I am very happy the conversation on race is now being elevated beyond the usual empty words followed by no action. I truly believe this time it will lead to significant change that will continue to move us as a society towards equity and equality for Black people.
Beyond donating to causes, and after the protests, here are a few ways you can help to be anti-racist in your day to day interactions with your Black friends/co-workers/neighbors.
Make conversations on how to be an ANTI-RACIST commonplace
Start a conversation about racial injustice with your immediate circle of friends and your family. Ask them their thoughts and understanding of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Educate them and be open to being educated by them.
The #Metoo movement elevated the conversation on consent. Though we still have a long way to go, people are more aware and educated on the idea of giving and getting consent. We can now regularly identify our faulty ideologies on the issue and call each other out. Let’s do the same for race
Don’t make or encourage racist jokes & stereotypes.
Call out your white friends or family when they do or say something racist. Even when a Black person is not there to witness it.
Learn to LISTEN.
Stop being triggered when someone tries to correct you on a race-related issue or by the word “Racist”. When you go on the defense, you instantly make it about you and, you make yourself a victim. So, instead of it being a learning experience, the Black person or minority is tasked with convincing you that you’re not racist and taking care of your feelings. Doing that is called White fragility. Some of you even start crying. It’s called White tears. Black people are tired and deeply pained by both.
Stop reducing your Black friends to a stereotype.
Don’t make assumptions about us or generalize our actions. Black people just want to live in a society where the color of their skin is NOT an issue. We deserved to be judged on our actions and character as an INDIVIDUAL.
Don’t assume your Black friend knows how to twerk or loves rap music. Don’t define their whole identity on what you think they should be because they are Black.
Stop trying to set up your Black friend with the only other Black person you know or meet.
Ask yourself: “Do these two people really have anything in common? Or am I only trying to set them up because they are both Black?”
Then refer to the previous point.
Stop asking your Black female friend endless ignorant questions about her hair.
If you love their hair, compliment it, and move on. Don’t put them through a 15-min Q&A session on Black hair. When you do this, you remind your Black friend that you see Black people as different, strange, and separate from the “norm”.
Black people have existed just as long (or even longer) than any race. Your ignorance or lack of understanding of us and our cultures reminds us of segregation, systemic racism, and the fact that White is seen as the default race. It reminds us of the historic disinterest in Black people and culture while we are forced to consume and adapt to White cultures and rules.
And don’t touch it!
If a Black person doesn’t want to talk about race, don’t make them.
We deal with racism every day of their lives and sometimes we just need a break. There are many books, articles, videos, and podcasts on the subject. Don’t ask your Black friends to educate you on racism or inequality. Don’t ask them to share their experiences unless they initiate the conversation or you are absolutely sure it’s appropriate.
It’s NEVER ok to say the N-word.
Not when you’re singing a song, not when you’re quoting someone, not in your sleep. Just never say it!
I am sure you are good and kind and have no hate in your heart for Black people. You have however been born in a society that gives you privilege at the expense of others. It has also unknowingly ingrained some prejudices into you. Changing this behavior is a learning experience for you and for me. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to show support and fight for Black Lives Matter. When it’s genuine we can tell. If you’re doing it for virtue-signaling purposes we can tell too. So be genuine and join your voice with ours! You have no idea how good it feels to see White people fighting for Black lives with passion, sincerity, and even anger. Humanity is beautiful when we do the right thing and support each other. ❤️
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