In these hard, yet impactful times, we want to be an ally. But we believe being an ally is different than simply striving not to be racist.
Here are Jason Franklin’s thoughts on what we can do to try to be an ally during this time:
Listen more and talk less. Really listen.
To us, that means educating ourselves about systemic racism in this country. Several books have been recommended to us, including:
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me
Claudia Rankine’s Citizen
Black Lives Matter.
When I would hear this in the past, I would often think to myself, “all lives matter.” And, of course, that’s true. We are all children of God. But this internal dialogue I had with myself missed the point.
This cartoon by Kris Straub resonated with me:
If a house is burning down, you’re obviously going to focus on putting out the fire instead of watering a house that’s just fine. In this analogy, black lives are the burning house. While all houses matter, the one burning down is the bigger immediate problem and needs to be the focus.
I know I can be better. And I know I can do more.
Right now, I’m listening, learning and soul searching.
I hope we all do the same.
We are actively looking to grow towards being better for our black peers and fight against racism.
Here are 10 steps we can each take to step out of the shadows of silence:
1) Learn about other people and their culture but go beyond foods and festivals.
2) Explore the unfamiliar. Put yourself in situations where you are in the visible minority.
3) Be a proactive parent. Talk to your children candidly about race.
4) Don’t tell or laugh at stereotypical jokes.
5) Think before you speak. Words can hurt whether you mean them to or not.
6) Be a role model and help educate others regarding your own experiences.
7) Don’t make assumptions because they are usually wrong and stereotypes are destructive.
8) Consider how race and racism impact your life and those around you.
9) Don’t let others get away with biased language or behavior- speak up and out.
10) Take a position against hate and take a Stand Against Racism.