As I noted in the piece, I don’t feel it’s my place to tell advise White people on what to do about racism. You all can read. You can see. You know how to problem-solve when it’s for your personal and collective benefit. Well, you all will have to develop a new set of skills to address the problems Whites create and enable.
I’ve found that no matter who the messenger is, there is a problem with taking advice and direction from Black people, and there is always a concerted effort to use your biased brains to tell us how our thinking is flawed instead of realizing how the actions/thinking of White people are wrong. So, we just tell you our problems and allow you all to do what you wish to solve them, if anything at all.
I have written extensively on some of the practical things White people could do to decrease their biases while learning about different cultures. I get trolls and lots of White men telling me I’m race-baiting or calling me a racist. This creates anxiety very similar to the feelings victims in domestic violence relationships experience. It’s like David battling Goliath. I have also share there is enough information available publicly for anyone interested in learning (i.e. history, national and state museums) which tells the true story of how the institution of White Supremacy works.
Like you, I’m tired of racist videos. I rarely write about them because they disturb my spirit and I find they don’t motivate White people to change. They just keep hoping to themselves things will magically get better, while semi-validating our experiences apathetically.
I’m a policy and system wonk, and I’ve found my thoughts are too futuristic, most people feel as though they aren’t doable. The things I see are doable, but they are huge task requiring White folks to rage against the very machine they benefit from. So, there’s that. White people coming to grips with losing something in order for others to gain is a hard pill to swallow. Most bow out gracefully. It’s easy to walk away when you’re in the majority and the trouble isn’t dotting your door.
If you’d like some quick, tangible things White folks can do, I’ll share a few, but I promise if you tell me you can’t do anything I’m going to scream (lol). Just kidding. In any event:
- Vote for reparations, financial reparations. No matter how many equality policies White politicians create, White Supremacists find a way to maintain and increase inequality. You must pay for the sins of your forefathers in a manner that’s tangible and that levels the playing field. No policies, free education, Acts, or Actions (i.e. Affirmative Action) will ever level the playing field because the gatekeepers are White and they will continue to ensure minority “quotas” are filled while the majority of opportunities go towards White people. It’s in White folks’ nature I’d say, they just can help it — even when they try to help their default is to help/think Whites first while helping minorities is seen as charity of a different type of help. Acknowledge the fault, do the right things and move on.
- Vote differently. Most times White people trust White people. They don’t even give it a second thought. When candidates of color are running for public office, instead of asking what they will do for you or not trusting them, go directly to them and ask how what they propose will help communities of color specifically. Try voting with your personal interests on the back burner. We do it all the time. As for White candidates, if they don’t have a remedy or proposal to support Black folks and communities differently from other communities, they aren’t a good candidate. In fact, they are likely racist. Everyone with any common sense knows marginalized communities need more of everything, and if you just have a one-size fits all solution or ignore historically underserved and underrepresented communities, then you are just continuing the trend of inequality. Any candidate that doesn’t offer a plan to address just marginalized communities, in particular Blacks, then they are either racist or afraid of the racists not voting for them. Instead of that being a deal maker, it should be a deal breaker. Think beyond what you believe is right.
- Teach your children and grandchildren the real America history, about the unfairness and injustices Blacks endure, then live a lifestyle that doesn’t continue those racist traditions. Change starts one household at a time. By them books, watch movies and films, visit museums, and make it a hobby.
- Start analyzing any and every system or institution in America overly represented by White people and non-Black POC (unless of course it’s an ethnic minority group org), then ask why is that so? There is a reason we are so underrepresented in so many segments and sectors of society. It not always because we just don’t aspire to go there. It’s because Human Resources is predominatly White. Also, question why we Blacks and Hispanics are overly represented in other sectors (i.e. entertainment and sports). Study the history, do something with what you learn. You can’t just do something without understanding why you’re doing it and why it’s so important.
- Read the Mothers of Massive Resistance: White Women and the Politics of White Supremacy by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae. Learn how White Women work in public education and politics to destroy Black upward mobility. The figure out what you can do about White women and their oppressive behavior. Again, once you see, you can’t unsee it. Study your local segregated education history. Find the deficiencies and fight to make things right.
- Study criminal justice and the origins of policing Blacks/Black communities so you can understand why statistics presented overrepresent Blacks/African Americans and Hispanics. Then support criminal justice reforms, reentry, and other initiatives which work to equal the playing field. Also look at how differently Black schools and White schools are educated and policed. Advocate for policing reform at a local and nationa level. Force the school district to treat all children equally. If you don’t stand up for them, no one else will.
- Study the time following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and forward. It shows you how long laws have been on the books to oppress Blacks. Look at how the laws have changed over time and then figure out how you can use your natural skills and gifting to make a difference.
- Join organizations like the NAACP, the Urban League, and other minority social groups or other social justice organizations working to bring about social and economic justice. You’ll need to find the right chapters because some are more active/relevant than others, but they need White faces and White connections to enhance their socal social justice efforts. It sadly validates these organizations in the eyes of Whites, making them more credible.
- Instead of wasting your money on something that benefits primarily White folks (i.e. arts and theatre programs overrepresented by White people) try investing in programs to help minority youth where there is no social or financial return for White people. Donate to foster youth programs (they are over represented by minorities in most places) or little league programs which keep poor minority kids off the streets. Maybe even volunteer to coach or mentor them. Don’t judge. You’re there to learn. See what life is like and work to make things better. Some kids just need that hope you guys hold onto and do nothing with. Be the better angel some Black folks need in their lives.
- When there is an issue in your local community regarding race relations (i.e. police brutality), don’t run from it, run to it. Try to understand the dynamics then work with groups to get change.
- Join community development corporations to ensure they redirect some of their resources and energy to Black communties. People feel good when they have what they need in their communties. It’s even nicer when we know White people helped you to get in there.
- Write about your experiences with White people when challenging White Supremacy and their hope. Just like you’re tired of reading all the bad-bad linked to race relations, I’m tired of seeing videos of White people talking about things that don’t add value to our humanity (i.e. health and fitness, sex talk, makeup/hair discussions, White feminism, etc.). Write about how White America really is once you start to take a look around. White views are rare and often tidy, missing the gritty descriptions of what racism is and what it looks like, causing some White folks to misinterpret how bad things really are. They also don’t hear enough how good they are not.
- Ask Black people in your community what they need, what’s wrong, and what’s different between Whites and Blacks. Then help them fix it.
- Continue your learning. No matter how much you think you know and no matter how much you have learned, it’s never going to be enough. Just continue learning and don’t seek rewards or adulation.
Once you’ve studied some things, you should feel a sense of direction based upon your giftings and abilities. If you’re doing anything to pad your resume, brag about to your friends, or out of guilt (which is okay but shouldn’t be the driving factor), you’re doing it with a motive other than helping. You should also be careful about doing anything before you work through your emotions and fear.
Most Black people and people of color aren’t accustomed to White folks coming to do anything but harrass them, so you need to understand your motives are always going to be suspected, and until you get some street credibility with the communities/persons/groups you plan on working with, then you’ll likely get strange looks. You’ll have to probably have thick skin too.
Hope these helped. There are plenty of things you can do. Use your gifts, roll up your sleeves and get to work. There is plenty to do. My apologies for the typos.