Illustration by Jena Holliday | Spoonful of Faith
Becoming an ally to the black community starts with educating yourself about racism, and recognizing racism in its different forms. To start, it is realizing there is both active and passive forms of racism. An example of active racism includes using racial slurs, or saying things like “black people scare me.” Whereas an example of passive racism looks like a microinsult with phrases like “you sound white” or “I don’t see color…” But the pervasive issue of racism in our society goes on and on, and is not just about what we say but also what we do.
With that being said, here are five tips to help end this social injustice through educating ourselves, talking about it and addressing it head on.
1. Start with yourself
Look into your own values and beliefs, and ask yourself if they still align with your current self. Dissect them fully. Some of the values and beliefs we think we hold are actually derived from our family of origin. Perspectives handed down to us by our parents which may need reevaluating because values and beliefs transition as we get older. Look at yourself and see if you have any biases against people of color, acknowledge it and learn from that mistake. Because the more you know about yourself, the better you will be as an ally to the black community.
2. Educate yourself about racism
Do your own research and be open to learning about racism. Read books and articles on racism. We are living in a social media world where nearly everyone has a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account. Reevaluate the people in your social media communities. Follow people who align with your beliefs and values – people who add value to your life. Make an effort to follow black creators, authors and innovators. Seek our black writers and leaders who have written or talked about racism. Education should be a never ending, continuous journey. The more you research about racism the better you will understand it, and they more you will recognize when you have crossed the line into racism.
3. Talk to your friends & family about racism
I personally believe this component is one of the hardest aspects of this. It is incredibly hard to stand up for change when it is in opposition of the people you are the closest with in life. This is where tips and 1 and 2 really come into play. The more you know about yourself, your own heart and what you personally stand for in conjunction with your own racial education, research and knowledge, the better equipped you will be to stand against racism in your own family and community. Because standing up for what is right is never a bad thing, especially when people you love have crossed lines into racism.
I understand that not everyone can be on the front lines of protests, but there are other ways to show support and get involved. Some people volunteer, others donate money, others help out in their local communities. Others use their social media platforms to spread awareness and knowledge. And still others are able to be on the front lines and march for social changes. The bottom line is just to do something, and I guarantee you will learn a thing or two in the process as you interact with people from all walks of life.
5. Don’t be silent
When you encounter racism, say something. Call it out and stand up for the person being targeted. Choosing silence, being quiet and hoping things just go away does not help anyone. Use your privilege and raise your voice. It is time to stand up for people of color.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor…” Bishop Desmond Tutu
And that’s it, my friends. It’s about looking into our own hearts, educating ourselves and no longer staying silent. That being said, please let me know of any tips I have left out. What have you found to be helpful? Comment below and let me know if if these tips worked for you… let’s start a conversation and work together to turn the tide of racism.
Stay safe out there and you use your voice for positivity. You can follow me on Instagram (@itssarahlyfe) where I post frequently on such issues and mom related content.