage in sometimes uncomfortable conversations with our own friends and family about race and anti-racism. There are so many ways that we can help this movement constructively and positively so let’s not shy away from taking action and making this a part of our daily lives.
This resource made by Black Lives Matter has a map of protests, petitions to sign, and places to call/text to ask for justice and equality.