Recent events that have occurred over the past month - including the unjust deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd and likely countless others that have not made it into the media cycle - have reminded us that it is not enough to simply label ourselves non-racist.
As white people, we need to do the work every day to stand up in the face of injustice, amplify the voices of BIPOC and acknowledge the privilege that the colour of our skin affords us to move through the world with systematic advantages and safety. Most importantly we need to listen, learn, and take tangible action.
We need to unlearn the system that many of us are unknowingly contributing to and do the work. We need to hold fellow white people accountable when we witness injustice in place. We need to hold ourselves accountable when we fail to recognize and actively stand against our privilege. For those who are ready to do the work or are simply interested in furthering it, we’ve put together some suggestions of everyday ways you can strive to be anti-racist. In the sage words of ljeoma Oluo:
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”
We all have a lot more to learn and a lot more work to do - this includes us. Let’s move forward in the fight together and commit to moving forward with education and action.
Understand that you must do the work
Coming to terms with the ways in which we automatically benefit from a system build on injustice will be an intense and eye-opening experience. Feeling guilt and shame as we learn this is normal and ok, do not use this guilt to try and prove to yourself or others that you aren’t racist, feel the feelings and continue to work towards what matters most. Do not rely on BIPOC to educate you on racism, there are countless resources available to us that don’t involve asking additional labour from BIPOC. It is equally important that if we are called out by a BIPOC, that we listen and learn from what they are telling us, do not begin to try and prove that you aren’t racist, acknowledge what they are saying and research how to be a better ally. Our anger towards these realities is most useful when utilized for change.
Donate and support funds and anti-racist initiatives
Where and when possible, support platforms and organizations that support POC. We have listed some below. Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein have generously put together an anti-racism resource document here with countless organizations to follow and donate to, books, articles, TV shows and more to put your time towards.
Read, watch and listen to material by BIPOC, especially anti-racist works
Reading and learning about racism is one of the most effective resources in educating ourselves about what we can be doing better and exactly how we are benefitting off of a system built for us. Strive to be continuously doing the work by putting in the time learning and taking action. Some books to start with could be:
Understand that white supremacy is often more covert than it is overt
Our understanding of white supremacy and racism is often limited to socially unacceptable behaviour such as hate crimes, the n-word, racist slurs, the KKK, lynching and more. Unfortunately, this leaves a very large gap between what is overtly racist and what is anti-racist. We have attached a chart below with some examples of covert white supremacy, please take the time to read this and understand that some behaviours you may have unknowingly participated in may be listed. Take the opportunity to learn, move forward and leave these actions in the past.
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Keep supporting once the outrage has passed
It has taken a series of violent and brutal killings to gear many people into action, we are not exempt from this statement, but it should not have had to happen to implore many people to understand the severity of the situation. When the virality dies down, we encourage you to continue supporting and donating to anti-racism initiatives, organizations, media and purchasing, reading, and amplifying work by BIPOC.
We hope that we can continue to amplify Black and Indigenous People of Colour above our own voices. Many of these every day, anti-racism pointers were learned from the work of Rachel Cargle, Check Your Privilege, Mireille Charper, Rachel Ricketts, Layla Saad, Ibram X. Kendi and No White Saviors. We encourage you to follow, support and read about the work that they are doing.