Are You Practicing Performative Allyship?

Dear white people, this one’s for you. To those of you who claim to be anti-racist, and to those who claim to support people of color, I’m curious as to how. When people of color share their firsthand accounts of racism, or even when you yourself share stories of racism you’ve been witness to, do you proudly state, “Man, I hate white people”? You should know that this performative allyship does nothing for us. Distancing yourself from the institution of white supremacy and other white people in general when you yourself are white and benefit from white supremacy does nothing for us. I get it. I understand that you’re trying to express your solidarity with us – You’re trying to tell us you’re on our side. What you need to know is that impact matters more than intent. Waving your hands in front of people of color’s faces and proclaiming that you’re “so woke” is more for you than it is for us, if we’re being honest. Do less. Or rather, do more. If you want to be seen as a real ally, try doing something of substance for us instead of just calling other white girls Becky and “feeling bad” when your grandpa says that people of color are subhuman over dinner.

Go to a protest or rally. Donate to the ACLU or other organizations that actually help people of color. Call out your white friends when they use racial slurs or say racist sh*t. Call your representatives and demand justice for the murder of black boys and girls. Don’t stay silent when your white friends or family members attempt to justify their deaths. Educate yourself instead of asking people of color to educate you. Stop trying to disguise your fetishizing of black bodies as attempts at unity. When you see racism as a white person, feeling “so upset” by it but doing nothing does not help us. Pushing your white guilt onto us as a feeble attempt to clear your conscience does nothing for us.

If you’re practicing performative allyship, step up.

You cannot expect a pat on the back for kind of caring without actually doing any work to help us. If you want to be seen as an ally so badly, do more than tweet “#BlackLivesMatter” once in a blue moon. If you want to be seen as an actual ally, f*cking try harder.

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Jasmine Hart
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Jasmine Hart is a staff writer for Affinity Magazine and is based in Minnesota.

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