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  • Fri, 12, Jun, 2020 - 5:00:AM

The Black Lives Matter movement needs us to be better allies

Though posting on social media and showing up for protests are important ways to show solidarity, it’s important we’re mindful to not engage in allyship that is purely optical. Optical allyship, in the words of Latham Thomas, “only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally’, it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress”. The #BlackoutTuesday movement on Instagram for example, has been criticised as being “all lip service and performative nonsense that buried more essential information” associated with the BlackLivesMatter hashtag by flooding Instagram with black squares. There are lots of different ways we can and should be meaningfully supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Take action. Every day. In whatever ways you can. Here are some ways you can start taking action as a better ally today:

 

1. DONATE TO THOSE IMPROVING & FIGHTING FOR BLACK LIVES

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the organisations that are currently looking for financial support. But if you are in a position to do so (without compromising on your basic needs for survival), put your money where your mouth is and support the families of victims, organisations protesting racial injustice, and community groups  working every day to enrich the lives of black people.

 

 

 

2. SIGN THE PETITION(S)

Keep your cursor busy by signing your name to any (or all) of the following petitions:

 

 

 

3. EDUCATE YOURSELF & HELP EDUCATE OTHERS

Part of good allyship is about taking responsibility for informing ourselves and deconstructing our own ignorance, biases, and prejudices. Expecting members of black communities to educate us about the issues they face every day is unhelpful as it places more burden on people who often do not have the emotional energy/resources/support to add educating others to their day’s to-do list. Invest in race-conscious writers, local bookstores, and in decolonising your mind by reading books such as:

 

  • Audre Lorde’s ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House’
  • Feminista Jones’ ‘Reclaiming Our Space: How Black Feminists Are Changing the World, from the Tweets to the Streets’
  • Glory Edim’s ‘Well-Read Black Girl – Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves’
  • Ibram X. Kendi’s ‘How to Be an Antiracist’
  • Lalya F. Saad’s ‘Me And White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor’
  • Mikki Kendall’s ‘Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot’
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge’s ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’

 

 

4. FOLLOW BLACK ARTISTS ONLINE

Consider an audit of the diversity of your social media newsfeed. Social media algorithms tend to create echo chambers so that all you see is content that is familiar or in line with what you’re already digesting. Actively follow artists whose works may challenge you, and offer fresh/different perspectives. Here are some amazing black creatives to check out:

 

TAGGED IN

  • Racism /
  • Anti-racism /
  • Black Lives Matter /
  • Allyship /
  • Optical allyship /
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Maria
Ji

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