7 Ways Non-Black People Can Take Anti-Racist Action in Their Life
Written by: Thrive Online Guest Writer
We need to be better allies. It's time we check our privilege and use it to become better, and more educated, allies. We need to uplift the voices of the Black community because what is happening now — and has been happening for centuries — is unacceptable and disgusting. We need to become better allies and educate ourselves, those around us, and the world so we can be actively antiracist, instead of merely opposing racism.1. Understand what true allyship is. Allyship is not an identity; it is a lifelong process. A true ally acts out of responsibility, support, and commitment to change. Allyship is the continuous process in which we, as people with privilege, seek to learn about the experiences of marginalized groups and then empathize with their challenges. As an ally, we stand in solidarity with those experiencing oppression and search for ways to actively help and support.
2. Do the research and do the work. Understanding, acknowledging, and coming to terms with your own privilege is not meant to be a fun and easy experience, but it is necessary. It is vital to understand the full scope of the privilege you carry with the colour of your skin. Read antiracist works and works by Black writers — this will be essential to your learning of the difference between merely disliking racism and being actively anti-racist. Below are some resources that will educate you in being antiracist and that highlight the constant oppression the Black community is faced with:
- Me and White Supremacy, Layla Saad
- How To Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
- Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine
- The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin
- So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, Audre Lorde
- Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Policing Black Lives, Robyn Maynard
3. Donate to funds and support initiatives. Support platforms and initiatives that support Black people. Donate to organizations such as Black Lives Matter or bail funds. If you don’t have money to donate, sign petitions. As non-Black people, we NEED to put our money and our pens where our mouth is — we need to step above simply standing by, we need to take action. Here are some organizations you can donate to and petitions you can sign:
4. Avoid sharing traumatic content. No matter your intentions, you must consider that sharing videos of Black people being abused and hurt can be both traumatic and triggering for many Black people. Avoid sharing this kind of content as it increases the dehumanization of the Black community. Along with this, reach out to your Black friends, family, and colleagues. These recent events have been traumatic and can take a toll on their mental health.
5. Leave your ego behind. Do not centre this narrative around yourself. This is not your time to share personal experiences; while showing that you care and can empathize are nice qualities, this is not your narrative. We should not be taking space away from Black people, this is their narrative and their story. Listen without your ego and without defensiveness. Truly listen.
6. Support Black businesses and artists. Don’t support businesses or organizations that promote hate or use prison labour. Especially right now, in a COVID-19 world, these businesses and artists need support. Below is a list of some local London and Ontario businesses that are owned by Black individuals, or support the work of Black individuals.
- Watch the Netflix film, 13th, by a Black female filmmaker, Ava DuVernay
- Watch The House I Live In, by Eugene Jarekci
- Follow @blackcanvasgallery on Instagram to explore work by Black artists
- Explore the works of Black author, Richard Wright
- Follow @thesaidatshow on Instagram
- Check outthis sheet that lists 1800+ Black musical artists, producers, and labels that you can listen to and support on BandCamp
7. Create your long-term strategy as an ally. How are you going to keep making and creating long-term impacts? Can you educate friends and family? Can you volunteer in the Black community? Can you make monthly donations to organizations in need? Make the effort to do something valuable over a long-term period. Your support shouldn’t stop.
We need to do the work. We need to be open to listening and accepting criticism, even if it makes us uncomfortable. We need to amplify, both online and when physically present, the voices of the Black community. Western — we need to stand with the Black community in solidarity and fight. We can't be silent; enough is enough.
Information from this post was sourced from the following resources. Read them for lists of even more resources, ways to help and support, and ways to educate yourself and others.