The murder of 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd in Minnesota, sparked global outrage, and rightfully so. It’s a wake up call for many to learn more about, and fight against, racism that has existed for far too long. To pay attention, and deep dive into a range of different resources. To use our collective platforms to combat issues of racism not just in the US, but in Australia and around the world.
Black Lives Matter protests across the US and the world have sparked a global discussion on how white people can be better advocates for Black communities.
Here, we’re outlining a handful of ways to be an anti-racist ally not only in times of hardship, when racism is the focus of the global news cycle, but indefinitely.
This list is composed of advice and resources from fellow publications, journalists and activist groups. Being an ally means continually learning and educating yourself and those around you on the ways we can help and support marginalised communities.
If there is something missing from this list, we want to hear from you. Please DM us on Instagram or email [email protected] and we’ll continue to update this story.
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In an essay for the New York Times, acclaimed professor, award-winning author, and director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center, @ibramxk dove into the topic of how to combat racism: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “anti-racist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage. We learn early the racist notion that white people have more because they are more; that people of color have less because they are less. I had internalized this worldview by my high school graduation, seeing myself and my race as less than other people and blaming other blacks for racial inequities. To build a nation of equal opportunity for everyone, we need to dismantle this spurious legacy of our common upbringing.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In order to do this, we have to educate ourselves. We can learn about covert white supremacy, follow organizations leading the way for racial equity and justice, watch films, listen to podcasts, and read books. This doesn’t need to be seen as a chore, but can instead be seen as an opportunity — an opportunity to better understand ourselves, love our neighbors, and become the change we wish to see. #AntiRacism #BecomeGoodNews @goodgoodgoodco ⠀⠀ — Link to resources in @goodgoodgoodco bio
Understand and acknowledge your privilege
In a profound Instagram post, British model and activist Munroe Bergdorf explained the important need to acknowledge one’s position of privilege.
“We need to shift the perspective of oppression being the problem of those who experience it. We need to acknowledge that privilege exists as a spectrum and is an indicator for where the work needs to take place.
“Expecting marginalised folk to be the ones to deconstruct their own oppression is as good as saying ‘not my problem’ and letting it happen, as it doesn’t acknowledge where the problem is coming from. The definition of privilege is thinking that something isn’t a problem because it isn’t YOUR problem,” she wrote.
Carefully read through her post below for a comprehensive guide to understanding white privilege.
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Racism is not a black people problem, it is a white culture issue. Sexism is not a female problem, it is an issue with male dominated culture. Classism is not a poor people problem, it is a capitalism issue. Homophobia and transphobia aren't queer people problems, they are issues with cis straight post-colonial society. In order to push forward, we need to shift the perspective of oppression being the problem of those who experience it. We need to acknowledge that privilege exists as a spectrum and is an indicator for where the work needs to take place. Expecting marginalized folk to be the ones to deconstruct their own oppression is as good as saying "not my problem" and letting it happen, as it doesn't acknowledge where the problem is coming from. The definition of privilege is thinking that something isn't a problem because it isn't YOUR problem. The best thing about being part of so many minority groups, is that I'm plugged into so many incredible communities to draw my strength, inspiration and perspective from. But we need allies doing the work also. White people, hold your own community accountable. Straight and cisgender people hold your own community accountable and bear in mind that you are also a community. Not the standard. Once we start to decolonise society's mindset and decentralise white, straight, cis and male as the standard. Then we can begin to work towards an equal world. But until then, assert your privilege. #whiteprivilege Image content @courtneyahndesign @wetheurban @emmadabiri @ll_mckinney
Documentaries, films, essays, books, research papers, podcasts; there are endless resources available to help you better understand current affairs as well as the history of racial issues around the world. Read, watch, and listen to these.
To educate yourself on the issues of marginalised communities may also mean asking questions and paying attention to the answers. Knowing when to simply listen and not offer up your opinions is key to forming a better understanding of a community’s collective pain. But please note there can be a right way to go about questions you may have for others.
In a 2017 article entitled ‘For our white friends desiring to be allies‘ for Sojourners, author Courtney Ariel explains the nuances in asking your marginalised or disenfranchised friends questions. She encourages curiosity around topics you’re unsure of, but to always put in the time to learn as much as you can about that topic before asking questions.
“Some marginalised/disenfranchised folks will tell you not to ask them anything; don’t be offended by that. Folks are tired, and that is understandable because it is exhausting to be a marginalised person in this world.
“In a nutshell, don’t expect for people to educate you. Do the work to educate yourself. Ask questions within relationships that feel safe, and do so respectfully,” she writes.
In addition, work to understand the similarities between the current situation in America, that despite feeling far away, hits close to home for indigenous Australians and reflects Australia’s Black history. “Our struggles are entwined and united. If you want to support ‘Black Lives Matter’, support it in this country too,” journalist Amy McGuire wrote in a profound piece on her blog recently, that you must read.
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(Edit: if you have the time to follow me and like and share what I post; please take the time to follow, and go through the content of Jusitce for Tanya Day’s Instagram page -> Instagram link is further down, thank u) Use this time of pain to acknowledge how you contribute to the ongoing genocide of blak people in this country. Ignorance to what’s happening right here enables the brutality against my mob. Not standing up for us in public enables the brutality against my mob. Wrongfully calling authorities because you’re uncomfortable or suspicious enables the brutality against my mob. Believing in stereotypes or discriminatory chatter about us enables the brutality against my mob. Not standing with us when we rally for basic human rights enables brutality against my mob. Don’t get so distracted by the devastation that’s happen abroad that you overlook the same corruption, racism, negligence, and abuse of power by our justice system here. Don’t let the media distance you from what’s happening right here, right now. Blak deaths at the hands of police is not an isolated act in America. Nor is the mistreatment of the black community. Stand for black peoples rights to be alive EVERYWHERE, including the place you call home. 〰️〰️〰️〰️〰️ Please click on @justicefortanyaday and follow; Aunty Tanya was a well respected elder of our community, an elder who was wrongfully arrested, neglected in her cell, and passed away from injuries incurred from her holding back in 2017. The inquest for her death is featured in the Instagram highlights. Please go and learn of her story – and how she was treated before her death. Her story is one of very many – keep in mind that deaths in custody is the only way we have any numbers of deaths resulting by police negligence and brutality. There are many more with stories and lost loved ones who aren’t included in this statistic. But most of all, remember that these numbers are people: Mother’s, fathers, cousins, siblings, grandparents and children. And they should have never been taken from us in the first place #justicefortanyaday #blacklivesmatter
Engage and use your platform
While social media is an effective tool for spreading a message and fast, it is worth noting that not all content is deemed helpful, even if the intent is there.
If you are looking to share content on social media, avoid re-distributing viral videos and images that can be triggering and traumatic, and instead, use your platform to share helpful resources that can help educate and inspire change. Scroll through the post below for a helpful guide to the questions you may wish to ask yourself before posting on social media about issues of racism.
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**Edit: In place of sharing/following my account, please amplify the work of Black anti-racist educators. The best people to share about anti-racism work will always be those who have been directly oppressed by racism. You can find a list of incredible folx on the last slide, on top of countless others you will encounter through engaging in this work. I am complicit. I made the choice to include a white author’s quote in this post rather than amplify the words of Black leaders speaking from lived experience. This is a prime example of centering whiteness. I will work harder to center Black voices moving forward.** . . . I’ve had a number of conversations with white friends recently about the role of social media and whether it is helpful or hurtful to post about racism right now. I fear my whiteness and privilege will cloud my judgment. I fear centering my own whiteness. I fear getting things wrong. But I also know that sitting in my own fear is doing nothing to confront systemic racism. It continues the cycle of prioritizing my own white comfort over the life-and-death realities facing Black Americans and communities of colors. Here is my current understanding of my role as a white woman when posting to social media: 1. My silence and the silence of other white Americans is deafening. It is more important to speak out than to say nothing at all 2. Only speaking out online while taking no other actions is core to the problem. It plays a role in why “progressive” white women are one of the largest barriers to real change 3. If my words cause pain to Black individuals and other people of color, I will work like hell to learn, repair the damage and do better next time 4. If my words hurt white feelings, I am okay with that I am including a list of questions I ask myself as a white person before posting to social media. What would you add? Where did I miss the mark? . . . . #blacklivesmatter #whiteness #whitefragility #antiracist #amlearning #kidlit
Beyond social media, engage in real-life conversations with your family, your friends. Do this now and long into the future.
Two peaceful protests are taking place in Sydney alone this week. The ‘Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody & George Floyd Peaceful Protest‘ on June 2 will be held in Hyde Park from 5pm, while the ‘Stop All Black Deaths in Custody: Vigil for George Floyd‘ on June 6 will commence at 3pm in Chippendale.
If you can make it, your attendance at these events symbolises your own intolerance for Black deaths and unjust racial discrimination in Australia within the indigenous and BIPOC communities. Wear a mask, and adhere to social distancing restrictions to ensure your own safety as well as others’. Rally your friends and be on the right side of history.
Another way you can show your support is by signing petitions. With 9.5 million signatures, the Justice for George Floyd petition on Change.org is currently the largest in the platform’s history, though it could do with your signature, too. The petition’s aim is to grab the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman, to “beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately”.
Black Lives Matter has collated a number of additional petitions to sign on the pursuit of change.
If you’re in a position to donate money, please consider doing so. The Minnesota Freedom Fund is helping to free incarcerated protesters by paying bail or legal fees, and there are a number of similar funds working to do the same, as outlined in this extensive and growing Google Doc.
If you wish to donate directly to the George Floyd Memorial Fund, you can do so via GoFundMe, while a donation to Black Lives Matter contributes to the ongoing “fight to end state-sanctioned violence, liberate Black people, and end white supremacy forever”.
If a monetary donation is unfeasible for you in this time, donate your time instead. Spend your time engaging in the above by reading up on the history of racial issues in both Australia and across the world. Donate your time to reading books about Black lives watching films that tell the past and present stories of the Black experience, like If Beale Street Could Talk, and When They See Us.
Continue to show your support in the long-term
Mirelle Harper, an editor and freelance writer in the UK, has shared the importance of supporting beyond this period of outrage and strategising change for the long term.
“How are you making a long-term impact or affecting change? Can you mentor a young person? Can you become a trustee for an organisation that supports a Black community? Could you offer your time to volunteer? Make the effort to do something valuable over a long-term period,” she penned in an Instagram post outlining 10 steps to non-optical allyship (below).
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Social media has been a bit overwhelming since I first put up this post so it has taken some time for me to post this. On Friday, I shared this content on Twitter after I felt the conversations online were like screaming into an echo chamber. I wanted to provide those who wanted to support and be an ally with practical tips to move forward and make a change in our society. I am still somewhat surprised and overwhelmed by the reception so please take patience with me at this time. — For a note on who I am to those who have followed me from Twitter, my name is Mireille. I'm an assistant editor and I do freelance writing, PR and sensitivity reading and other bits on the side. I am extremely passionate about diversity and inclusion, and everything I have shared is not new knowledge to me. From as far back as I can remember I've been campaigning, fighting for equality and supporting and working with black owned organisations. I have worked in the diversity and inclusion space for around four years and I have been equipped with knowledge, skills etc through that work as well as through wider, intensive reading and being raised by a Jamaican mother who has a degree in Women's Studies. I felt as a mixed race person who was emotionally capable despite the current situation that I could use my learned experience, skills and compassion to offer this advice to allies and anyone else who was seeking advice but didn't know where to turn. This is now on my stories as a highlight so please feel free to share from there or here. — A small reminder that this took emotional labour and POC, especially black people are not here to teach you everything. When I said ask how you can support, I meant on a personal level as a friend etc. I hope this toolkit provides you with the starter info you need but there are genuinely people more experienced than me who warrant your listening to – please go and follow @nowhitesaviors, @laylafsaad, @rachel.cargle, @ckyourprivilege, @iamrachelricketts, @thegreatunlearn, @renieddolodge, @ibramxk + a few more: @akalamusic, @katycatalyst + @roiannenedd who all have books or resources from many more years of experience. _
In addition, you must push forward and persevere in allyship long into the future. As Courtney Arial writes in her article for Sojourners, “Above all, I urge you keep trying. You’re going to make mistakes; expect this. But keep showing up. Be compassionate. Lead with empathy, always. Keep learning and growing. If you do this, I truly believe you’ll be doing the work of an ally.”
We’ll continue adding to this list of additional resources below:
For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies, by Courtney Ariel
Racial Equity Tools
Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, article from Mamamia
List of Petitions to Sign on Black Lives Matter
Anti-Racism Resources for White People