In the midst of this racial uprising (yes it’s still going on), I am so thankful for my White Allies. I really wanted to say that I’m thankful for my white friends, but I was afraid that I’ll sound like that person that says, “I’m not racist! I have a black friend.” Yea. Saying, “I have a black friend” sounds just as stupid as saying, “I have a white friend.” It’s not the having of these friends that makes one not racist, but it’s how you live life with these friend that factors into one’s racism or bias.
So, I decided to use the term allies just so you readers can understand the context in which I am coming from. But don’t get it twisted, these women are my friends; I only share them with the public and their families sometimes.
George Floyd’s murder left me completely and utterly exhausted. I only made one “I’m tired of this” post on Facebook. Don’t try to find it, because someone reported it as bullying. Facebook said that my post went against their community standards on hate speech and inferiority. (Although we all know that there are groups created on Facebook just for hate and inferiority, yet they still stand.) Yea, even Facebook dislikes an angry black women, even when we have every reason to be angry.
It seemed like the moment my voice was semi-silenced, my personal White Allies got louder! Their posts questioned the actions of racists or really, really biased people. They encourage their other white friends to read books and educated themselves on race relations. They protested. They called government officials. They gave me a hug and whispered in my ear, “Let’s fight.”
Do you want to know the most beautiful thing about their notion of refusing to be silent? They were never silent! What the world is now seeing about my White Allies, I was always privy to seeing. They were always vocal about racial injustice. They never stood silent while Memphis had vast food deserts. They were always organizing something to ensure that women and mothers have everything they need to survive AND thrive.
They have never treated me like “the help.” They don’t cry when I disagree with them and say they feel attacked. I love how they understand that we have cultural differences.
They are just as comfortable in their Whiteness as I am in my Blackness.
I also appreciate that they don’t feel the need to call me and say, “I’m so sorry that this is happening. I just want you to know that I love you.” I already know how my White Allies feel towards me and about what’s going on in the world. It is evident in their actions daily. They don’t feel the need to “make sure” that I know how they feel about the situation. They don’t need affirmations of acceptance or the security of knowing that I know how they feel. Their actions speak louder than words. Rather than calling to say, “You KNOW I love you right? You KNOW I’m not like “those other people,” right? You KNOW that I don’t agree with what’s going on, right?” My White Allies say, “Honey, this crap is crazy. Let me know if you need to vent.”
Now, if you’re a White Ally to someone, don’t be silent about it! I attend a multicultural and multi-ethnic church and some of our members are eerily silent. (Insert cricket sounds.) How they feel about the BLM Movement is questionable and unknown. I don’t know if they are “for” my Blackness or “against” my Blackness. (I’m just saying how I feel.) For example, if we were out somewhere and someone made a racist remark towards me, would these silent, but self-proclaimed White Allies:
- Correct the aggressor before I had a chance to.
- Wait until after I said something to the aggressor, then support what I said.
- Try to calm me down AND pacify the aggressor at the same time.
- Stand by silently while I’m berated. Then apologize later.
If you answered B, C, or D……you’re not a White Ally. White Allies don’t need anyone’s permission to correct biased or racist behaviors or comments. White Allies don’t need to be in the presence of Black or Brown friends in order to defend Black or Brown people. If someone says something “off,” racist, or simply dripping in ignorance, CORRECT THEM! Don’t be a silent bystander. Don’t be a closet All Live Matter person.
I love and appreciate my White Allies. They are unrelenting in their efforts to make Memphis equally as good for People of Color as it is for White People. They see Color in its most vivid form and they appreciate and adore all shades of the human rainbow.
Most importantly, they pour that same energy into their kids! Some may have explicit conversations about race with their kids, while others don’t. Nevertheless, they model for their children love, respect, and equity for all humans. This gives me hope for the future. Because if you were to ask my kids if anyone has ever treated them differently because of their skin color, they would say, “No. Why would anyone want to do that?” They have friends of many nationalities, religions, races, ethnic backgrounds, and socio-economic status. And not one of their friends or their friend’s parents ever treat them differently.
So, my White Allies, don’t stop, don’t settle, and keep that same energy! As Betsy G. from Birmingham Mom Collective said, “I am still in the beginning stages of becoming a true ally to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our country, but I do know this: Racism is not a battle for people of color to fight alone. We white moms must take up the fight for our brothers and sisters and teach our kids to do the same.”