Don’t lose hope! We have plenty of reasons to keep faith in ourselves and others around us! There is a lot one can do to be an ally and be anti-racist instead of simply being non-racist.
Read more about racism in the United States, preferably materials written by people of color, especially Black authors and scholars. These include books such as “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race” by Beverly Tatum; “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo; and “When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele. You can Google lists of more books to read by non-white authors.
Follow people of color on social media and pay attention to what they are saying. Trust them and respect their voices. It’s OK if they are saying different things; in fact, that’s necessary because all people of color are not the same, and they do not have identical experiences nor do they process or respond to their experiences with white supremacy the same way.
When given an opportunity to speak for people of color or on behalf of them, do not take that opportunity; instead, pass the mic and give that opportunity to a person of color who can speak for themself. Let go of the idea that one must give a voice to someone else — because all people have a voice, but not all people have a platform. To be a good ally, create platforms.
If one is called out for being racist or holding racist opinions, it’s important not to get defensive and/or demand a detailed explanation. Instead, acknowledge and admit the wrong done, apologize for the harm done, and commit to learning and growing. It’s OK to admit when one is being racist. We live in a white supremacy, and racism is all around us; many of us have internalized racist beliefs and attitudes, and sometimes, these are subconscious acts. It’s also important not to put a person of color through the burden of explaining things that can be researched and learned individually. The library is always an excellent place to start.
Talk about race and racism with friends, family members, children, coworkers, and others — in the absence of people of color. Interrupt racist behavior when you see it, whether it is a racist attack on a person of color or someone telling a racist joke.
If eligible to vote, vote for people who promote justice and compassion for all, not for those who deny the existence of racism.
Read more about being an ally: