If you are an ally or considering becoming one, one of the first things that you can do is educate yourself on the experience of black people in America. This can be done in many ways, such as reading a book such as The New Jim Crow. You may decide to watch a documentary such as The 13th on Netflix but it may not be best to use fictional depictions such as The Help to educate yourself.
It’s also important for you to consider connecting to social organizations such as the NAACP familiarizing yourself with the Southern Poverty Law Center and the work that they do, as well as not overlooking the grassroots organizations that are right there in your community. They vary from state to state, city to city. There are some that are networks and some that are individual, but they’re doing a lot of great work right now in your communities. So, educate yourself, explore, and get connected. And once you do get connected, you can use talents that you already have to help in this, in this fight.
So for example, if you are an organizer or if you have a large social media presence, if you are very creative, all of that is going to be helpful as the black community makes efforts to dismantle the current system that is not in our favor. So you may make signs for protestors. You may attend town hall meetings and advocate against things that are unjust or biased. So again, the talents that you have, the things that you may use in other ways, whether it be work, home and other activities in your community, that’s definitely needed in this fight and in this process.
It’s also good to aim to increase the representation of black people’s work. So buying books that are written by black people in America or globally buying art, you know patronizing black businesses, those are all things that help in this process because as you educate yourself, you’ll understand that the systemic racism has really impacted the black community’s ability to progress in a lot of ways.
But most importantly, and at the most basic level, please be aware of your own bias. Please be aware of your own stereotypes, and please be aware of your family and friends and not be afraid to call it out. We are constantly having to assess ourselves as it relates to stereotypes and bias that maybe we’ve grown up with in our families and obviously in society. And so even at the most basic level, if you can just assess this and check this in yourself, it definitely helps the process.
Obviously this is a quick overview of some ways to be an ally, but again, as you’re educating yourself and doing research, it will be very beneficial because you are needed in this fight. Thank you. Take care.