Actions White People Can Take To Confront Racism & Be In Greater Solidarity
It's hard to ignore that racism is still very pervasive today, as we continue to see the blatant example of police continuing to kill Black people. Yet, many White people do ignore this fact or want to deny it because it's easier for them. Also, if White people acknowledge racism, then that means they need to do something about it and some people either don't want to because they just want to "live their lives" without knowing that "living their lives" is a privilege they possess as a White person. Or, many White folks that I talk to want to do something to confront racism, but don't know what to do. If that's you, then this post is for you. I've created this post to help you take ACTION to help put a stop to the violence and racism that we see and perpetuate in our everyday lives.
Below is a list of actions we, as White folks, can take, and resources to use. Please share these with your friends, family, and peers so we can be in greater solidarity.
Get Educated And Educate
It is not the job of people of color to educate White people about racism just like it is not the job of women to educate men about sexism, so on and so forth. We need to educate ourselves and other White folks.
If you need more education on White privilege, this a fantastic article on what privilege is and isn't.
Have discussions with other White people about race even though it's uncomfortable. Keeping silent about racism is taking the side of the oppressor. Challenging racism that White people consciously or unconsciously reveal stops the acceptance of racism that our culture likes to normalize. When we have those hard conversations with our loved ones, we are helping remove hate and fear instead of perpetuate it.
Take Political Action
In Avital Norman Nathan's article, Concrete Ways to Be An Actual Ally to Black People, strongly suggests calling your local police station and asking what they are doing to prevent police from using violence.
Where do your representatives stand on police violence? You can track progress and demand action here. Also, call your local government officials and ask what they are doing to stop police from killing Black people and using racial bias.
Protest! Show up for the Black community by standing right beside them on the streets in protests against violence, hatred, and racism. Show that you will not stand for racism any longer.
Listening is a powerful tool. We need to know when it is our turn to talk and when it is our turn to listen. White people's voices have and still dominate society. If we want to be in solidarity with Black people and all people of color, we need to listen to Black people and people of color. We need to give them space. Space to exist, space to be seen and heard, space to be accepted and safe. This is a great, recent piece on Space & Black Womanhood.
You've probably heard of the term "mansplain." Likewise, there's the term "whitesplain" when white people explain racism to people of color. Imagine if you are a Black person and a white person started explaining to you what racism is, how twisted would that be? Avoid whitesplaining and listen.
Support Black Representation and Businesses
You can give money to the Black families who have lost their loved ones to police brutality. Here are the crowd funds for #AltonSterlingFamily and #PhilandoCastile family. Do you have links to other Black families who need support? Please share them in the comments!
Inspired by Wiley Reading's article on 5 Valuable Ways to Use Your White Privilege to Fight Anti-Black Racism, White people have the privilege of better access to enterprise than Black people. It's easier for a White person to own a business because White people have more economic power. Use your privilege to support Black-owned businesses. If Black-owned businesses are the minority in your neighborhood or town, then as Reading suggests, in her article, support Black-owned businesses online. For a list of awesome Black-owned businesses online and how to support Black entrepreneurs who are starting their business, read more of Readings article.
Make a list of Black-owned businesses in your area and share the list on social media and with friends and family. Share your list in the comments below, so we can help educate each other!
Likewise, support films, tv shows, books, media and art created by and that star Black folks. Do you only watch movies and read books that star and are written and created by White folks? Next time you want to see a film, notice how many star and are written/directed by a Black person or person of color. The more we support diverse creations, the more we are creating change in allowing diverse voices to be seen, heard, and supported. This is part of being in solidarity. We need to support diverse communities.
Make Sure Your Feminism Is Intersectional
Do you call yourself a feminist but only fight for gender equality? All oppressions fall under the same system of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalist, imperialist, heteronormative, and ableist. We can't fight one without fighting another. If we're fighting for gender equality, but ignoring structural racism, then we are fighting to get nowhere for and for no-one. As feminists, we must acknowledge that white feminism has dominated mainstream feminism and it needs to rest hard. Feminism cannot ignore the intersections of race, class, disability, and sexuality. We are fighting for all of our rights.
Read about feminism from feminists of color and feminists who come from different backgrounds and experience different oppressions that you do.
Abandon the Term "Ally"
I've been asking people of color, queer people, and women if they like the term "ally" and the overwhelming response is against the term. We may have been taught that the term "ally" is one to aspire to, but it's actually problematic. Just think about who the term is given to and its meaning. People should not have a special term for being a decent human being. White people should not be considered "allies" for fighting racism. They don't deserve a special mention or award for treating others with respect. Just like men don't deserve a special title for treating women like they are human beings who are not inferior and should have the same opportunities. There is a difference between those who are committed to undoing the "isms" that we're taught and be more aware, and that difference is in the action, not the identity.
Get Involved With Anti-Racist Work & Organizations
- Organize a community event. Host an event on a Sunday evening at your house where you talk to your friends and family about racism and share your resources on how you can take action and confront it.
Everyday Feminism has several great posts on white privilege. If you search "white privilege" and "racism" on their website, you'll see all of the various, educational posts, but I recommend this one to start.
Show Up For Racial Justice-a great national group that organizes White people for social justice. See how you can get involved!
Are You Racist?-This is a great post on 28 common racist attitudes and beliefs. If you're White and you grew up in the United States, then you've probably adopted some of these. Unlearning racism can take some time, but it starts with noticing our attitudes and beliefs because, then, we can change them.
Police Use of Force Project-providing info on the policies that allow police to use force.
What resources/suggestions do you have? Please share them in the comments so we can continue to educate each other!