By Blog Coordinator Meghan Randolph
View SAIL’s statement on coping with these times of change, including information on our new Ethnic Diversity Committee and more.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be antiracist.”
~ Angela Davis
With the events of recent weeks, and considering the centuries of racism that have taken place on American soil, a lot us who are white may be wondering how we can be good allies.
For those of us reading this who are white, we’ve been able to spend our lives not being targeted for our skin color. This certainly doesn’t mean we haven’t experienced difficulties. It just means that our whiteness was not the reason for those difficulties.
The best thing we can do, if we are white, is listen and try to understand. Being an ally can come in many forms. If you prefer to not protest in the streets, you can sign petitions, do lots of reading, consume art, listen to interviews, watch videos, and more. The key is listening. Doing some work on ourselves is essential if we want true racial equality in our country, which I’m certain is something all SAIL members are looking for!
I talked to SAIL Program Director Nicole Schaefer, and she and I agreed that this week’s post would be a great place to provide some resources on better understand how to be an allys. It can be overwhelming, so take things at your own pace as you try to understand. I know it’s been tough for me coming to terms with the things that have happened to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in my country. I want to see justice and equality, and in order to do that, I must try to understand where they are coming from, and vow to make productive changes.
We don’t see this as a political issue, but a moral one, and recognize it isn’t going to happen overnight. You can listen to a chapter while sitting on the porch or reflect on an article while on a summer walk with a friend. The important thing is to keep striving to learn. We at SAIL will continue to do this, as well. If you have questions, one thing to remember is that BIPOC people aren’t required to explain things to us. We are capable of doing research ourselves. Still, many are generous with their time and knowledge, and are willing to help us understand things from a different perspective. If they do, it’s important to thank them for taking the time, considering the emotional labor of their entire lives and especially the recent weeks.
Without further ado, here are some things that will help all of us become better allies! We’ve provided links to learn more, so just click on the title to be taken to a description.
White Fragility by Robin Di Angelo
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi (National Book Award Winner)
How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Movies and TV Series
These are available on streaming services. They may also be available at your local library. Many can also be rented with an Amazon.com account and stream directly to your TV, computer, tablet, or mobile device. Search at video.amazon.com.
13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
If Beale Street Could Talk–Hulu
Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent for free in June in the U.S.
When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
“America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (Mentoring a New Generation of Activists
”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant” by Jose Antonio Vargas | NYT Mag (June 22, 2011)
The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
The Combahee River Collective Statement
“The Intersectionality Wars” by Jane Coaston | Vox (May 28, 2019)
Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups developed by Craig Elliott PhD
“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
These links will take you to YouTube, which should work on any electronic device.
Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers (50:48)
Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses ‘White Fragility’ (1:23:30)
“How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” (18:26)
The most important thing to remember is that, as allies, we will stumble, and we will misunderstand. But we must keep learning and keep focused on growth. We owe that work to our BIPOC friends, particularly our Black friends in this moment.
We are so fortunate to have access to so many resources on the internet, and we look to continue the conversation with SAIL members to help us all become better listeners. If you need any help with obtaining any of the above resources, or if you have any additional resources to share with us, please contact the SAIL office at 608-230-4321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we know here at SAIL, there are always new things to learn that will help us grow, no matter your age! We stand with and send our love to our BIPOC members and friends!