Black Lives Matter is a mass movement that has taken centre stage for the past few weeks. BLM is a global movement and its mission is to “eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”
If you are white, there’s a lot you can do as a Black Lives Matter ally.
Ways You Can Be A Black Lives Matter Ally
Check Your Privilege
White privilege is probably a term you’ve probably heard a lot recently, but what does it mean? “White privilege refers to societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.”
Basically, our society is built in a way that benefits white people, leaving black people and people of colour at a disadvantage based purely on their skin colour.
If you’re white, you’re used to seeing yourself represented in a lot of areas of life. Take Ireland for example, a majority of our politicians are white, the majority of our society is white and we see white people in positions of power and status. This is a privilege we often take for granted. That’s why it’s important to check our privilege and realise that a lot of our opportunities in life stem from this privilege.
Acknowledge Your Ignorance
No white person is all knowing when it comes to BLM. It’s important to acknowledge your lack of knowledge in regards to this. It’s ok to not have known certain things. Accept that you hadn’t made the effort to learn more, and then get educating yourself.
The same can be said for the use of casual racism or racial slurs. If you’re guilty of ever using racist terms or phrases, admit it, acknowledge your ignorance, apologise, and make a bigger effort to be actively anti-racist.
This is a big one when it comes to being a Black Lives Matter ally; educating ourselves is the only way we can learn about the racism that is embedded in our society. If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that there is definitely not a lack of resources out there.
Read, listen, watch, follow Instagram accounts that are educating white people on issues of race, racism and white privilege.
As white people, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves, it is not up to black people or PoC to educate us.
Understand That You’ll Never Understand
An extremely important part of being a Black Lives Matter ally is to understand that you’ll never understand. If you’re white, you can’t relate to the racism experienced by black people and PoC, you just can’t. And that’s ok. White people can have prejudice for other white people who come from a different social background, but it’s not the same as the systemic racism that black people and PoC face. So long as you understand that you can stand with black people and PoC in fighting the injustice they face in our society.
Amplify Black Voices
As white people, we are in a position of privilege. We can use this privilege to amplify black voices. Whilst you might want to share your opinions on racism and chat about how you’re being actively anti-racist, it’s a better idea to amplify the melanated voices in our society. If you find a book by a black author particularly good, share it with your friends and family. If you listened to a podcast with a black host, encourage others to listen. The more we use our white privilege to boost the voices that often aren’t as heard, the more of a difference we can help make.