If you’re a white person, you may be feeling really confused, overwhelmed and outraged by the atrocious murder of George Floyd, the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, the literal hunting of Ahmoud Arbery and the absolutely appalling behavior of a white women who called the cops on Christian Cooper for no other reason than to assert her privilege.
And you might be wondering what you can do right now to make any sort of impact for real change in a system of institutionalized racism that’s been prevalent in the United States for 400 years.
It may feel like the problem is too big to fix.
You may feel like you don’t know what an individual can do to make a real impact.
You may be worried about saying or doing the wrong thing and causing more harm.
Or even worry that you can’t safely stand in peaceful protest due to bad actors who are inciting rioting and looting.
But likely, you want to do SOMETHING.
(and you can)
Now, we’ve all been crushed by the news of late but let’s not forget, for those of us who are white people, we’re all pretty late to the party when it comes to taking personal responsibility for our role in propping up a system that benefits us enormously. So, if you’re ready and you want to make a change in yourself and the society we live in, there are steps you can take today that can truly make an impact.
As you know, Mindful Mavericks Business Services & Mindful Mavericks Magazine has baked equality, social justice, diversity, and inclusion into our core values since inception. But, when I came to this work a few years ago, it took me a second to find my way through the process of dismantling my own biases and blind spots. I made some mistakes (we all will) but I stayed determined to keep working at it until I could fully embody allyship and be actively anti-racist in my daily life and with my networks and community.
All this to say, I’ve got your back!
If you’re confused as to what you can do and tackling this monster seems overwhelming, I’ve got 5 Simple Steps You Can Take Today to Become Actively Anti-Racist & A Better Ally.
So let’s get started….
STEP 1: Discover how we got here.
One thing I need to note at the get-go is that we (white people) need to educate ourselves on this. Our brothers and sisters of color are in pain and freakin’ exhausted. It is not their job or responsibility to educate us on racism, alleviate our guilt, emotionally hold us as we awaken to some harsh truths or tell us what we should do to help them. Unless a person of color in your life offers to educate you in these matters, don’t ask them to do our work. Seek out resources (there are literally hundreds) to help you do the work and ask your white friends who have been doing this work for a while to steer you in the right direction.
You may be thinking, “I want to ask my black friend or coworker. I want to hear it first hand, not Google it.”
I know, I know.
I felt the same way … but RESIST THE URGE. Your friend or coworker may be absolutely by day after day micro-aggressions and ongoing and recent tragedies. Let’s give them the space and time to heal while we do our work.
So let me volunteer to be someone in your life that can support you on the path as we navigate this all together.
Now, the first thing I recommend everyone do is listen to the Seeing White Podcast. It’s a captivating series which walks you through how we historically got to a system of institutionalized racism.
Scene on Radio’s host and producer John Biewen (a Midwestern white guy) takes a deep dive into big questions and with help from “an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika,” they unravel the history of racism and what it means to be white.
It is the most compelling podcast series I’ve listened to on any topic. You’ll be shocked by some of what you learn and you’ll see yourself in some of the series too. In the end, it’s a story of history, hope and how we can and will do better.
Seriously, go listen to the Seeing White Podcast now. Do this first. And when you’ve finished with the series, move on to Step 2.
STEP 2: Read White Fragility
When you start the work of dismantling your own role in racism, you may start to feel defensive. You’ll think, “but I’m not a racist.” You’ll say, “well, not all white people are like that.” You’ll reel from some of the harm you’ve unintentionally caused and you may just feel so bad you’ll want to cry…or scream…or both.
The book, White Fragility: Why it’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism, breaks down the natural defenses we as white people erect when we’re first confronted with our whiteness and our role in society.
Once you read this book, you see where White Fragility shows up in the world and your everyday life. You’ll feel armed by the understanding of how you can do this work in a way that’s gentle on you and everyone else.
This IS the next step of your journey.
(and while you’re at it, you can move on to Step 3)
STEP 3: Join A Group Where You Can Ask Questions
So, you’ve listened to the podcast and you’ve started reading the book and now you’ve got questions – BIG ONES. And you need to ask an actual human, not just read blogs and articles online. That’s when you find a group where you can comfortably ask your questions (even the ones you worry are foolish or insignificant) and you get guidance from professional social justice educators and real people who’ve been down this road before you.
My favorite groups for getting questions answered are run by Social Justice Educator, Dr. Tee Williams.
I first learned about his group, Beyond Guilt, Beyond Shame, White People Processing Racism, from a friend when I was seeking a mentor and a place I could ask the burning questions in my heart.
This amazing forum is a place where people who are starting this journey can ask the questions they are often afraid to ask about race. Dr. Tee responds with grace, support and loving guidance. And he calls people out and in artfully and compassionately. It’s a great group for diving in and becoming actively anti-racist and an ally without feeling like you’re doing it all wrong.
Dr. Tee and the members who are further along in doing their work, come together to help you gain a deeper understanding of institutionalized racism, intersectionality, biases, blind spots and allyship.
And, through his other group and Everyday Action with Dr. Tee, members are given action steps so they can show up actively anti-racist in their daily lives and within their networks and communities.
What sets Dr. Tee apart is his focus on teaching social justice from a liberation perspective. He doesn’t use tools of oppression (like shame, blame, guilt, or violent or aggressive communication) to teach. His groups and courses are excellent resources.
So go on and your questions answered. Join Beyond Guilt, Beyond Shame, White People Processing Racism and Everyday Action with Dr. Tee now.
STEP 4: Take A Course/Find A Mentor
Congratulations! By this point, you have learned how racism got institutionalized and codified into our system and laws, you’ve learned how to avoid the pitfalls of white fragility, you’ve reached out to a new community to get your questions answered and you’ve identified your own blind spots and biases. You’ve done great work! Now, it’s time to learn how to take action in your daily life and with your community to make a true change.
But what are the steps to do that? It’s hard to know where to start…there’s so much to tackle, right?? Well, that’s when you hire a mentor or take a course specifically designed to outline those crucial next steps for chipping away at systemic racism.
After having such a great experience with Dr. Tee’s Facebook communities, I decided to work with him as my mentor so I enrolled in his Foundations for Social Justice Course. This course is powerful and breaks it all down for you so you know exactly what to do to move forward as an ally.
While the course content is top-notch, it’s Dr. Tee’s Q&A sessions that make it such an incredible experience. You’ll walk away from his course feeling empowered and ready to go out in the world actively doing anti-racist work as an ally.
Of course, there are many other great mentors and courses out there on the internet as well but his was my favorite by far.
STEP 5: Learn how to make your business (or the company you work for) more inclusive where all voices are represented and can be heard.
The final step, is to bring all your hard work to your company – whether you’re a business owner or have a traditional job. It’s our responsibility to let our employers know we expect a diverse and inclusive work environment. And if you’re a business owner, it’s paramount that diversity and inclusion is at the forefront of your business. Your work world or business will become richer for having a variety of voices, talents and points of view represented.
Here’s a simple internet search result for corporate diversity & inclusion trainers. I’m going to recommend Dr. Tee again though as this is a core service he also offers the business and corporate communities.
So there it is – a simple 5 step plan to get you from confusion and overwhelm to taking daily action so you can be a “watch-out world!” ally in no time.
But, this doesn’t mean your work is done.
Our own internal work to wipe out racism and long-steeped biases may never be done. I have been doing this work for a while now and still new biases pop-up and mistakes are made. Doing anti-racist work on yourself and as an ally is an ever-unfolding process. Don’t stop working on yourself. Don’t stop learning and educating yourself. And more importantly, don’t stop putting yourself out there to actively help dismantle systemic racism. The world needs all hands on deck right now!
Thank you for doing the work.
It’s not enough to “not be racist” anymore, we must be anti-racist & back it up with ACTION. Now is the time for action.
I see you and appreciate you.
ps – if you’re ready for more resources, I created a free downloadable guide below with 176 resources to help you along your way! You download and print the guide or bookmark this page and keep reading below. I’ll be adding more resources to this post below as I see them.
And, if you want to receive more posts like these and other resources for creating a healthy life and successful business, you can join our community for FREE right here! >>
This guide was compiled with resources I’ve personally used to educate myself in racism and allyship. I’ve also included resources from other excellent compilations found online.
This is by no means an exhaustive list (there are so many more resources out there that I don’t know about or that are being added to the web every day) but it’s a really good start! ?
And please share this guide with your friends, family and network. As I mentioned above (and I think it’s important to say it again), “It’s not enough to “not be racist”, we must be anti-racist & back it up with ACTION. Now is the time for action.”
UPDATE: Mindful Mavericks takes the pledge!
If you’re in business and you haven’t watched Hello Seven’s “Re-imagining Small Business: A town hall to listen, learn & commit to building equitable, anti-racist organizations“, go watch it now!
This brainchild of Rachel Rodger’s was not only inspiring, it gives you practical steps for being more conscious and inclusive in your own business and life.
After watching the town hall, we took the pledge to continue our work to dismantle racism in our lives, community and businesses. We encourage you to take the pledge too.
Here are more resources…
- Seeing White by Scene On Radio
- Parenting Forward podcast episode ‘Five Pandemic Parenting Lessons with Cindy Wang Brandt’
- Fare of the Free Child
- Integrated Schools podcast episode “Raising White Kids with Jennifer Harvey”
- About Race
- Code Switch
- Intersectionality Matters!
- Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
- Pod For The Cause
- Pod Save the People
- Dr. Tee William’s Foundations in Social Justice for yourself and your business. Dr. Tee teaches social justice from a liberation perspective. I’ve learned so much about how to conduct my business and life more inclusively and how to be actively anti-racist.
- Workshop: White Privilege & Anti-racism for Teens & Families
Social Justice/Anti-racism Education & Support Groups
- Beyond Guilt, Beyond Shame, White People Processing Racism
- Everyday Action with Dr. Tee
- Support for Black-Jewish Individuals & Families
Inclusive Business Groups
- Entrepreneur Women Unified
- Massive Brand Incubator
- Track To Success – Building Your Online Service Based Business
- White Fragility
- So You Want to Talk About Race
- A Black Women’s History of the United States
- Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk About Race Faithfully
- Eloquent Rage
- Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria
- Why I No Longer Talk to White People About Race
- The Color of Law
- Well-read Black Girl
- Blackballed – The Black & White Politics of Race on America’s Campuses
- How to be an Anti-Racist
- When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
- Dying of Whiteness
- The New Jim Crow
- Black Feminist Thought
- Check Your Privilege
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
- The Warmth of Other Suns
- New York Times Anti-Racist Book List by Ibram X. Kendi
- Reproductive Injustice
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
- Between The World & Me
- The Fire This Time: A generation speaks out about race
- White Rage
- How to Protest Safely
- The Trauma of Being Black in America
- What is White Privilege, really?
- Addressing Diversity in Your Business
- 5 Racist Anti-Racism Responses “Good” White Women Give to Viral Posts
- Performative Allyship is Deadly
- 11 Ways to Support Black Lives If You Can’t Go To A Protest
- Reckoning with White Supremacy
- Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?
- 7 Difficult Questions About Racism
- 10 Documentaries You Can About Race Instead Of Asking A Person of Color To Explain Things For You
- Hands on the Freedom Plow
- PBS’s Teaching Your Child About Black History Month
- Answering White People’s Most Commonly Asked Questions About The Black Lives Matter Movement
- Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup from Pretty Good
- What White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
- 5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White & State Sanctioned Violence
- The Intersectionality Wars
More anti-racism resources to check out: (list credit – Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein)
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Anti-Racism Project
- Jenna Arnold’s resources (books and people to follow)
- Rachel Ricketts’ anti-racism resources
- Resources for White People to Learn and Talk About Race and Racism
- Save the Tears: White Woman’s Guide by Tatiana Mac
- Showing Up For Racial Justice’s educational toolkits
- The [White] Shift on Instagram
- “Why is this happening?” — an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
- Zinn Education Project’s teaching materials
- Systemic Racism Explained
- Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives
- Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man
RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN:
Books (many of these recommendations came from Adyn’s Books)
- All Are Welcome
- Kid Activists
- Skin Again
- Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X
- All American Boys
- Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up
- Amazing Grace
- Between The World & Me
- Let’s Talk About Race
- Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
- The Stars & The Blackness Between Them
- Piecing Me Together
- Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story From The Underground Railroad
- Separate is Never Equal
- Let the Children March
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
- A Kid’s Book About Racism
- Books to Spark Conversations About Race
- 31 Children’s Books to Support Conversations about Race
- Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners: books for children and young adults
- Read Brightly List of Books about Race
- Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About Race
- Racism & Violence: How to Help Children Handle the News
- A White Family’s Guide For Talking About Racism
- Talking Race with Young Children
- ‘Nailed It’ Host Shares How To Talk To Kids About #BlackLivesMatter
- What to say and read to your children right now
- How to talk to kids about race
- Let’s Talk about Race
- Something Happened in our Town
- Say Something
- Talking to your children about racism
- I am enough.
- We March
ORGANIZATIONS TO JOIN & DONATE TO:
- Black Lives Matter
- Anti-racist Club
- A New Way of Life
- Showing up For Racial Justice (SURJ)
- National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
- #8 Can’t Wait
- Fight for Breonna
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- United Negro College Fund
- Grassroots Law
- Black Youth Project 100
- Color of Change
- The Sentencing Project
- Families against Mandatory Minimums
- Dream Defenders
BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT
- Better Meal Plans
- Young, Black & Lit
- Nourished Motherhood
- Annick Ina – Book Doula
- Hello 7
- Jocelyn J. Kopac
- Alyssa Hall: Coach For Moms
- One Caffeinated Mom
- Dijah Communication
- Black-owned Restaurants
- Black Business
- The Black Mall
- Black Owned Brooklyn
- Bay Area Black-owned Businesses
- Black-owned Bookstores
- Black Coffee w/White Friends
- Go-fund Me: Black-owned Businesses
- Support Black Owned
Films and TV series to watch (list credit – Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein)
- 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
- Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
- Blindspotting (Carlos López Estrada) — Hulu with Cinemax or available to rent
- Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
- Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
- Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
- I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
- Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
- King In The Wilderness — HBO
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
- Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
- The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
Organizations to follow on social media (list credit – Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein)
- Antiracism Center: Twitter
- Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Black Women’s Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Color Of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook