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A message to my White friends

I am very happy the conversation on race is now being elevated beyond the usual empty words. I truly believe this time it will lead to significant change that will move us to equity and equality for Black people.

Beyond donating, and after the protests, here are a few ways you can help to be anti-racist in your day to day interactions with your Black friends/co-workers/neighbors.
 


  1. Start a conversation with your immediate circle of friends and your family. Ask them their thoughts and understanding of the current state of things and on racial injustice in America. Educate them and be open to being educated by them. Make conversations on being an anti-racist commonplace. The #Metoo movement elevated the conversation on consent. Though we still have a long way to go, people are more aware and educated on the idea of giving and getting consent. We can now easily identify our faulty ideologies on the issue and call each other out. Let’s do the same for race
  2. Call out your white friends or family when they do or say something racist. Even when a Black person is not there to witness it. Don’t make/encourage racist jokes & stereotypes. Tell them “don’t say that it’s wrong”. 
  3. Stop being triggered when someone tries to correct you on a race-related issue or by the word “Racist”. Learn to LISTEN. When you go on the defense you instantly make it about you and you make yourself a victim. So, instead of it being a learning experience the Black person or minority is tasked with convincing you that you’re not racist and taking care of your feelings. Doing that is called White fragility. Some of you even start crying. It’s called White tears. Black people are tired and deeply pained by both. 
  4. Black people just want to live in a society where the color of their skin is NOT an issue. We deserved to be judged on our actions and character as an INDIVIDUAL.
    Don’t make assumptions or generalize our actions.
  5. Don’t assume your Black friend knows how to twerk or loves rap music. Don't define their whole identity on what you think they should be because they are black. Stop reducing your Black friends to a stereotype.
  6. Stop asking your Black female friends endless questions about her hair. If you love the hair hairstyle, compliment it, and move on. Don't put them through a 15-min Q&A session on Black hair. When you do this, you remind your us that you see Black people as different, strange, and separate from the “norm”. Black people have existed just as long (or even longer) than any race. Your ignorance or lack of understanding of us and our cultures reminds us of segregation, systemic racism, and the fact that White is seen as the default race. It reminds us of the historic disinterest in Black people and culture while we are forced to consume and adapt to White cultures and rules. And don't touch it!
  7. If a Black person doesn’t want to talk about race, don’t make them. We deal with racism every day of their lives and sometimes we just need a break. There are many books, articles, and podcasts you can read on the subject. Don’t ask your Black friends to educate you on racism or inequality. Don't ask them to share their experiences unless they initiate the conversation or you’re absolutely sure it’s appropriate.
  8. It’s never ok to say the N-word. Not when you're singing a song, not when you're quoting someone, not in your sleep. Just never say it!
  9. If you’ve done any of these things don’t feel too bad. Take it as an opportunity to learn and grow and spread the word.
  10. White friend, I know you are good and kind and have no hate in your heart for Black people. You have however been born in a society that gives you privilege at the expense of others. It has also unknowingly ingrained some prejudices into you. Changing this behavior is a learning experience for you and for me. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to show support and fight for Black Lives Matter. When it’s genuine we can tell. If you’re doing it for virtue-signaling purposes we can tell too. So be genuine and join your voice with ours!  You have no idea how good it feels to see White people fighting for Black lives with passion, sincerity, and even anger. Humanity is beautiful when we do the right thing and support each other. ❤️ 

 

Please take a few minutes to watch the videos below and also check out the book recommendations. Be part of the change we are all fighting for! 

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‘What Academics Mean by White Privilege, or Yes It Sucks To Be Poor And White But Try Being Poor And Non-White.’⁣
Chimamanda Ngozie Adiche reading an excerpt from her critically acclaimed book Americanah.
Uncomfortable conversations with a Black Man.

You've probably seen this all over the internet including on Instagram's top recommendations for being educated on the Black Lives Matter movement. If you haven't, here's your chance.
Naomi Campbell speaking up about the lack of diversity in the modeling industry.


Not sure where to start? Here are some books you can read to educate yourself on racism. Take action and do your part as we move towards a more equitable and equal society 📚.
Photo credit: Jane Mount
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want To Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olu
- Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coats
- How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Stamped By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

From the Magazine


As we continue to give the long-overdue recognition to black-owned business and black creative and talented individuals, here’s a look at black photographers, authors, entrepreneurs, and artists that I've featured in Clever-ish Magazine in the not too distant past.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with a friend!

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Keep in mind...

The simplistic idea that racism is limited to individual international acts committed by unkind people is at the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic” - Quote from the book, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
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