How to be an ally to the Black community
Because white privilege is REAL
Following on from the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer and how it has influenced the many to speak out and support the Black lives matter movement, the topic of showing your ally-ship to the Black and BAME community if you are white has become a huge point of discussion.
For many of us, we are learning just how vital it is to be wary of our white privilege and to educate ourselves on black history and the racism that still affects and oppresses our black peers to this day. Sure, you do realise that racism still exists, but how aware are you of what it looks like today? Do you know what racial micro-aggressions are? Do you actually know what BAME stands for? Did you know that Sussex Uni has a 26 per cent awarding gap between white and black students? How about that only 2.2 per cent of our academic staff are black? Or that we have zero black female professors?
Upon learning some of the aforementioned facts, as a white individual you may come to realise that maybe you don’t know as much as you thought. Maybe it is time to do some reading and research, and to really take the time to listen to the Black community and see how you can be an ally.
There is a lot to learn, and so much that you can do to make a change and put an end to racism. So, here is your guide to understanding the importance of the Black lives matter movement and to how you can support it and contribute to the fight for racial equality.
Photo creds to @eleanor.waterhouse
First on the list is social media and how you can utilise it to spread awareness of #blacklivesmatter. Since the movement has gained so much recognition and hype after tonnes of American activists led protests for BLM, our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other feeds have become jam packed with content to spread awareness. And we have all been encouraged and inspired to share and post about it as a result.
From participating in #blackouttuesday to sharing petitions, from speaking out about white privilege to statistics on police brutality, from sharing content from black creators to recommending podcasts and TV shows, we can all do our bit to keep the conversation about racism and civil rights alive and well on social media. This is the most powerful way to be seen and heard by many and perhaps the easiest step to becoming the change you want to see.
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You Dont have to ask to share anything I post – thats what social media is for. Draw your own conclusions from these I guess. The formula that allows 100s of people to lose their lives in a tower block in the same constituency that houses some of the most expensive real estate in the world just miles away. Rip 🕊 Been strange to read 100s of delusional comments from people who think access to resources in this country are equal (The same resources or lack thereof that lead to paths of crime and poverty).. But i wont be responding to them anymore for my own mental health. “Cherry picking” stats is apparently easy yet no one seems to be able to do the same to prove otherwise apart from the fact there are some rich black athletes and entertainers now lol
Of course, it’s not a competition to see who can post the most content in support of BLM and it is important to make sure your ally-ship isn’t performative. Below are some great accounts you can follow to see more content about #blacklivesmatter and what you can do to be an ally:
TikTok (you read that right)
Ah, our favourite app. Filling up Vine-shaped holes in our hearts and providing us with silly, cringy content and complex dance routines. But that is not all. Given the current propelling of the Black lives matter movement in the news and media, many TikTok users have taken to the platform.
From footage of the many protests to people informing others of their legal rights if stopped at a protest by police, to black and BAME people speaking out about racial abuse they’ve received, to white people urging their fellow white peers to realise their white privilege, TikTok is bustling with content.
The #blacklivesmatter page on TikTok
There has been a lot of informative TikToks where users talk about black history, the reasoning behind the taking down of certain statues, debunk the views of white supremacists, and explain topical phenomenas that have been circulating the news and media.
With all these creators providing us with so much engaging content that can aid our education and help us to see how important it is to be an ally to our Black and BAME communities, why not get on TikTok and learn something. Plus, you can easily share these videos with your pals.
Here’s some TikToks to watch:
Watch and Listen
Another easy way to educate yourself and others on the importance of the Black lives matter movement is with videos, tv shows, films, and podcasts. We have practically unlimited access to these resources, and for the most part, they are even free. So get out there and discover, educate yourself, and share these with your friends and family.
“Who Killed Malcolm X?”
“The Death and Life of Marsha P.Johnson”
“Dear White People”
“When They See Us”
“Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story”
Podcasts on Spotify:
“Colour Out The Box”
“About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge”
Podcasts on The Humanity Archive:
“Podcast #3: Conquering Fear: MLK on Living with Confidence”
“Podcast #8: Ida B. Wells: No More Lynching”
NY Times – 1619
NY Times – Still Processing
NPR’s Code Switch
Explore the works of Black and BAME philosophers, critics, and thinkers
If you’re looking to get some worthy statistics under your belt and really broaden your knowledge of black history and systemic racism, reading a book is a surefire way to give you the knowledge which will equal power in an argument or debate and allow you to vocalise your ally-ship and solidarity with the Black and BAME communities.
Some key texts:
“How To Be an Antiracist” – Ibram X.Kendi
“Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World” – Layla Saad
“Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of the Empire” – Akala
As Sussex students, we are lucky enough to have access to all these texts for free via the library website:
Credits to @jordicarterr
Supporting Black and BAME creators, artists, and business owners
So, you’ve done some educational reading and shared some informative posts on your story, what next? Support and celebrate the talent, work, and culture of Black and BAME authors, artists, and business owners! Give them the recognition they deserve and make the decision to diversify your consumption of goods and entertainment.
Some novels by Black and BAME authors:
“Silver Sparrow” – Tayari Jones
“Such a Fun Age” – kiley Reid
“Love in Colour” – Bolu Babalola
“Noughts & Crosses” – Malorie Blackman
“The Black Flamingo” – Dean Atta
“The Street” – Ann Petry
“The go-between” – Osman Yousefzada
Visual artists on Insta:
Racheal Scotland – @rs.arts
Jada – @jadathekid_
Simeon Nwoko – @jason_surelife
Check out @youngblackartists for more
Artists on Spotify:
Jesse Boykins III
Lianne La Havas
Georgia Anne Muldrow
And to support Black and BAME businesses in Brighton, check out this guide.
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Dear allies, Your support of #BLM is vital! Please continue to sign petitions, donate to charities and share information on your platform, we are making a difference in the world and we can’t slow down now!✊🏽 Post and photography by: Lily (BAME Soc President) @mitchxll_09
Take action! Attend protests where you can, keep an eye out for relevant petitions and be sure to share them. It is also worth writing to your local MP to voice concerns about systemic racism and to urge politicians to openly support the Black lives matter movement. And if you can, donate.
Picking out extracts from Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” for family members to read
Conversations with friends and family
This may be one of the more challenging ways of demonstrating ally-ship to the Black and BAME communities but it is key. As a white person, it is up to you to tackle racism against people of minority groups and contribute to dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism. It is important to point out racial biases or racist comments made by people you know. You should do this by engaging in healthy debates and by showing your friends and family the resources you have used to educate yourself. Keep the conversation going, BLM is not just a trend!
Normalise changing your opinion when you learn new info
We must keep our minds open to learning new information that may influence the way we think or our views of the world around us. We must listen and learn from our Black and BAME peers to understand why supporting the Black lives matter movement is so important. We mustn’t be afraid to speak out against injustices and empathise with others. Check your privilege, correct yourself, grow.