I am a light-skinned, blue-eyed, blonde-haired female.
Which means I am one of the most privileged classes of individuals to walk this earth.
I could ramble on about what this privilege affords me – a voice, a platform, unearned respect – but what all of it boils down to, is that I have the privilege of not fearing for my life on a daily basis.
Think about that. My level of anxiety – no matter how high – will never match the anxiety of my fellow black and brown human beings. Never. Because I can ride a bike, stroll down a street, drive a car, cash a check, congregate with friends, make a little too much noise, and never fear for my safety. I can call the cops believing that they are meant to protect me – not kill me.
Brittaney recently wrote a post on Blush discussing the ways in which we as white folks can support people of color. Not only was it eloquent, thought provoking, insightful, and brilliantly written – it struck a chord in me. I’ve always erred on the side of listening when it comes to race and felt like it was wrong to “take up space” in an area that desperately needed voices other than my own.
But after reading her words, it dawned on me that my silence on Blush could be interpreted as acceptance for the state of this country. And that could not be further from the truth.
This doesn’t make me a hero. In fact, this is barely a dent.
I will never, ever understand the layers and layers of pain and suffering black and brown people endure on a daily basis. But I can use my privilege to stand by others and hopefully communicate that I can be a safe place for them if needed. I will stand up for them. I will speak out for them.
Below I’ve summarized things that white folks can do to support our black community. This is in DIRECT response to Brittaney’s incredible post. These are not original thoughts. But I hope that you take each one seriously enough to adopt into your own set of behaviors.
- I encourage white folks to make donations to black organizations that empower and protect its community. Black people don’t need your silent thoughts or your works of art in “solidarity.” They need money to bail them out of jail when they protest or to fund organizations that will push for dismantling systemic racism. Blush has and will continue to make donations to Black Lives Matter Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and to Black Visions Collective. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this site that can walk you through more outlets.
- Do your own self-education.
Black women are not here to teach us. Brittaney was kind enough to share her work with us on this platform – but that doesn’t mean she’s up for grabs when it comes to educating white women for free. Do your own research. Google. Follow experts (see below). Read.
- Have tough conversations with people you love.
I am not an expert, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware when someone’s thinking could intentionally or unintentionally hurt someone else. Have the conversation. Even if you don’t change every mind – you’ll set a boundary for what is and isn’t welcomed in your space. That sets precedent with others.
- Operate with more empathy on a daily basis.
(Brittaney talked about this better than I ever could).
This is what my inner monologue typically sounds like, just for an example: “What would it feel like to wake up scared for my family? What would it feel like to hear about another murder of someone who looks just like me every week? How would I cope with knowing that police enforcement harms me instead of helps me?”
View the world through that lens before you try to relate, help, or speak.
- Get familiar with activists and educators.
I was fortunate enough to attend one of Rachel Cargle’s workshops last year, and following her work on Instagram has been a major source of education for me. She doesn’t mince words. She doesn’t give a shit if her language makes me or any other white person feel uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what we as white women need. To feel uncomfortable so that we can experience an OUNCE of what our black and brown friends go through every single day. I strongly encourage you to follow her, Valencia Clay, and Charlene Caruthers.
And this last one is just for me.
I will actively strive to make Blush a more diverse community.
Our team of coaches is not diverse enough – which means our community is not diverse enough. If I am going to make Blush a safe space to work on self-improvement, confidence, self-love, and more – then it needs to be inclusive for everyone.
If you know of anyone who you believe would be an amazing asset to Blush, please send them my way. If you yourself stumbled upon Blush and wanted to join as a client or a coach – but thought to yourself that it wasn’t a safe space for you – I apologize from the bottom of my heart. That’s my privilege showing. And I’m going to work my hardest to keep it in check. It’s not only what’s best for me as a person, but it’s what’s best for my company, my coaches, my clients, and anyone else who comes in contact with us.
Thanks for listening. Now go donate.