Dear White Allies, Where the F*ck Are You?

From Trayvon to Mike Brown, to Ferguson, to Charlottesville, we have been in a constant state of war against white supremacy for the past few years now. Organizations like Black Lives Matter have been created and public leaders have step forward. Black people are rising to fight for our lives and rights like we have had to do many times before, and will no doubt, do many times again. But where are the white people?

Where are the white allies? Where are the white allies who type all fast on Facebook and Twitter? Where are the white allies who write think pieces about how racism and oppression are terrible? The white folks who call out other white folks? Where are the all white people while we are at war?

I ask this because it seems to be the case that white allies are only looking to be allies when it’s safe and convenient for them. Not because it’s the right and humane thing to do. Following the Neo-Nazi terrorist attack in Charlottesville, white people have seem to have disappeared. The ones that do come out, come out to preach love and peace or to try and other themselves from "those" white people. I've seen at least 5 white people who went out the protests to take picture and then leave. Whtie people started the #ThisIsNotUs hashtag in response to white supremacists beating and murdering people. Ya know, just in case you needed a reminder that "not all white people are racist".

As white people, the people who have all of the power, yes that includes you too white women—you should be doing the most work. This is a system that you all built. A system that you benefit from, yet you seem to be the ones putting out the least effort to fix the problem. Coincidence? I think not. Are you dragging your feet, because deep down you don’t really want to be equal to us pesky brown folks? What is the problem? Why do you spend so much time and energy othering yourselves from “those” white people rather fixing the problem?

Furthermore, how come you can talk your talk online, but not show up physically? Is it because calling yourself an ally and posting vague tweets about equality will get you speaking gigs, books, and cute glamour shot? I have yet to see white people actually out on the front lines of a protest, willing to put their bodies and lives on the line for the black people they claim to want to protect.  Where are you? Is your activism only limited to online? Your allyship isn't valid if you're not actually showing up where you're needed. Allyship also isn't a title you get to give yourself. 

Don't stand around whining about “Well what do I do? EDUCATE MEEEEE” and making hashtags like #ThisIsNotUs when you literally just need to walk outside or pick up the phone. I personally, have written on ways you can help. I know hundreds of other black and non black folks have as well. I see articles daily on my feed showing white people how they can help, yet you continue to turn a blind eye and pretend like you can’t do anything. While online activism is cute and helpful to some degree, you—the ones with the platforms and power, do not get a pass to just be online. Show up for real. Get outside and into the community and help. Start showing up with your bodies and minds, not just your thumbs.  

Since you’re here…

Consider making a contribution. I work very hard to deliver free content for everyone. I don’t like to create paywalls or subscriptions as I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. Obviously, you are under no obligation to give, I know many are out here struggling just like me, but if you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated.

*Love, peace, & chicken grease*

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5 Easy Ways You Can Be An Active White Ally

As we continue the fight for equality and justice, it is imperative that every group pull their weight in this movement. Each person’s contribution will look different. For some it may be organizing marches, others may be teaching in schools, or creating content. Some are in government and politics, and some may be working solely on a community level. Each role is different and important. However, when it comes to white allies I find that there seems to be a lack of effort. For some reason, the group with all the power seems to be doing the least work in helping to fix the system that they created to be discriminatory. While many white people have good intentions, most tend to be bystanders who do nothing but root for the sidelines or go to the other extreme and take over the movement, silencing POCs. I believe a lot of the issues come from not knowing how to help and use privilege for good. So, I want to give 5 very simple, yet powerful ways white allies can help in the movement for social equality.

Get involved locally

I am a firm believer that change starts on the local, community level first. Before we can tackle the nation, we should start in our own communities. Find a local chapter and get involved. Even if you live in the whitest of white cities, I can guarantee you there is something in your city. For me, it was right in front of me, at my college. I join the Diversity Center on campus and through there was connected to many community organizations throughout the state and even the country. If you’re not sure where to start, look for the following in your community.
+Local colleges, many offers or host community events.

+Any local chapters of a National organization such as NAACP or YWCA.

+Local non-profits

+Meetup.com – this website lets you join various like-minded people. I run one for black young adults, there are often many that run social justice groups. It’s great to either find a group or start one.  

Boost POC voices

Each and every one of you has a platform of some kind. Even if you’re the receptionist at some shitty company in the woods, that is a platform. Use your platform and privilege to boost our voices. The biggest problem we have is that POCs are not being heard. We try to speak and we are ignored or shut out. You, as a white person, have an immense privilege in that people listen to you. You can use that privilege to make sure that our voices are being heard too. Again, this will look different for each person, depending on what your platform is. Maybe you have a podcast or radio show—bring on POCs to talk about different issues. Maybe you work in a corporate office—suggest you bring someone in to do a keynote or diversity training. Or maybe it’s something as simple as a share or retweet of POC content. It all makes a difference. The point is that you’re using your platform to boost the voices of those who are silenced.  

Download “Countable”

Countable is an app/website that was created to help make politics easier to understand. It became known to me during the election of the Circus Peanut. Everything is happening so quickly and is out of control it’s hard to keep up or even know what these random bills and complicated words mean. So instead, many people just don’t do anything. Countable fixes that issue. It starts with getting you familiar with who your state representatives, then streamlines the processing of contacting your local lawmakers so you can easily call or email them your opinions on upcoming bills. Like the first point, you need to get involved locally. This is a very easy and great way to start doing so.

Call out your friends

One of the most exhausting things we POCs have to do is call out and explain EVERYTHING to white people. What makes it even more frustrating, is half the time it falls on deaf ears or they pretend they don’t get it.

One very easy and helpful thing you can do is to call out your fellow white people. Take the burden of having to do all the work, off POCs. Additionally, white people tend to receive criticism in regards to racism from white people, far better than they do when it comes from us. It’s annoying, but to me, it’s a win-win because I have no desire or patience to explain racism 101 to white people in 2017.

Ask what you can do

My final tip is, just ask. If you’re not sure what you should be doing in a situation, ask. If you read an article that informed you about something, ask the author what you can do to help. All of us can do this. You hear about things like Flint having no water, or DAPL. Ask the people who are there. What do they need and what you can do to help. It could be just donating money, or maybe they need care packages. Who knows, but asking will answer that question. It also helps with not overstepping your ally boundaries. Rather than taking over a movement or cause, ask the leaders how you can help support them.  

In no way is this list exhaustive. It is meant to be a starter kit. These are steps that are very simple and require minimal effort on your part. Use them and build from them. Are you already practicing some of these steps? Have you found another way to contribute? Let me and others know in the comments!


Since you’re here…

Consider making a contribution. I work very hard to deliver free content for everyone. I don’t like to create paywalls or subscriptions as I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. Obviously, you are under no obligation to give, I know many are out here struggling just like me, but if you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated.

Make a contribution

-Love, peace, & chicken grease

Breakin’ Down Privilege: What It Is and What It Ain’t

Everyone seems to have different ideas of what exactly privilege in the context of social groups, is. The privilege we are talking about here is that of the privileges of those in dominant groups. Well, today we are going to break it down and get everyone on the same page. Privilege is important to understand and recognize if we want any hope of moving forward and fixing our flaws, but if everyone isn’t on the same page, that will never happen.

So step one…What exactly is privilege?
It’s pretty simple, privilege in the context that we are using it, is exactly the same as what the definition of privilege actually is,“a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people”. That is it. It’s that easy. It simply means in some way or another, some people have an advantage or special right over others.
So what exactly does this mean in terms of social groups?
This is where, I think people get confused and upset and as a result refuse to recognize that they have it.

Let’s talk first about what privilege is NOT.
Privilege does NOT mean:

That you have lived a, carefree ,struggle free, perfect life.

That even though you may be in a dominant social group, that you will NEVER face an injustice in that area.

A bad thing.(I will discuss these a little more in depth in a minute)

This comic written by white blogger, Jamie Kapp explain white privilege quite well what privilege DOES mean, is that generally, on a day to day basis those in dominant social groups, have those advantages and special treatments over those who are in the non dominant groups.
EVERYONE has privilege is some way shape or form, and we all fall into a non dominant group as well. We all fall into many social categories and you would be hard pressed to find someone who is not in some way part of the dominate group. When we look at the social groups, we can easily pick out who are the dominant ones. To make this a little more visual, let’s look at a diversity wheel:

All of these are social classes, correct? Every single one of us can sit here and fill this out uniquely to ourselves. For example, I am a black, african-american, 23 year old (young adult), able bodied, cisgender female, whose first language is English, transracially adopted, raised in a two parent home, christian, U.S. Citizen…so on and so forth. This is what we talk about when we are talking about social classes/groups. We can also go around this wheel and fairly easily name the groups that GENERALLY in America, are the dominant group. And when we say dominate, we simply mean that they are considered the “norm”, that our system is set up to cater to them.

So, for example, heterosexuals are very obviously the dominant group in america. Any other sexual orientation is faced with limitations and injustices (i.e. banning gay marriage, banning non hetereotsexual couples from adopting, being able to fire queer people etc). Able-bodied people are the dominant group, they don’t face nearly as many limitation compared to those with physical or mental disabilities. White people are the dominate group, native english speakers are dominate, christians are dominate, people with college degrees are dominate, cisgender people are dominate, and you get the point.

Now let’s put privilege into real life perspective, I will use myself as an example. As I listed, I fall into several dominant groups as well as several non dominant ones. What privilege means, is that in those groups that I am part of the dominant group, I have an advantage. People who have privilege, usually never even know because we don’t ever, have to think about the hardships or injustices of those because it simply isn’t a part of our lives.

Well what on earth do you mean by all that Rebekah? Well as an abled bodied person, how often do you physically stop and think about how you are going to make it up those 5 flights of stairs to your apartment? And i’m not talking about “damn, im going to be tired how am i going to make it”. No I mean physically you never have to stop and think about being able to WALK up those stairs, because you have two function legs and feet. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE FUNCTIONING LEGS AND/OR FEET. Are you honestly going to try and argue that you don’t have an advantage over people with no legs? That you don’t have it easier than someone in a wheelchair? The thought never crosses your mind. Now that is a very obvious example because that was something we can physically see.

Where people start to flip shit, is over things that cannot necessarily be seen, like race, gender or sexial orientation. Let’s talk about race. As white people, when was the last time you walked into the store and had to consciously worry about whether you were being racially profiled, followed and watched like a criminal? Not very often and probably never. THAT is white privilege. White people when was the last time you even had to think about the color of your skin and how it will affect every single life decision you make? Pretty much never. In fact, chances are you never even thought about your whiteness until someone mentioned it to you. For the rest of non white people, we are well aware of the color of our skin as children. There are BABIES consciously trying to figure out how to deal with racism. You have privilege.

Straight people, when was the last time you actually had to think about how marriage would never be an option because it’s illegal and in some places, punishable by death? Literally never, you NEVER have to think about that, because everything is catered to you. THAT is straight privilege. This same process can be used for every group.

Age groups? Youth are hated because they’re young and everyone else think they are stupid, the old get tossed aside because they can’t help as much physically. Everyone in between is in a privileged position.

Christians, well this country was founded on christianity. When was the last time christians got labeled as a terrorist group because of a few bad apples? And even though there have actually been more harm done in the name of christianity than just about any other religion, it’ s still considered the “purest” and the only acceptable way. That’s a privilege.

Men, how often to you have to worry about being sexually harassed every time you walk out the door? Men get praised for sleeping with multiple women, but a women becomes a slut if she sleep with more than one man in her life. The workforce is catered to you, there is no glass ceiling for you. No one accuses you of sleeping with someone to get into your position of power. That is male privilege.

I’m going to jump back to what privilege is not, for a second.
I talked about how while, you are in the dominant group, that doesn’t mean you have lived a perfect life. No, not at all. Yeah, as a white person, you have probably dealt with some shit in one way or another, but difference is there is a system set up to HELP you get past and overcome those challenges. Those options are not available for all of us. As a straight person, maybe you’ve faced some shit, but at the end of the day, you can still walk into work and not worry about getting fired for who you love, you can still get on a plane and get married anywhere you want and not only not be slaughtered on site, but have it be legal.

Another part to add, is that sometimes you may move in and out of a dominant group. For example, when you move from a youth to a young adult your privilege shifts with it. If you move up or down the economic class, you may lose or gain your privilege status. In other words, privilege is not always constant.

So what the hell does all this mean and what do you want us to do with it?
As I said before, having privilege is NOT at all a bad thing. It is actually good, it means that you in a position of power to help people who don’t have that power and privilege. Where it becomes a problem is if you use that position of power to be an asshole rather than a decent human being and helping to make equality and equity happen so we don’t even have a privilege structure to begin with. Having privilege means that you are in a position of power and you may not be as aware of the actual state of things as much as you think. Privilege is the reason there are white people who still think that racism doesn’t exist today. I got a murdered black person by police every 28 hours, racial profiling, wage gaps, misrepresentation and more that says otherwise. What it means is that you, while being a position of power, might have to shut up and listen to those who are actually suffering and use your power to help project THEIR message, not project the message you think needs to be heard on their behalf. You have your time to talk, let those who don’t get the platform, have the platform and you can help get them to that platform by using your privilege. That can be as simple as sharing a post on facebook that was written by someone in a non dominant group, talking about the issues their people are facing. And lastly, it means that you might, and probably will mess up. You have been able to glide through life not thinking about these issues and now that you are aware you might say or do something that is out of line and you might get called out. So check your privilege first, are you really in a position to be inserting your opinion here? Are you really qualified to speak for people who are not in the dominant group? Then fall back, and be respectful.
Well that was a lot to get through, the important thing to remember is that everyone has privilege in some way or another and as people, we need to take the responsibility in recognizing where we have those privileges so that we know when to step forward and when to take a step back.

You Can Say/Do Something Racist Without Being Racist

 

I always see this trend of people (mainly white people), jumping to the defensive when they are called out on their racist actions or words. This always seems to be triggered by people in these dominate being so appalled at the possibility of being labeled as a racist, homophobic ,transphobic or anything else. That’s cute and all, but your fear of being labeled something negative or shameful does not excuse your words and actions. You do not have to BE a racist to say or do something racist.

I saw this a lot with Justin Bieber shit, when all them videos of him came out saying nigga and singing about niggas getting hung and all that bullshit. White people FLOCKED to defend his ass, making alllllll kinds of excuses for him rather than making him own up to his words. I don’t care what his intent was, i don’t care if he was young or any other excuses y’all pulled out your ass. He said what he said, words mean things, he gotta own up to it. Do I think that Juicebox Flieber is inherently racist and hates black people? No, but I do know that he said racist shit and he needs to own up to the words he let out of his mouth.

Still see this with people like Azalea Banks, The Kardashians, J.Cole, Nicki Minaj, Childish Gamino and others. They will do or say something offensive and people with make endless excuses for it. You can still like someone and/or their craft and still hold them accountable for their actions.Azalea been homophobic, transphobic, fat shamed and everything in between yet people still defend her actions. Kardashians been doing racist shit since the beginning of time, still get defended. J. Cole still aint apologized for sayin faggot about 1200 times on “Villuminati”, and y’all stans refuse to hold him accountable. Gambino has done so much fucked up shit I can’t even keep track. Nicki fucked up with that appropriation a while back and her Only video but at least she apologized and owned up to it. The list of celebrities can go on all day.
Who is paying y’all to defend these celebrities so hard? If it was any regular person y’all would let that shit slide. Why is it so hard for y’all to hold your fav accountable for their actions? Stop making excuses.

If you need a good example of how to own up to your shit as someone in a dominate group, see Jonah Hill. For those of you not aware of this story. Jonah Hill was being harassed by paparazzi and at some point, while being followed and paparazzi verbally attacking him and his family personally, he yelled “Suck my dick, faggot” to the paparazzi. Obviously he was dragged all over the media, especially since in the past has been outspoken about supposedly being supportive of the LGBTQ community. But instead of trying to back pedal and make excuses he fully owned up and took responsibly for his actions.

While i’m not going to give him cookies for being a decent person, it is a good example of how to own up to your mistakes. He acknowledges that no matter what his personal intent was in saying the word, it doesn’t matter because that word has a history and it hurts people regardless of intent. He didn’t beg for forgiveness, in fact he said quite clearly that he deserves any bashing that comes to him as a result because HE fucked up and he understand how he let the gay community down and they have every right to shun him.

If you are still unsure on how to deal with being called out on your shit, also see this video by chescaleigh

So suck it up and own up to your mistakes. We all fuck up, we all say something out of line whether on purpose or unintentionally. Your fear of being labelled something shameful should stop you from letting shit slip out your mouth and if it doesn’t then, well, guess what, you might get labelled something you don’t want to be, based on what you show people of yourself.

If you show me that you say or do racist shit, i’m going to assume you are racist and not fuck with you. You could very well not be, but you haven’t shown me otherwise and sure haven’t shown that you are willing to change or own up to your mistakes. That doesn’t mean you are inherently racist, homophobic or whatever else, but it does mean that you are responsible for the things that YOU do, and the things that come out of YOUR mouth. And until you do own up to your actions, you are just going to have to deal with being “labelled”