SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN HELP STOP SYSTEMATIC RACISM
So you wanna be an ally, huh?
- •If you're occupying an elite space and don't see any people of color, be willing to ask some questionsYou are at a board of directors meeting or are an executive with hiring/admission powers and there are no people of color as far as the eye can see. Congrats, you've got a problem. Consider pulling the leader aside and bringing up some ideas to reach out to more minorities. He will look at you funny. Remind him that it may be a good look down the line HR-wise. Also, diversity of opinion is a very crucial thing. Smile and nod. You are charming and white. You WILL get your way.
- •When your racist aunt says "nigger" at Thanksgiving, call her ass out!I don't give a shit if she's "old" and "from another time", THIS IS NEVER okay. If you are really serious about ending this once and for all, you will be brave and say something EVERY TIME you hear a nonblack person say this word. If you can't this year, vow to do it next year. The problem with racism is it often occurs behind closed doors, with only white people in sight. You've GOT TO say something in all-white spaces, otherwise racists will keep thinking their way is okay.
- •Be willing to lose out on a few opportunities in order to help out a person of colorThis may mean recommending your friend for a job that you could have theoretically gone out for. I'm not saying you need to become a martyr by any stretch of the imagination. But lets say you heard of a job through your fellow white person, and you have other opportunities available to you because of your connections. Your friend of color does not have that luxury. Consider doing them a solid. Their voices are important. Make it easier for them to be heard.
- •If you work on a tv show, try to influence the showrunner to hire MORE THAN ONE writer of color (and lots of WOMEN) on your staffWhen television shows don't have any writers of color on staff, believe me, we can tell. You should be using your awesome job to lift up writers with less access to connections that landed you said cool job. I cannot stress this one enough. Not making an effort in this arena can be infinitely damaging. Writers of color with talent exist! (🖐🏾) More on this: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2015/10/diversity_in_the_tv_writers_room_writers_and_showrunners_of_color_lag_far.single.html
- •ListenSeems like a no brainer but many struggle with this. Listen to the stories of people of color. Close your eyes and really meditate on putting yourself in their shoes. What if your twelve year old got shot in a grocery store? What if every aspect of your appearance was written as a punchline by subpar white television writers? What if people treated the act of recognizing your humanity as a chore? Really try. This will grant you understanding. You need that to truly empathize.
- •Okay so turns out, being an ally is hard work. But the payoff will be so sweet. At some point in the future if enough of you keep it up, we may all actually be treated as equals one day!