Oppression is not a trendy aesthetic. Actively address racism. It isn’t hard. Confront the racist people you know, because statistically, most of the white people you know voted for Donald Trump and your rusty ass pins aren’t keep marginalized people safe. If you are not sure where to begin, here are 10 active ways you can show up as an ally instead of passively wearing a safety pin and doing nothing.
1. Confront meemaw at Christmas dinner.
Wearing a safety pin during holiday dinners does nothing for marginalized people. Confronting your racist family members when they say “nigger” or go on long drawn out racist tirades about undocumented Americans is effective. Be vocal. Be consistent. If you can’t call out your family, how are you any help to marginalized people?
2. Defend and protect Muslim Women who wear Hijabs.
There have been way too many viral videos of white people yelling at and attacking Muslim women, demanding they remove their Hijabs. What you don’t see, are white people stepping defend and protect those women. You also don’t see them calling out the xenophobic and violent behavior.
3. Be a human shield at Black Lives Matter protests.
When I see videos of black and brown bodies being abused, it makes me physically ill. What I would like to see is more white people linked arm and arm, shielding black and brown bodies from police brutality.
4. Stop allowing people to use the term ‘’illegal’’.
Humans are not illegal. Undocumented folx deserve respect and a path to citizenship. White people are not natives of this land, and they have no right to demand people be deported. When you hear your friends and family use the term ‘’illegal’’, correct them. It’s that simple.
5. Vote in local elections.
I support black people who don’t want to participate in a system that wasn’t built for us and continues to deny us our basic rights and humanity. But white people? C’mon. This system was built for you, and it caters to you. There’s no way to destroy it if you don’t participate. Vote out local politicians who make laws that impact LGBTQIA people. Vote out local politicians who invest in the industrial prison complex. Vote out local judges who don’t give fair sentences to black and brown people—but give out light sentences to white rapists. Vote to send liberal candidates to the House and Senate so we can gain the majority during Trump’s Presidency. You don’t get to sit out.
6. Donate to Flint and Standing Rock and stay home.
White people are actively poisoning Flint residents, and attempting to poison the water with #DAPL. Sometimes you need to own up and accept responsibility for the actions of other white people. You sent bottled water to Flint. You took pictures at Standing Rock. That isn’t enough. Until YOU help solve these issues, the very least you can do is donate money. And stay home. They didn’t send for you.
7. Stop lying.
Donald Trump won because he won the white vote. So, statistically someone you know voted for Donald Trump. Stop deflecting. Stop lying because chances are, you voted for him. This is your fuck up. Own it. Call out those who voted and continue having conversations about the reasons why they voted. Here’s a hint: It isn’t because he’s a nice guy.
8. Own your shit.
Having a black friend, black child or black partner does not mean you’re not racist. White people are born and socialized into white supremacy and it takes a lifetime to work on unlearning those behaviors. While it’s important to call out others, it’s equally important to work on you own shit. If this makes you uncomfortable to read, sit with it, and think about why it makes you uncomfortable and work on it.
9. Stop centering yourselves during conversations between marginalized people.
This is self-explanatory. Sometimes you need to shut up. We don’t have to preface our words with “not all white people.”
10. Stop looking for ways to avoid doing the work.
No one cares about your safety pins. Unless you’re using them to jab racists at family dinners, they’re not doing shit for marginalized people. Stop doing everything but the thing you should be doing… dismantling this oppressive system and using your privilege to benefit marginalized people. Racism is your problem to solve.
– Creighton Leigh