How to Be a Better White Ally

The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.

Günter Grass

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, many white people are desperately trying to “do something” to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. We’re joining protests, donating money to organizations like the NAACP and to bail out protesters, and purchasing goods from black-owned businesses. We’re reading essays and watching videos in order to educate ourselves about the history of systematic, sanctioned violence, prejudice, discrimination, and inequity against people of color (POC). And, hopefully, we’re having open, honest conversations with our black friends and coworkers, asking, at the very least, whether they’re okay and how we can help.

If you’re a white person who’s been standing with our black brothers and sisters during this watershed moment, keep doing what you’re doing, because this fight has just begun. And when election time rolls around, vote! Vote for the candidate who will harness the energy of the BLM movement to drive meaningful change, not for the one who will continue to drive a wedge between races and political parties.

There’s a lot that you can do between today and Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

  • If you’re not a registered voter, register immediately.
  • Encourage other BLM supporters ― of all races ― to register.
  • Explain to everyone who will listen that not voting isn’t an option. If they don’t like the candidate for change, so what? There may never be a perfect candidate. Furthermore, unless we, the people, elect a new president in the upcoming election, our nation’s attitudes towards racism will continue to devolve to levels we haven’t experienced since the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
  • Support the campaigns of like-minded local, state and federal candidates by donating and volunteering.

The truth is that I have no idea what it’s like to be stopped for walking or driving because of the color of my skin. I have no idea what it’s like to be followed in a store because I’m black. I have no idea what it’s like to be denied a job, even though that’s illegal, because I’m a person of color. I may think that I do, but I’m sure that I’m wrong. Just like any other person, even another white woman, would be wrong if they said that they know what it’s like to be me. We’re all created unique but equal. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can be better, and more effective, BLM allies.     

2 thoughts on “How to Be a Better White Ally

  1. Aside from the created equal, I would say born equal as we are grown, not created, what you say is true enough. But it must be done with humility, because the POC recipient will know if you are being genuine, or just wagoneering.
    Being a POC (red) who can pass for white, I get it from both sides. I am proudly Métis, but being so is as much a curse as a welcome reality. I can fit in either social group, white or First Nation, yet just as easily I can be banned from either, depending on the group make-up.
    I do not know the Black experience, yet I am aware of it. To be around people, red or white or otherwise, who treat you as inferior without even thinking about it, is deprecating. To live one’s entire life like that can only be devastating.
    Yes, offer help/understanding where you can, but only if it is wanted, or asked for. If you can find it, read “Black Consciousness in South Africa,” a book about defeating apartheid. It may help you to understand systemic racism.
    If I had the power, I would make it required reading in every school in the world. It talks to all races, and all exploited groups, even women. Anyone who is bullied or rejected by their peers can see themselves in it. Peace, and genuine acceptance, be with you always.

    Liked by 1 person

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