Here is an introspective starter guide for white and non-POC allies and those working to break from the chains of white supremacy. You can view the Altar of Solidarity at Finnriver or learn more about the project on Instagram at @altarofsolidarity
Created by Jade Evans, January 2021
Engage in active listening to the stories and lived experiences of individuals within the Black and Indigenous communities. While we are not a monolith, there are experiences that are specifically unique to people of color not only in the U.S but worldwide that are often dismissed. Listen to hear, not to respond. Challenge your ego to take a backseat. White Supremacy moves to gaslight and dismiss the experiences people of color. Do not invalidate someone else’s experience because certain issues do not exist in your world.
History has been whitewashed surprise! Educate or rather re-educate yourself on matters regarding the BIPOC community. Regardless of where you come from, you consciously or unconsciously have been conditioned by and benefit from the structures of white supremacy and its countless byproducts. One of the most prominent and practiced examples; racism, colorism, land access etc. Re-educate yourself with books, conversations, possibly even classes that explore the rich history and culture of Black and Indigenous and other POC communities and their contributions. Our stories otherwise were deliberately left out of mainstream curriculums and or covered up by a whitewashed version.
Listening and re-educating yourself may lead to new revelations. Acknowledging the history both past and present of Black and Indigenous people is vital in the fight for equality and equity. Acknowledgment is a pathway to closure. Acknowledge your place of privilege, and your entitlements, explore how it benefits you and how it effects those around you; whether directly or indirectly. It should go without saying that this doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard for what you’ve earned. It should be noted however, that it means acknowledging that within the system of white supremacy, you have had a jumpstart or multiple chances because you are white. Did that last statement bother you? Good, explore it in the next phase...
Using the first three tools of Listening, Educating, and Acknowledging; take time to reflect on what you have gathered. Have you been honest with yourself and your place of privilege? (we all have it in some form) Do you recognize performative allyship within yourself or those around you? Did you step outside of your comfort zone to listen and HEAR* the experiences of BIPOC people? Were you frustrated and or inspired by what you heard and why? Did it challenge your current way of thinking? Were you able to at least start digging into the soil of your awareness, to begin uprooting the branches of white supremacy that are entangled in your foundations?
Now that you have taken time to Reflect (which is not an overnight process) how will you apply this to your life moving forward? It is long overdue to say the least, that we (well you, white folks) normalize ethnic and racial differences and stop criminalizing them, or the other extreme which is fetishizing them. Normalize having those hard talks with family and friends. Normalize learning the WHOLE history and giving credit where it’s due, and to that- normalize re-education to be more inclusive of the truth. Normalize working to dismantle the hateful and divisive system that is white supremacy, piece by piece.
Are you willing to L.E.A.R.N?
Created by Jade Evans, January 2021. For permission to share, please contact Jade@finnriver.com