White People: Getting Educated & Donating Is Not Enough

I mentioned on my IG stories a week ago that I’d be sharing my resources with you to help white people become better allies and better anti-racist. Since we’ve been so inundated with the resources and we all know how and where to find them, I figured I’d take a different approach.

I want to talk about 2 things. The first thing I want to do is a quick mental health check in. These last couple of weeks have been one for the books, to say the least. I have felt everything from anger to heartbreak to hope and everything in between. So I wanted to check in with you all to see how you’re feeling. I want the comment section below to be a place where you can come to and express how you’ve been feeling internally. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, because it does take a physical toll on our bodies.

The second thing I want to talk about is my concern. My concern with white people. I have seen a lot of white people and non black people sharing their resources expressing their allyship and solidarity for black people. But the media is going to move on. People will go back to their every day lives. My concern is that, once the media moves on, white people and non black people will not continue to fight.

But here’s the thing. Over the last week I’ve been feeling like, yes, reading a book is great, educating yourselves is wonderful. It’s absolutely necessary. Donating is awesome. Did you donate once or did you sign up for the monthly donation? Because that was an option. I’m really glad people are taking the steps to educate themselves and to learn. I ordered a few books from the only Black owned Boston Bookstore (Frugal Bookstore – 57 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119) the other day because I just don’t know my history like I should. I’m not perfect. I’m also learning and will continue to learn.

However, this goes beyond reading a book and watching a documentary. This goes beyond giving a donation and posting on Instagram. This goes beyond having uncomfortable conversations with your white family at the dinner table. It goes beyond speaking up when a family member (or other) makes a racist comment. The uncomfortable conversations need to happen. It’s going to be uncomfortable. But guess what? Black people feel uncomfortable every single day for being black, every single day of their life. So now it’s our turn. It’s our turn to take that burden from them.

Reading a book and donating and watching a documentaries is just not enough. It’s not enough. It goes beyond all of what I just mentioned. This goes beyond the trend. This needs to be an everyday thing. And I’m worried. I’m worried that people are posting black boxes for blackout Tuesday and posting their solidarity. It’s trendy. Everybody is doing it. But I pray that this is something you all will take into your homes every single day.

If you’re thinking, “if it’s not enough, then what else are we supposed to do?” Here are some of the things you can start changing in your life, every single day.

  • What authors do you have in your bookcase? Do you have only white authors that write about white lives? Or are there black authors and books where you read about black lives?
  • What music do you have playing throughout your house? What kind of music are you playing for your kids? Do you have black singers, songwriters and producers play for your children?
  • What kind of content are you consuming on TV with your family?
  • Where are you vacationing? Are you vacationing in places where you only see people that look like you? Or are you going to the places where you’ll experience other cultures besides whiteness?
  • Where are you sending your children to school? Are you sending them to daycare, elementary, middle or high school where they’re only going to see white people and get educated by white people? Or are you making the decision, the conscious choice to send them to a diverse school? Putting your kids around other types of kids will help them become more well rounded people. You won’t have to teach them to be “woke” because they already will be at a young age.
  • Where are you buying your house? Are you looking at predominantly white neighborhoods or a diverse community?
  • Where are you going to college? Are you going to a predominately white institution or are you making the decision to choose to place while taking into consideration its diversity percentage?
  • You’re getting married. How many of your vendors are people of color?
  • The restaurants you choose to go to – what types of places are those? Are you going to places where you’ll see people who look like you or are you going to places with a diverse group of people?
  • If you are an educator-specifically history. It it your obligation to change what is taught in your classrooms. It is your job to teach your students about American History-not White American History. I grew up in the era where they taught MLK Jr. did his thing. Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat and now it’s all good! This is not American History.
  • Are you a DP (direct of photography?)? Well since I know you have the power to request an all female crew, then I know you have the power to request those crews to be filled with people of color.
  • Screen writers-let’s stop writing parts for the stereotypical black roles. Let’s just stop that.
  • If you are in a place, in your business, in your workplace, where the culture is White, it is your responsibility to say something. If you are in a place where you have control of hiring or some sort of say in anything at your workplace (which you do, because you’re white), it is your obligation to speak up.

These are the things you need to be thinking about and the choices you make. These are the thoughts that need to be engrained in your brain. This isn’t just a couple weeks of hoorah! I posted my post, I did my duty, I showed my solidarity, I did enough. It’s not enough.

This also isn’ the time to go out and get one token black friend, to say, “I have a black friend. I’m not racist.” This isn’t it. It’s time to think about who are the people you’re spending your time with? Are they all people that look like you? Or are you consciously making the choice to surround yourself with people that are different from you? Do that.

We can’t help how we grew up. Nor can we help what town we grew up in. We can’t help what school we went to. We can’t help how our parents raised us. But we have the control now! You can control the things that happen in your household! We can make the change. We can’t do anything about our past. If you have children, or planning on having children, these are the things you should be thinking about.

I am worried. I’ve been worried this entire week about how white people are going to continue on the fight. I was on a Zoom call with a couple friends the other night, doing a mental health check-in. And one of them women shared a story about a white male friend of hers. He posted the black box on BlackOutTuesday and then on Breonna Taylor’s birthday (three days later) posted something about fishing or something. And my friend responded “That’s great. But it’s Breonna Taylor’s birthday today.” And he responded back, essentially saying, that “I’m tired. I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t.” Wait. He’s tired? After, what, three days?! This is just legitimizing my fears. You have to continue to fight. It’s going to be hard. This is hard. Change is hard. But you can’t give up because it’s too hard.

So, make this an everyday thing. All of your decisions need to be made from this place. This isn’t just about posting a post on Instagram because it’s cute. This is a fight. This is a lifelong fight. And I pray that those of you who are not Black, will continue to fight the good fight. The time has come to sacrifice your uncomfortability. Please commit to every day to being active in this fight.