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How to Be an Effective Ally to the BLM Movement

With the recent police brutality murders and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black men who have lost their lives due to a corrupt system that is built on racist ideology, it is important to speak up and acknowledge your privilege. If you continue to defend the cops and indirectly claim that this is only an American problem, then you might be displaying racism in a subtle way. Continuing to pick sides, claiming that Black people have higher crime rates, or other wrongful convictions might be evidence of your privilege and misconceptions. 

 

Racism isn’t just an American problem as evidenced by the Canadian police’s handling of the Ejaz Choudry,  Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and the systemic racism that continues to impact Indigenous people. These are just some examples of the implications that racist and hateful ideology can have at home. To address these issues it is important to find ways to demonstrate your allyship with the BIPOC community and showcase your support. 

 

1.     Display your support 

Firstly, you should never impose your own judgement and analysis of the situation. I’ve heard countless people claim: “there are two sides to every story.” While this may be true for a quarrel with friends it does not apply to human rights. It is important to remain non confrontational and spend your time listening to your friends who might be severely struggling. Please don’t impose any solutions on your friends and other individuals in your social circle.  This is  hurtful and indicates that this is a superficial problem; however, the truth is systemic racism is a problem that is rooted in American and Canadian history. 

 

2.     Acknowledge your mistakes

If you’ve found yourself trying to acknowledge the police’s side in cases such as Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and recently Breonna Taylor, then you might be doing more harm. Although it can be hurtful to acknowledge that the system might be corrupt and that the cops may be doing more damage than good, it is more harmful to let BIPOC continue to suffer and be the victims in these killings and other hate crimes. If you’ve offended someone please apologize! Don’t try to challenge a minority or a person of colour when they find something offensive. 

 

3.     Educate yourself 

This relates to acknowledging your mistakes, but if you’ve found yourself in the wrong please educate yourself! There is countless empirical literature covering systemic racism, health disparities, and other social outcomes that adversely impact BIPOC. Spend some time going through these issues and always ask before assuming! 

 

Although the BIPOC community has been disproportionately affected for decades and years, either directly or indirectly, 2020 has brought a lot of change in terms of these issues being addressed through protests, and numerous organizations taking action against racist ideology, sentiment, and broadcasting their support for Black Lives Matter. There is still a lot more work to be done, and the only way forward is by discussing these uncomfortable instances and apologizing when you're in the wrong.  

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