I am white and the fact that talking about race makes white people uncomfortable is the very reason we should be talking about it. Talk to other white people about race and what can you do to help fight the corner of people of colour. The asnwer for you might not be easy and that’s ok, but I’ve seen a few people of colour express that they are tired of white people asking them what they can do instead of doing their own research. There is enough content on social media, in books and on the world wide web to answer your questions.
There’s one thing that is really easy to do and that is actively speak out against any racism you see happening. If something shocks you, say something about it. This isn’t about just reacting on social media, but actually speaking to someone who has been racist in front of you and call them out in a way that will make them reflect on their actions. Their actions could have been as subtle as using a stereyotype.
Then you have to realise that there is structural racism happening everywhere and that racism is more than just calling out racial slurs to a person of colour. Racism is as prevalent in Britain as it is in the USA, and it’s an absolute shambles that I wasn’t taught about it in school the same way I was taught about Martin Luther King.
Is your place of work majority or all white while the area where the business is in houses many people of colour? What is it about the recruitment process that excludes people of colour? Just because you’re not in HR doesn’t mean that you can’t pose these questions to your manager or your colleagues. Be brave. Start a conversation.
The worst thing for me would be to say all this and not actively do anything, but so far I’ve:
- Spoken to and continue to speak to my parents about race
- Researched and understood white privilege
- Read “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- Read and noted countless social media posts about what I can do
- Signed a petition related to the murder of George Floyd in the USA
- Researched Anti-racism groups that I can support in my area
- Followed accounts curated by people of colour on social media
Like most white people, I have a long way to go, and writing this short post has been a long time coming. Through social media I realised that staying silent about racism is a lot worse than saying something that makes you feel awkward and uncomfortable. I’ve seen that the important thing isn’t to say something new about racism. An important thing we can do as white people is to show solidarity with people of colour and tear down any walls that are stopping us.
Let’s be as anti-racist in real life as we are on social media.