How to be an effective ally to the Black Lives Matter movement
If you're a non-black ally to the Black Lives Matter movement, there's a lot you can do to fight against institutional racism—especially in light of the countless murders of unarmed black men and women, such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, by police. The movement for equality, justice, and anti-racism has now gone global with thousands of people in cities across the world protesting peacefully. Here are five ways to be a better ally to the Black Lives Matter movement:
1. Acknowledge your own implicit biases
Everyone has implicit biases — it comes naturally with socialization. But, it's important to be aware of your own and how they affect your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Start with Harvard's Project Implicit that allows you to take a series of tests to see where your unconscious biases lie, examining weight, race, gender, age, disability, and sexuality.
2. Donate money to causes that further BLM
Most organizations and funds are accepting donations. If you have the financial resources, you can donate money to memorial funds for victims, bail funds for protesters unjustly arrested, black-owned businesses, and organizations supporting the movement. You can find a comprehensive list here.
3. Educate yourself on institutional racism
There are a ton of documentaries on Netflix and YouTube that discuss the history of institutional racism in the United States. One documentary in particular, 13th, discusses the industrial prison complex, slavery, and unfair treatment of blacks in the U.S. Comedian Hasan Minhaj also released a video called "We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd" that addresses anti-black racism in Asian American families and culture. The book, "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor" by Layla F. Saad helps those seeking to understand white privilege. For more resources, check out the NY Times' Anti-racist Reading List and The Guardian's as well.
4. Help spread awareness about racism
The best thing you can do to be an ally to the black community and BLM is to help spread awareness of racial issues and how to fight against them. Start with Letters for Black Lives, which is a project that focuses on why individuals from all walks of life should care about fighting for racial justice.
5. Become more politically involved
The work of overcoming systemic racism requires that you channel several avenues, one of which is exercising your right to vote. Raise awareness of, and vote for, local, state, and national representatives who support the Black Lives Matter movement.
What is allyship?
In a nutshell, allyship is the lifelong process in which those with privilege and power work to understand another marginalized group's challenges or issues, creating a culture where members of marginalized groups feel valued, supported, and heard. Being an ally involves longterm dedication to dismantling systems of oppression by raising awareness and using your privilege to amplify causes.
- "Black Lives Matter: Here's How Anyone Can Be an Ally in This Global Movement," Timeout, June 4, 2020.
- "How to Be a Good White Ally, According to Activists," Vox, June 2, 2020.