When it comes down to supporting social issues there’s ways to do it and ways NOT to do it. First off…what is an ally? An ally is described as “combine or unite a resource or commodity with (another) for mutual benefit” and sadly this is hard to achieve. For those who are curious…”How can I be an ally the right way?” and that is a hard question. Here are 3 ways to be an Ally for black issues in your day to day life.
- Let black people lead
When issues of racism, discrimination, wealth inequality and lack of opportunity, black people face a lot of issues in North America. We are not the model minority and receive racism from other minorities. But one of the most sickening things is watching a non-black person (usually white) lead a black organization or initiative. One easy example is when Howard University (a historically black college or university) decided to hire Rin-Rin Yu to be the editor in chief for their school newspaper. Ms. Yu is Asian and qualified but a black person would be better suited for this leadership role because he/she relates to the black experience at this HBCU. If you want to be a good ally, put your ego aside and let black people lead.
2. Start the change with your own people
It’s thanksgiving and your drunk white uncle makes a joke about niggers. What do you do? Do you let it slide and keep enjoying the Turkey? Or do you stand up to your own people and tell him how ignorant and racist he is? This is what an Ally should do…stand up to your uncle because that is what you believe in. What is the point of retweets, likes and shares on social media if you are not willing to put your words in action? Real change starts internally but once you change, the world around you changes. The way you interact changes and that can change the world. If you want to be a true ally to black people and their issues, you must start the change with your own people.
3. Speak with your wallet
We are in a capitalist society and we vote with our wallet. If it makes dollars it makes sense and what makes sense is to support black issues with your wallet. Speak up with your money. An ally understands that they can support with money to organizers, activists and companies that are actively helping black people. An ally understands that poverty plagues the black community, so donating and supporting goes further than you would expect. Speaking with your wallet does not mean supporting blindly (Dr. Umar Johnson). Nobody should do that. Speaking with your wallet means supporting with knowledge and wisdom. A true ally will vote with his/her wallet and will not hesitate.