I grew up hearing things like “I don’t see color” and “We are all the same.” While these statements have good intentions, they are statements of complacency. By saying, “I don’t see color” one is diminishing the bias, prejudice, and racism experienced by people of color every day. What we should have been saying is, “I see color but it does not control my decision making.” In order to deconstruct a system of power & privilege based on skin color, we have to acknowledge and celebrate our unique cultural differences. Being a good White Ally to people of color does not mean being color blind. We can do better – we have to do better.
Yes, acknowledging your white privilege is the first step to becoming a white ally. White privilege is advantage that comes with the color of your skin and no matter your social status – being white has privilege. This DOES NOT suggest that white people have never struggled. It is also NOT an assumption that everything a white person has accomplished wasn’t worked for. White Privilege is separate from economic status or effort.
White privilege is a lot of things but some examples are:
White privilege is the cause of racism and ignoring it is choosing to be on the side of oppression. Instead, acknowledge that as a white person, you have a natural platform to speak out against oppression and racism. It comes with your skin color.
This can be uncomfortable especially when it comes to friends and family. Fuck the uncomfortable. When you do not call out racism, you are avoiding one moment of uncomfortableness for a potential lifetime of continued racism. Choosing silence is choosing the side of oppression. Call them out. Use your natural platform to put an end to this language being part of the “normal.”
When you start to do this, prepare for some people to distance themselves. Change is uncomfortable and people tend to run from anything that makes them uncomfortable. Change happens in the uncomfortable. Fuck the uncomfortable and call them out.
Always do the research on where you are getting your information. Fake news is a real thing. There are informational platforms that contribute to systemic oppression. Systemic oppression is the intentional disadvantaging of groups of people based on their identity while advantaging members of the dominant group. Identifying problematic information outlets is the first step to reevaluating where you’re getting your information. NPR is my favorite place to get information. Knowledge is power – power is change.
This not only helps the economy but brings light to businesses that are overlooked because they’re minority-owned. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are:
Tabitha Brown is a vegan influencer on TikTok.
Black Artist Space is a feature account highlighting black artists on Instagram.
Black Bride highlights black-owned businesses in the wedding industry.
Do a search in your own neighborhood to find locally owned businesses owned by minorities – you’ll be surprised at what you find. Support small businesses. Support minority-owned businesses.
Everyone has bias. I remember I took a Race and Ethnicity class in undergrad. We were asked to take the Implicit Bias Test by Harvard University. Implicit Bias are thoughts and feelings outside of your conscious and control. Attending a university in Chicago, the class consisted of students of many backgrounds. The professor asked us to share our results if we felt comfortable. Two men of color offered to share their results. They wanted to share because they didn’t understand why they got the results they did. Their tests returned that they’re more comfortable about white people. They were shocked. They shared how they grew up on the South Side of Chicago where 93% of racial demographics are African American and their friend groups were people of color. After discussing this, they realized they have witnessed violence by people of color in their own neighborhood. They went on to say they have also seen violent by white people… so why do they still feel more comfortable with white people? The professor opened the conversation up to how society portrays white violence and crime compared to crimes committed by people of color. There is a BIG difference between the two portrayals – thus, causing implicit bias. Self-reflection can be uncomfortable but it’s necessary to confront the WHY of what we are feeling in order to take action.
Your shitty childhood is not an excuse for your racism. Your shitty experiences is not an excuse for your racism. Your shitty ignorance is not an excuse for your racism. Own up, reflect, make changes. Ask how you can be a better white ally. Do it fuckin’ scared.