How To Be An Ally
Attention all Anglo-Saxons and Caucasians of European descent. This one is for you. In case you haven't noticed, there has been an increase in racial incidents against people of color. I'm starting to think a secret meeting was held among all racists and the common theme was to just call the police on people of color for merely existing. The situations have all been different but two things remain the same: White people don't know how to mind their business and the ones that claim to be allies are on the sidelines looking on in horror. If you claim that you stand against racial injustice but continue to stand by while people of color suffer through these terrible interactions, this guide is for you.
Speak up if you see harassment happening (but make sure you stay safe.)
Stand in between the victim and the assailant if possible and safely. If not, stand next to the victim so they can feel supported.
If it happens in a public space, store, or workplace, complain to management. Be vocal. Don't support businesses who discriminate against people of color.
If you have family or friends that make racist jokes or use racial slurs, shut them down.
We aren't asking you to be a hero because in some of these interactions and we want you to always remain safe, however, we simply ask that you use your white privilege to deescalate the situation when possible. Do you know how draining it is to see these incidents play out in the media while bystanders stand by with their mouths open wide? It's even worse when they get interviewed later and say things like "I wish I would have done more." Well, that could have come in handy, you know? Along with the Do's, here are some Don't's to keep in mind when dealing with racial tension.
Escalate the situation (I.e. start getting violent).
Speak over victims.
Center everything around yourself.
Talk to media or point any media to the victim.
Use this an opportunity for self promotion. You don 't get to profit from a Black person's or person of color's suffering.
Don't talk to the victim about how you are not one of those Whites; spend your energy collecting your brethren.
Tell us that you have black friends so there is no way you can be racist.
Please stop this passive, racist behavior. Every time an incident goes viral on social media, the first thing I hear white people saying is "There has to be a reason why this happened." No, there isn't. There is no excuse or a reason for displays of racist behavior. There is no seeing the other side or trying to understand why the aggressor acted like that. This also goes out to the all the people that voted for Donald Trump but claim to not support his racist agenda. It's racism and the sooner that we learn to call it by it's name, the sooner we can begin to heal.
One thing that I want white people to understand is the only way we can end racism is by calling it out by it's name and be willing to have difficult conversations about racism. There are pre-conceived notions that black people are going to erupt in anger if a white person wants to discuss race or discrimination and that's not true. We want to have these conversations in healthy and constructive ways. You, as a white person, have to be willing to listen and not assume that you know everything that black people face. Help us help you.
If you don't feel comfortable or well equipped enough to have a sensible conversation, do some research on your own time. Invest in reading material such as "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander or "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria" by Beverly Daniel Tatum. There is so much free material in the library and on the Internet that you shouldn't look like a fool when posting on social media about these issues. There is nothing worse then having a person of caucasian heritage trying to tell a black person what their struggle is like. Whew chile...make it make sense.
Seriously, racism is on the rise and everyday I wonder if I'm going to be next to experience someone calling the cops on me because they don't want me at the pool or don't like that I'm reading in silence. It's scary and until you've lived it, you will never understand. You want to help end racism? Get off the sidelines and get in the game. We could certainly use the help.