It’s time to be annoying. Don’t shut up, make your white friends and family say, “here we go again.” (Insert eye roll). Too many times, socially aware people bite the bullet and stay silent because we don’t want to annoy people with our “social justice crap” once again. Well, staying silent isn’t an option at this point, especially if you’re white. With the Black Lives Matter Movement, the Muslim Ban, and the Women’s March, the U.S. hasn’t seen protesting like this in decades, and it’s clear that our country is taking steps back. Now is the time to be more passionate than ever.
Staying silent isn’t an option at this point, especially if you’re white.
A lot of people of color (POC) will tell you that white people don’t listen when being told about injustices that their own people are responsible for. They typically feel like POC are pointing fingers and blaming them for the existence of white supremacy. White guilt at it’s finest. Thus, our words go through one ear and out the other. This is why a lot of ignorant white people need to be informed by socially aware white people. This is because the more ignorant white people are less likely to feel as if they’re being blamed, so they’re more likely to listen.
It’s not enough to be aware and not spread the word. As Jane Elliot, an educator and equal rights activists once said, “bigotry can be unlearned.” It’s looking like white people are the only ones who can teach other white people. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone, it’s time to start having those uncomfortable conversations. Activism at its full potential is how you become a credible ally. Here is how:
- Think about your approach- It’s easy to wander off into a rant; make sure that you don’t do that because they won’t want to listen. Inform them, ask them questions, make them check their white privilege if they’re white. (This can be done through an online quiz if you don’t know exactly how to guide this process. Do this with every person that you have these conversations with, even if they’re not white. Privilege isn’t always racial.)
- Start with your family, then expand- starting with the people that you’re more comfortable with is the best way to go. These are people that you see often. I’m sure that they know about your activism but do they know about it?
- Then, move onto your friends- You might already have socially aware friends, so, make sure that they’re also spreading awareness. If they’re completely ignorant, be aware that this conversation might ruin your relationship with said person. You won’t be able to look at them the same. This really sucks, most of us socially aware people have already been there. But honestly who would want to keep a friend with bad morals? If they keep fighting against your ideas, move on.
- Go to protest and marches- If you can make it to one, make sure to attend. Your voice is heard the most.
- Do it the right way- Don’t attend riots. We’re all angry, I understand that. But if you participate in riots, that gets us nowhere. You’ll look like a child throwing a tantrum. Breaking windows and setting things on fire is not how you’ll be heard. Plus, it’s illegal.
- Know that if you haven’t already, you’ll probably get tired at some point- Tell me about it. We’re all tired of seeing others oppressed, we’re tired of repeating ourselves. But keep pushing. Please. It will be worth it.
Again, white allies, it’s time to get uncomfortable.