How to Become White Allies to BIPOC: Dismantle Structures of Oppression & Anti-Blackness Attitudes
This is a call to action for well-intentioned White individuals that are more harmful than helpful as a whole when it comes to dismantling structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes — Racial prejudice towards BIPOC.
Read this article with an open mind while reflecting on the ways that you may have personally contributed to structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes in your everyday & consciously challenge these acts & attitudes — This awareness will be a catalyst for great change! My intention is to share my perspective as a BIWOC (Woman of Color) that deals with structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes. Lastly, my hope is to provide you all with some context to better understand how structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes negatively impacts BIPOC in the United States.
Black-lived experiences are not monolithic — I strongly believe that BIPOC in the United States has dealt with or deals with racial trauma, but that’s another topic for another day. Nonetheless, it’s an important dialogue to be had outside of this article.
This article is not intended to be a step-by-step approach to guide potential White allies in dismantling structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes (if only it were that easy). Documented Black-lived experiences are vital resources for White allies to explore in great depth in order to become effective allies. Attentively listen to, or read BIPOC’s lived experiences, without operating out of 'White Fragility' & 'White Guilt' (read up on these terms) & then become empowered to utilize 'White Privilege' (read up on this term) to dismantle structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes.
There’s so much to unpack, but what prompted me to write this piece in the first place (although, I actively write on my Black-lived experiences on other social media platforms) was an unfortunate encounter with someone at the park. He invited me on a walk. I was under the impression that it was spiritual related.
From the beginning, the encounter was very unsettling. Nonetheless, I remained compassionate, empathetic, & hopeful. He was operating out of 'White Guilt' & ‘White Fragility’ during our walk. Initially, he made it seem as though we were above other people because of our otherworldly views. I tried my best to show him how his thinking isn't in alignment with a spiritually evolved being. Long story short, we came up on the topic of symbols & how they have evolved. One symbol in particular would cause conflict in our exchange — It's a symbol of deep racial hatred that he wanted to adorn himself with. I was walking on eggshells during that exchange to keep the peace (BIWOC are often perceived as aggressors) because I’m hyper-aware of how others may perceive me (White individuals don’t have to constantly think about their racial identity), regardless of the fact that he was the aggressor.
I have no tolerance for racist attitudes & beliefs, but I had to be mindful of the people & my surroundings when confronting him in public.
On my drive home, I was left to reflect on this unsettling encounter. Prior, I encouraged him to look into anti-racist work. The following day, he didn't apologize for his actions. In the interaction that he initiated on Messenger, I shared with him how I have to always be aware of the spaces that I am in due to my race (I didn’t mention gender biases that I also experience). He was unwilling to see my perspective.
BIPOC are socialized not to react to racist encounters & if we decide to then there’s potential for racist outrage, which tends to get unacknowledged & unaddressed. BIPOC have to create spaces for ourselves where we feel safe — Human. Unfortunately, that still becomes an issue for a great deal of White individuals that are often oblivious to our struggles.
I describe this racial tension in the United States as often provoked reactions towards White perpetrators that perpetuate these structures of oppression & anti-blackness attitudes.
What are you actively doing in your everyday to ensure that BIPOC are being treated fairly?
Are you providing safe spaces for BIPOC to be transparent & vulnerable in?
Are you creating opportunities for BIPOC to thrive in?
In short, it all starts with the willingness to check your own and each other's racial biases each day while creating spaces for BIPOC to thrive in & feel empowered to be their authentic selves.