Ways to Be a POC Ally Against Racial Injustice

June 03, 2020

This is for my POC friends who are struggling with what to say and how to act in wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all those we do not publicly know the name of.

Recognize that being black in America is something we will never understand. We are not here to compare or equate our experiences of racial injustice. This may come from a place of deep empathy, but know that this is not the time. Sharing your own experiences with racial discrimination can help anchor your empathy towards being an ally, but your individual experience should never be the center of it. You will never fully experience or understand the weight of being black in America. Offer your support and empathize, but know this is not about you.

Those who are Asian-American, be aware and take action to dispel the "Model Minority" myth. Code Switch by NPR discusses how this myth has been used to drive a wedge between Asians and those in the Black community. 

Understand your privilege. Use it as leverage to talk about racism and lift up black voices. Understanding your privilege as a non black POC is integral in recognizing just how racism can impact a persons life and entire communities. Our privilege looks a little different from those who are white, but it is still just that. Talk to your friends, family, your coworkers. Talking about racism is a difficult conversation, but incredibly necessary for others to recognize how they directly benefit from a privilege they did absolutely nothing to earn.

Elevate black voices as they are who need to be heard the most at this time. Commit to responding to what they have to say actively, not passively. @domrobxrts on Instagram has posted some informative videos about having a conversation about racism in your home and how to actively be an ally.

Take the time to educate yourself. Every day is a chance to learn. Approach learning about experiences different from yours with an open mind. Recognize that some of the freedoms you have and inherit are because of African-American activists who came before you. It is okay to not know things and learn new information, but it is not okay to stand by and ignore chances to learn more and be better.

Educating yourself does not mean bombarding your black friends and family with questions about themselves and their struggles. It is not their job or responsibility to tell you what it is like to be them. They don’t owe you anything. Take initiative and seek out resources yourself.

I have found that reading books, listening to podcasts, and following local leaders and organizations are ways that work for me to educate myself. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a great book to start with to learn about America’s deep racial history. Code Switch by NPR is one of my favorite podcasts that deep dives into racial culture globally. Race Project KC has some nice community resources as well.

Lastly, do not wait. Do not wait for someone else to speak up first. Do not wait for things to get worse. Act with urgency, outrage and always with compassion.

Please comment any other suggestions or resources you have for being an ally!

Graphic credit to @domrobxrts

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