While donations, petitions, and social media challenges are generally well-intended and positive things, they are short term in nature. In practice, however, this won’t solve the underlying issues.
Rather, now’s an important time to reflect on our own behaviours, beliefs, and biases (whatever they may be) and spark dialogue amongst our communities of POC and non-POC.
The rise of xenophobia, nationalism, pc culture etc. has fostered an environment where honest conversations are at times scary and hard to come by. So creating spaces where we feel comfortable to openly dissect and debate what’s happening is important.
Contrary to what our feeds may suggest, not everyone is bought into this movement and it’s equally important to engage those in the conversation. It’s easy to feel pressure to show and/or signal support as to not be labelled silent, uneducated, or racist.
But before engaging in external-facing support initiatives, it’s critical to reflect on our own opinions first. The following is a list of questions to ask ourselves and others as a possible starting point:
- Why do you think these uprisings are taking place? What are some of the factors? Do you think they are warranted? Ideally, what role do you see police playing in society?
- How do you think race, socioeconomic background, religion, and gender play a role in your opinions and values? What exposure did you have to POC growing up?
- If you were in an inter-racial relationship and brought your partner to meet your family, would they be accepting? What do you think the broader barriers to your relationship would be?
- (Non-POC) Have you used the n-word before, in public or private? When reciting lyrics or drunk? Do you feel you should be allowed to? Why or why not?
- What is the representation of POC like at your school or work? If lacking, why do you think that is? Is the institution/company making efforts to support them and foster inclusive environments? If so, how?
- If you run a club or campus group, do you have POC involved in it? Did any apply to join in the first place? Are you tracking engagement? Do you believe in diversity quotas?
- Have you had these conversations before? With whom? What are your fears in engaging in discussions like this?
No one is perfect. And everyone wants their opinions heard and experiences validated. But some groups have had theirs more represented than others. It is crucial to have these conversations and listen respectfully to others’ experiences — especially POC. This is the first step in creating more constructive and less polarizing communities. Because true allyship can only start from there.
If you have other helpful discussion points or want to chat further feel free to message me.