Every time these things happen, many of us wonder what we can support outside of the sad online post of African-American friends – and in a truly meaningful way.
Being an ally – a person who is not a member of a particular marginalized group but wants to help end the oppression of marginalized people – is a constant process. Friendships can mean different things to different people and it’s hard to know where to start.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some ways in which you can support marginalized populations.
Offer support and comfort.
Check out your friends who don’t check after a high-profile tragedy or event has occurred. Make sure you are there for them in any way they need.
Educate yourself and others
Do your research.
Do what you can to educate yourself before asking others to explain things to you. You have a lot of resources online. Google is your friend.
Ask questions when needed.
We’re all learning, and it’s okay to ask questions.
Remember who you are asking, he said Author Courtney Ariel
. Don’t lean too much on people of color or other marginalized groups to be your “expert”.
If the person you are asking already has a strong relationship with you, this is best. And be prepared to admit that some people can’t discuss things with you.
Brush on history.
Ask “How can such a thing happen?” When another police encounter becomes deadly, it can appear as deaf-mute to many communities who have long been subjected to harassment, Ariel writes
. Make sure you increase the speed before you weigh yourself.
Influence people in your own group.
Talk to your own people, especially those who share the same identity as you, wrote Jamie Utt Everyday feminism
. Educate your friends and family about how bullying affects marginalized groups. Make them accountable for their words and actions as well as the role they can play in that system.
Teach your kids.
It’s never too early. Talk openly with your kids about racism and other forms of discrimination. Author Jennifer Harvey says don’t teach them to be “colorblind”. Let them know that it is important to notice the differences and teach them to stand up for others.
Ownership until your mistake.
Friendship is a process. By the way, make sure you do or say the wrong thing right now. Don’t get defensive. Take responsibility for sleepups. And go further.
Acknowledge your rights.
An important part of being an ally is recognizing the advantages and strengths you have in your society because of the identity you were born with, says Organizational Change Consultant Frances Kendall
. Be self-aware and be willing to go against others who share your benefits.
Racism and other forms of oppression are everywhere, even if you do not experience them yourself. Train yourself to notice these on a personal and institutional level, he said Author and activist Paul Kiwel
. Make notes about what is being said (and what is not) and who is (and who is not). Acknowledge how prejudice, discrimination and oppression are being denied, minimized or justified.
Learn to talk less.
It’s not about you, you don’t have to comment on every situation from your own point of view, or go out of your way to prove how conscious or educated you are, Says Ariel
. Improve them by not speaking on behalf of others. Keep the microphone for others to change.
Understand the experience of others.
Instead of presenting your own thoughts, listen when marginalized people tell you about their experiences, frustrations, and emotions. Sit down for a while.
Create a network.
You cannot do this alone. Look for other allies who can work with you and hold each other accountable. Partners with companies that do the same thing as you. Leaders who support people of color.
Use your right to help others.
It can be scary but risky, Kiwel writes
. Call for injustice or discrimination when you see it. Intervene if you see examples of situations that appear racist or unsafe.
Use 5D of bystander intervention
. These include non-escalation of the situation, calling on others for help, contacting the person involved, talking and documenting what is happening.
Know your rights when you videotape.
You The constitution allowed the police to film
, Unless you are interfering with their activities. Keep at a safe distance. Identify or mark symbols that help identify location.
Talk to those in power about your concerns.
Stand in solidarity.
March with people from marginalized parties in protest and demonstration.
Donate your time and money.
It can take many forms, Says Ariel
. Offer to help people who may benefit from your skills. Help a family pay their bills. Identify organizations whose goals align with your goals and give what you can.
Make sure you are registered
. And do it in every election, not just the big ones.
CNN’s AJ Willingham contributed to this report.