Shut Up, Listen, Support & Donate

by Annette Storckman


From one white person to another….


A lot of you are shocked (or perhaps, newly radicalized) by the recent protests that have erupted all over the United States. Maybe you broadly knew about #BlackLivesMatter, maybe you shrugged it off as a movement or didn’t pay much attention to it, but now — for some reason — the curtain has been fully pulled back for you about the extent to which the Black community suffers daily from police brutality and institutionalized racism, and you want to help.

I know you want to help — it’s wonderful you want to help. But when you go to help you have to remember, this is not about you. Which is why the best thing you can do is shut up, listen, amplify/support, and donate.



1) SHUT UP


To clarify up front: Shutting up is not staying silent.

Shutting up means not centering yourself in the narrative. Shutting up means questioning

whether something needs to be said by you as a person of privilege in that moment. Shutting up is knowing there are no white saviors and you are certainly not one of them.

So before you decide to grace everyone with your opinion, or talk about how you are responsible and you are, “so, so sorry” (looking at you white celebrities), shut up and think about it for a second. Think about whether what you are saying is helpful to the situation, or if it’s just taking the spotlight from people of color.

When you do speak up, you should be talking to your white friends and your white family because it’s on you to educate them. It’s not the task of BIPOC to correct language or educate you about their struggles. They have enough to worry about besides you. If you have a questions, I suggest googling it. I can guarantee that someone has written a thoughtful piece about it and you can learn without putting labor on your friends.


2) LISTEN


Before you come to any conclusions, you must, must, must listen to what people of color are saying. Really listen to them. Don’t get defensive — your knee-jerk reactions about being a good white person are not helpful. Listen to them and do some introspection. If you don’t, you will say something ignorant and likely hurtful, I know I certainly have. Every single white person has. It’s the nature of our status, our safety, our systematic privilege. We have blind spots. So you must accept the inevitability that, no matter how good your intentions are, you will f*ck up.

But if there is one thing I have learned as a white person who strives to be actively anti-racist, the key is to listen, learn, adjust, and grow; to not be defensive or make your mistake about the person correcting you. And that requires the decision to not be so fragile.

Listening also requires you diversify your feed. You can’t ask your one black friend what’s going on. See above: they have enough to worry about without you putting the burden of education on them.

Even if you live in a homogenous community, or have mostly white friends, the beauty of the internet is you can follow people of color on social media! I recommend you search through people’s retweets and reposts, but here is a list of accounts to start:

  • @BreeNewsome (Twitter)

  • @myishathill (Instagram)

  • @EbonyJanice (Instagram)

  • @nowhitesaviors (Twitter)

  • @rachel.cargle (Instagram)

If you’re not on social media, or you want to do more, here are a list of books to read:

Finally, if you are out protesting LISTEN to the protest leaders. If you as a white person step out of line, you will not be punished or blamed for the action. They will.

3) AMPLIFY AND SUPPORT

  • Amplify voices of color.

  • Amplify voices of color.

  • Amplify voices of color.

  • Amplify voices of color.

There is nothing you can say about the situation that a person of color has not said best. Share their posts, protect them at protests, use your white privilege to make people listen to them. That is far and away one of the most helpful things you can do. You are not the person speaking into the megaphone, you are the megaphone.

4) DONATE


Donate your money to bail funds and gofundme’s for legal fees. Donate your money to the people on the ground.

As I write this, I have been in a peaceful, remote upstate New York town where there was a protest of maybe 100 people and no violence from the police. All this week I have been donating and it feels like I’m doing nothing as I sit in the quiet and comfort of this little house. But I have to know that my money will help get a protestor out of jail who is likely being detained without habeas corpus, and that is huge.

Donate. It’s more helpful than you think

Here is a list of places you can start giving money to:

Remember, the most important thing you can do right now is use your privilege to further the cause. Your outrage cannot die out. You cannot only be moved to action by the deaths of BIPOC, you must be moved by inequity.

The fight doesn’t stop here — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Beyond these protests, start thinking about how you are going to help people of color in your board rooms and your creative teams, and what are you going to do to further the cause of equity and pursuing anti-racism.

Don’t forget to still wash your hands.

Listen to the "What Do I Do?" Podcast today!


What Do I Do? is a podcast and blog about current events for folx who want to get involved. The goal of “What Do I Do?” is to use levity and brevity to identify approachable ways for folx to take action during a time where the world’s issues are very overwhelming. We talk about one thing happening in the world (social issues, politics, current events) and finish by identifying specific action steps a person can use to get involved whether they are physical, financial, emotional, or other.

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