This article was published on July 1st, 2020
The Black Lives Matter movement needs all the help it can get. Here are the key essentials to help you get started in the fight.
The conversation that has been put off for far too long has now come to the forefront in 2020, and the Black Lives Matter movement shows no sign of dying down as protests continue to resonate around the world. For those that are committed to spearheading change, there are some phrases and terms that should be a part of their vocabulary. HomoCulture takes a deep dive into allying not just with words, but with actions.
There are many white people that are not sure what they can do about the current status quo and are looking for ways in which they can be impactful but in a respectful manner. There are white men and women that have made and are making personal pledges to be a part of the solution instead of the problem – this is where the concept of allyship truly begins to come into play. The social allies of today are using their status and privilege to bring attention to the causes and urgent needs of black people. When these actions are done effectively, they send a powerful message without being condescending and pandering.
What does it mean to be an ally?
In its simplest forms, being an ally consists of standing by a marginalized person or oppressed group and standing behind their cause through words and action. By making your position known as a person of privilege, you are acknowledging that the world we live in is not fair and have dedicated yourself to mindfulness under a broken system. Once these key components are acknowledged, it is easier to be effective in this demanding role. The following are some of the things that allies can implement to optimize their words and actions.
1. Listen, Listen, Listen
The first rule that an ally needs to remember is that this is not the time to center yourself into the equation. Allies should not expect to receive accolades for taking a stand for humanity or a light bringing attention to good deeds. As an ally, this is the perfect opportunity to have an open mind, and try to understand that the people you want to support need you to actively listen and be open to the idea that your perception is but one of many.
2. Be Ready to Lift Them UP
Once you have listened and gathered more insight and information, the next phase is to do some thorough research. There are literally thousands of articles, books, and video out there that contain an expansive range of perspectives and issues affecting the black community. Put in the work, continue to stay open to the latest information, and remember that a Google search can provide a wealth of insight.
3. The Ask
Once you have gotten more knowledge about issues under your belt, the next step is to ask those tough questions that you may need feedback on. The Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum because there are more allies willing to ask the difficult questions and not be afraid of the answer. For those that want their support to truly be impactful, going directly to the source for input will be welcomed.
4. Don’t DON’T Speak
Allies have more power than they realize and it is important to speak up and out when you see something that doesn’t look or feel right as it could be the difference between life and death for a black person. Knowing what you stand for and being clear on your values ensures that those around you know exactly what you believe in and exactly how and who you are aligned in solidarity with.
5. It’s What You DO
A lot of people talk the talk, but too few actually walk the walk when it comes to bringing about change. As an ally, you need to realize that allyship is a continuous, ongoing process and is a choice that you must consciously make again and again, in both small and big ways. These incremental steps in the right direction will ultimately pay off for black people over time and you can take pride in knowing you have done your part to effect change.
6. Crediting the Source
On your crusade towards equality, you will undoubtedly come across a wealth of information that will inspire you to upend the current system. The ideas that you come across should be given the credit they deserve as true allyship necessitates noting the ideas of those that have given their all to the movement.
Many people that are aiming to be allies erroneously assume that you need hundreds of thousands of followers on social media to make an impact, but nothing could be further from the truth. The most important thing you need to remember is that concerted actions can make a great difference, so speak up when you can as little feats can move big mountains.