How to be an ally for the Black community
Want to support the Black community beyond social media? In light of current events, it is not enough for us to say we are not racist, we must take the necessary steps to educate ourselves and become an ally. Here are key action steps you can implement into your life right now.
Listen. If you are not a part of the Black community, now is the time for us to speak less and listen more. This is broken down into three steps: listen, learn and follow. Practice active listening by putting distractions aside and giving the person your full attention. When listening to someone’s experiences, only share yours when asked to do so. Lastly, ask them what you can do, and remind them that you are there to be alongside them if need be.
Organizations to follow and donate to: Antiracist Research & Policy Center, Audre Lorde Project, Black Women’s Blueprint, Color of Change, Colorlines, The Conscious Kid, Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), Families Belong Together, The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, NAACP, RAICES, Showing Up For Radical Justice (SURJ) and United We Dream.
Education. It is not the job of marginalized groups to educate non-marginalized people on the history of their experiences. What do we mean by that? It means to do your own research. Reading about Black history is vital here. But we can go further by consuming Black media such as movies, tv shows, documentaries, books, podcasts, etc.
Books to check out: So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo, PhD and Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Podcasts to check out: 1619 by the New York Times, About Race, Code Switch by NPR, The Diversity Gap, Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast and Pod For The Cause from the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights.
Speak out. This step can have the biggest impact. Speak out when you hear racism in conversations in your everyday life, whether it’s from your coworkers, friends or family. This means overt and covert racism. Hold them accountable for their words by explaining to them how systems of oppression affect marginalized groups as well as explaining the roles they may play in those systems.
Being an ally for the Black community is a lifelong journey that requires commitment, understanding and dedication. As anti-racist activist Jane Elliott asked, “Would you be happy to receive the same treatment that our black citizens do in this society?” If your answer is no, then it may be time to reflect on whether you are helping to change that.