An Open Letter (kinda) to all White folks who’ve been Invited to the “Cookout,” and/or Consider themselves a Supporter of Racial Equity & Social Justice
Dear White allies,
You realize that racism still exists in the world. Great!
That being said, there’s still many of you out there who…how shall I say…need some guidance in the realm of effectively using your white privilege for good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure your hearts are in the right place. However, even the best intentions can sometimes go awry.
I believe that all of us should aspire to lifelong learning. So, please read carefully. Take notes.
– DON’T be like Joe Biden by getting cocky & presuming that you can authoritatively judge someone’s Blackness.
– DON’T be like Michael Rapaport and disregard the inherent value of Black artists and dismiss the continued marginalization of Black people (esp. Black women) in the music industry.
– DON’T pull an Amy Cooper and pretend to be a liberal while simultaneously weaponizing your whiteness to unjustly call the police on a Black person. (FYI: Yes, white women can still be racist.)
– For God’s sake, DON’T be like Bill Maher and say the n-word; not even if it’s in a rap song; not even if you’re saying it as part of a “joke” because…well…duh.
– DON’T be like Madonna and post a video of your child dancing to a “Black song” to “honor” victims of unjust police shootings thinking it’ll help anything. Trust me, just don’t do it. It wouldn’t be a good look.
REMEMBER THAT YOUR ALLYSHIP…
– does not absolve your white privilege
– does not negate the fact that you will forever benefit from white supremacy
– does not render impossible the fact that you can still inflict harm, oppression, subjugation and suppression on Black people
– does not mean that you’re incapable of being racist
REMEMBER THAT YOUR ALLYSHIP…
– demands that you engage in anti-racism as a DAILY practice.
– demands that you LISTEN to Black people as we bear witness to our pain & oppression. Our grievances are not up for debate.
– demands that you engage in daily self-reflection to ensure that you’re not reifying white supremacy and other structures of dominance
– demands that you actively participate in eradicating white supremacy in your spheres of influence, i.e. by defending your black co-workers when you see them experiencing micro-aggressions, or calling out other white people when you witness them spewing ignorant, racist sentiments.
We as Black people are human. As George Floyd’s death illuminates, we feel deeply, intimately the trauma of racism on a daily basis. We feel the weight of white supremacy in our lives constantly.
So, dear White allies, if you truly consider yourself an “ally” in the cause for racial justice, then please do the necessary spiritual and activist work so that you do not contribute to the trauma of Black people who are forced to contend with an anti-Black world.
An annoyed, tired, exhausted, Black woman