One of the things that we are hoping to convey in our work, writing and everyday lives is that it is not enough to be “not racist”, and that by passively allowing the racist systems to perpetuate unchallenged, one actually participates in racism. To that end, it is critical that all of us are strongly and vocally anti-racist, and work to challenge the subtle, systemic, and systematic ways that discrimination exists throughout our society.
Here are a number of ways you can act that range from supporting equality, to pushing for equity, to bringing about justice (and for those visually oriented, a graphic from Mobilize Green that helps explain the difference of each).
Support the Inclusion and Access of People of Color Equality
- How we fund. Grantmaking should not be color-blind or race-neutral. “Not seeing color” is equivalent to telling a person of color that you are not seeing them and their experience. Consider creating a fund or a portion of your current funding structure specifically to lift BIPOC’s.
- How we convene. When planning an event, use vendors that are representative of the community you are in. When thinking of the invitation list, think beyond traditional limitations of expertise.
- How we consume content. Read books that not only challenge our understanding of equality, but also normalize the stories of people that don’t look like us.
Challenge the Norms and Push for Equity
- How we present. Agree to speak on a panel only if diverse viewpoints are included. Ask for a BIPOC moderator or co-author when speaking professionally. For every time you are quoted, insist a colleague of color is as well.
- How we learn. Research the media you are consuming before deciding that it is fact. One individual’s interpretation is their own perspective. Images and videos can be distorted. All purveyors have their own bias that they bring to the narrative. Try to untangle what that is before automatically agreeing, or worse, automatically reposting/sharing.
- How we engage. Have the difficult conversation at the dinner table with family members who see things differently. Don’t shy away. Don’t keep the peace. Be willing to challenge them vociferously and vehemently.
Dismantle the Systems that Perpetuate Racism and Bring about Justice
- How we are policed. Call to dismantle and defund the current policing system. As white people risking our own comfort and privilege, we can work together to build systems that serve everyone in our communities.
- How we raise children. Raise race-conscious children who can critically evaluate on their own the rules at play, what is fair or not, have an understanding of history and how that has created our present, and interact with a wide variety of models.
- How we redistribute wealth. Give real decision-making power on your funding to those that are directly affected by the cause you want to support. Consider unrestricted, cash grants. Consider organizations that don’t typically meet your expectations of structure, design, or leadership. These acts yield your power and shares it with those who it is designed to benefit.
Lastly, as you try to find your place in being a meaningful ally, we encourage you to think of the resources you have at your disposal the same way you would think of all your resources if you wanted to support a nonprofit. Do you have time or a talent that could be used to help educate others? Perhaps you have a network that you can reach out to in centering individuals of color in conversations.
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