How to Be a Strong Ally for #BlackLivesMatter
6 Ways For White Woman to Support the Black Community
By Amanda Alford, SheCAN! Diversity Committee
My name is Amanda Alford, and I am an entrepreneur, Owner & Pet Stylist of Alford's Angels Dog Grooming & Beauty, as well as a board member of SheCAN! and a part of the SheCAN! Diversity Committee. I am a BiRacial Woman, a Black Woman with the privilege of having white skin. My mother is black, and my dad is white. My family (husband and children) are black and I am proud of the BLM movement. I am standing up and being a voice for Black Lives, and I ask you to do the same. SheCAN! is committed to making a change in America at this time, and we are starting with elevating black voices through our content platform on our website and in our programming. Here are some tips on how you can be an ally in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Learn the (real) facts.
Open your mind, open your heart, and do the research to learn what the Black Lives Matter Movement is about and why it is happening.
"Black Lives Matter" is often compared to "All Lives Matter." Here is a small break down to make the difference easy to understand:
The Black Community said, "Black Lives Matter. We never said "Only Black Lives Matter."
We know that "All Lives Matter."
We ask for the white community's help in spreading the mission of #BlackLivesMatter to help protect the black lives that are in danger.
Know the terms.
Here are a few frequently-used definitions to help you get started in understanding the language of the Black Lives Matters movement. I also highly recommend you watch the 13th Documentary on Netflix!
Systemic Oppression - refers to the mistreatment of people within a specific group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions.
Systemic Racism (also known as Institutional Racism) - is a form of Racism expressed in the practice of social and political institutions. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing,
White privilege or white skin 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.
White supremacy or white supremacism - is the racist belief that white people are superior to people of other races and therefore should be dominant over them. White supremacy has roots in the now-discredited doctrine of scientific Racism and often relies on pseudoscientific arguments. Like most similar movements such as neo-Nazism, white supremacists typically oppose members of other races as well as Jews.
Also, be sure to avoid microaggressions, which are unintentional or intentional phrases or actions that are perceived as derogatory or negative racial messages. Here are some things that are considered microaggressions:
- "I'm not racist, I have black friends."
- "You don't sound black/you are so articulate."
- "White privilege does not exist."
- "Can I touch your hair?"
- "I don't see color."
- Walking quickly past a black or person of color.
- "As a woman, I know what you are going through."
Acknowledge and accept.
To make a change, you have to acknowledge that what is happening in our country is real. It is not a history lesson. It is happening today and has been happening for centuries. Accepting the fact you may have been (consciously or subconsciously) a part of the problem is also an important step to take to make a difference. Recognizing this may be uncomfortable, but remember: Black Women, Black Men, Black Communities, and People of Diverse Backgrounds have been uncomfortable living in America every single day. Acknowledging & accepting is a crucial key to moving forward with change.
Change starts within YOU! Honest questions to ask yourself:
- How will you move forward and be a part of the solution?
- What changes do you need to make within yourself, within your family, and within your community?
- Did you know this was happening but chose to ignore it because it wasn't "your problem"?
- Do you have black friends or meaningful relationships?
- If you don't, ask yourself why?
Open your eyes.
Even though you might not want to do it, educate yourself on the current "viral" tragedies that have occurred within the last several years. Google a few names and learn what has been happening to Black Lives around America. There will be pictures, videos, and first-account social media posts, and some content may be graphic and possibly break your heart, but sometimes seeing is believing.
Google and say their names:
- Tamir Rice
- Philando Castile
- Trayvon Martin
- George Floyd
- Breonna Taylor
If these were your loved ones: Would you sit back and do nothing, or would you do everything you possibly could to get justice for them? Try to put yourself in their shoes! Try hard because as white women or as all white families, this is a reality you would never have to live.
Be a voice.
Your voice is important. Be brave and have courage. Some tips:
- If something is wrong, you must stand up for what's right. BLM movement is essential to make a change and fix our Divided Country.
- If you see or hear one of your fellow white friends, family members, or coworkers being racist, hateful, or ignorant; correct them, educate them, help them understand what they are saying or doing is wrong.
- Teach your children to judge people off their hearts and mind, NOT their face/skin.
These steps will take time, but if you're dedicated to truly making a change in this country, this change will happen sooner, and this world will be a better place.
- UNDERSTAND: "13th" on Netflix: In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.
- LEARN: Free Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging to All trainings LinkedIn Learning
- SUPPORT: Guide To Black-Owned Businesses To Support In WNY
- READ: 31 Resources That Will Help You Become a Better White Ally
- DONATE: Where to Donate to Support the Black Lives Matter Movement
- REMEMBER: Register to Vote
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amanda Alford is an entrepreneur from Buffalo NY. She is a proud member of SheCAN! Her family is her joy (husband, 2 sons & several fur babies) and she is a business owner living her passion. She is on a mission to spread love and positivity. She is the Owner of Alford’s Angels Dog Grooming & Beauty, "Making Grooming a PAWsitive Experience". Her profession allows her to care for doggies & spread happiness to the human & doggy world. She also runs a social group called Girls Only Experience. A platform to have fun girl time, bond, support women, and partake in Vlogs.