5 Things We as White People Can Do to Be Better Allies

Hi, my name is Sophia and I am white. I acknowledge that I, whether knowing or unknowingly, have benefited from white privilege my whole life. Growing up, I wasn’t always aware of the meaning of words like white privilege and microaggressions. I don’t think it was until the start of high school that I began to truly ponder racism and what exactly it entailed. Let me tell you, to say it was uncomfortable for me to come to the realization that I’ve been racist my whole life, is an understatement. Since then, I have tried to question all of my interactions with Black people and slowly but surely have seen a change, real and long lasting. All of this is to say that, although I have been actively trying to be a better ally for a while now, I know that I still have so much to learn and so much room to grow. That is why I have compiled a list of resources, so that if you, like me, were completely lost, you have a place to start. The absolute first step is to acknowledge that the racial discrimination that  is happening in our country is inhumane and unjust. Once you’ve got that down, you must acknowlegde that it is crucial we strive to create change that lasts beyond a trend on Twitter or Instagram and create a lifestyle where we are actively anti-racist. On that note, let's begin:

  1. 1.  Consciously Educate Yourself

    think before you speak sign

    It is important that we act mindfully and be deliberate in our efforts to be better allies rather than blindly take action. We must learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement and the experience of the black community not for our own peace of mind but for the sake of those around us. This does not mean that we have to move mountains in a day. Issues like systemic racism and oppression are so ingrained in our society that they will take a long time to dismantle. In order for us to be better allies and fight systemic racism we must be willing to take that first step to become aware of our white privilege. In this day and age that can happen from your bed or couch. Below there are some tv shows, books, and other resources to help you start learning:

    Netflix:

    Time: The Kalief Browder Story 

    Who killed Malcolm X? 

    13th by Ava Duvernay

    American Son by Kenny Leon

    Dear White People by Justin Simien

    See You Yesterday by Stefan Bristol

    When They See Us by Ava Duvernay

    Explained: The Racial Wealth Gap  

     

    E-Books:

    Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race: The Sunday Times Bestseller by Reni Eddo-Lodge (Amazon)

    White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo and Michael Eric Dyson (Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Black-owned bookstore)

    Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad (Amazon)

    Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Black-owned bookstore)

    Taking Up Space: The Black Girl's Manifesto for Change by Ore Ogunbiyick (Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Black-owned bookstore)

    How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi (Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Black-owned bookstore)

    The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois (Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery: Black-owned bookstore)

     

    Websites:

    Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co

    National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): https://www.naacp.org/

    Color of Change: https://colorofchange.org/

    Equal Justice Initiative: https://eji.org/

  2. 2. Post On Social Media

    Hopefully, you have been flooded with posts from the Black Lives Matter movement. One way to do your part in supporting the movement is to repost those on your story or feed (not just to prove to your friends that you are not racist, but because you wholeheartedly want to support the movement). Now, while this simple act may be enough for most people--don't get me wrong, social media is powerful, especially when it comes to spreading the word about issues as important as systemic racism--this is a good FIRST step, but we must not just stop here. So, if you see posts that further the movement, be sure to repost for your followers to see, but also make sure to read and absorb the information they share.

  3. 3. Amplify the Voices of Black Activists 

    liberty and justice for all protest sign

    As #blacklivesmatter has been trending on all social media platforms, we have to realize that the movement is not about white people bettering themselves, it is about uplifting individuals in the Black community and learning about their experiences. This can be done by following and reposting some of the content from Black activists online. Here are a few accounts that you can follow to get you started:

    @kenidra4humanity : https://www.instagram.com/kenidra4humanity/?hl=en

    @rachel.cargle: https://www.instagram.com/rachel.cargle/?hl=en

    @laylafsaad: https://www.instagram.com/laylafsaad/?hl=en

    @theconsciouskid: https://www.instagram.com/theconsciouskid/?hl=en

    @nowhitesaviors: https://www.instagram.com/nowhitesaviors/?hl=en

    @munroebergdorf: https://www.instagram.com/munroebergdorf/?hl=en

    @blklivesmatter: https://www.instagram.com/blklivesmatter/?hl=en

    @showingupforracialinjustice: https://www.instagram.com/showingupforracialjustice/?hl=en

  4. 4. Sign a Petition

    business document getting signed

    Petitions are a great way for you to stand with the Black community and demand justice not just for George Floyd, but for other victims of police brutality. 

    These petitions might seem simple, but with the click of a button we can stand in solidarity and further support the ideals and goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. I also included a link to support a petition that helps to obtain justice for Belly Mujinga, a Black woman from the UK, who after being harassed and spit on developed Coronavirus and passed away. These are just some of the few incidents of racism from around the world where people have demanded justice. Here you can find just a couple of petitions I have collected. Don’t hesitate to sign other petitions that also support the movement:

     

    George Floyd: Petition · Justice for George Floyd 

    Colors of Change: Join Our Movement | ColorOfChange.org

    Mayor Jacob Frey( Justice for George Floyd): Petition update · One step closer 

    Belly Mujinga: Petition · Justice for Belly Mujinga. 

    Ahmaud Arbery: Petition · Justice for Ahmaud Arbery

    Breonna Taylor: Petition · Justice for Breonna Taylor

    Ending Qualified Immunity: Petition · Qualified Immunity needs legislative reform

  5. 5. Donate

    Donating to the cause is a great way to take part if you are unable to physically attend protests in your area. Donating even five dollars can truly go a long way. For example the George Floyd Memorial Fund now has raised over 13 million dollars, surpassing their goal of 1.5 million, mostly due to donations of anywhere between 5 and 50 dollars. Below I have added some links to donate either your time or your money:

    If you cannot donate money this is a YouTube video created by Zoe Amira that has ads which donate to multiple causes dedicated to furthering the movement (it features art and music from black creators): https://youtu.be/bCgLa25fDHM

    minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate

    George Floyd: Official George Floyd Memorial Fund organized by Philonise Floyd

    NAACP

    Ahmaud Arbery: https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud

    Breonna Taylor: https://www.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor

    Protest bail fund (national and listed by state): https://bailfunds.github.io

These are all resources I stumbled upon on Instagram posts, YouTube videos, and other social media platforms. I have seen many posts throughout this week stating resources and I understand that these are just a few, however it would be hypocritical of me to tell everyone to read all these books and watch all these tv shows without me doing the same. This sentiment is something that must be understood and echoed; you need to absorb the information you are sharing and truly take advantage of it. Do not share information mindlessly without truly absorbing it.

I know that many others along with myself are standing with the Black community today but we must not forget to sustain our support. This inequality and racism has to stop. Not only is it unjust, but it is entirely unacceptable. As white people or non people of color, we have the duty of uplifting and truly listening to our Black brothers and sisters because, even though we will never know what they feel, it never hurts to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We have to be okay with asking uncomfortable questions and having honest conversations. If we never say the wrong thing we will never learn what the right thing to say is.

Black Lives Matter.