For The Well-Intentioned
I’m often asked,
"Now that I’m more aware of my privilege, what can I do to help end racism?"
The most important thing that white folks can do if they want to stand against white privilege and racism is to shut the fuck up and listen.
Yeah, I said “shut the fuck up.” I give no fucks. I don’t like being harsh anymore than anyone else does, and I wish I didn’t have to be—but really, we’re talking to privilege here.
Your privilege is constantly going to object. Your privilege has to shut the fuck up…and you have to make that happen. You are not your privilege. You don’t have to cater to it.
You have most likely been conditioned to believe certain conventional wisdoms about race and racism. All of it is bullshit.
All of it?
Yes. ALL OF IT.
The most important thing we can do as allies to do listen to what people of color are saying and value their Lived Experience.
Our next job is to educate other white people. The quicker, the better.
Yes, it would be nice if we could personally counsel and mentor people as they work through the issues that come with realizing what you think is reality is not actually reality, with realizing that you have been lied to and conned by white supremacy.
Not that you shouldn’t do that when you feel it necessary, but people of color don’t have that kind of time. The end of white privilege and racism is often a matter of life and death for them.
So, however you feel it best to educate people—
Do something. Do anything.
Most of all, don’t expect people of color to educate you. They deal with white privilege and racism all day. Everyday. From birth until death. It’s a heavy burden that effects not only their mental health, but their physical health. You, as a good person, should not want to add to that by asking them to deal with your privilege.
That being said, I’m here to tell you I personally have learned everything I know about racism from people of color. From reading, listening, and learning. Even at times being called out on my own privileged ways.
This is why white folks who really get it are so important. So we can take what we have learned and apply it and educate so that people of color don’t have to educate for their own survival.
From here, there is also a lot you can check out in order to educate yourself.
Anti-Racism 101: A Short And Probably Incomplete List:
- Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum
- Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
- White Like Me by Tim Wise
- How The Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev
- killing rage by bell hooks
- "Roots" TV miniseries
- Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
- A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
- STFU Confederates
- Whiteness Studies
- Lies My Teacher Told Me
- Resist Racism