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9 Ways That White People Can Support The Fight Against Racism

After all, racism isn't just a problem for black people.

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1. Learn to listen when the topic is racism.

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When someone is talking about a situation they've lived through concerning racism, listen. And don't diminish what they've said by making a comparison to an experience that doesn't really compare. This is good advice for any situation, really, but especially important for matters of race.

2. But also remember to speak up, and have difficult conversations with other white people in your circles.

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Try asking open-ended questions about race and stereotypes. Share with others how you've learned to avoid certain racist expressions or ideas. But also admit that you don't have all the answers. When another white person talks about race, sincerely engage them. When you speak, you have more influence over other white people than when black people speak up about race.

3. Especially with your own family.

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At family get-togethers, conversations about race can be particularly complicated, but avoiding that one racist uncle isn't always your best option. Sometimes, all he might need to change his ideas is for you to present your point of view. Once again, you have more opportunities to be heard than a black person.

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4. Understand that not everything is all about you.

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It's not necessary to ALWAYS reiterate that you're not a racist, or that not every white person is racist. This is a larger issue called "structural racism," which has been perpetuated throughout history and is present in education, politics, public safety, culture, health, and also social relations.

One way to begin to understand this problem is by trying to understand white identity, and why many people who identify as white feel superior to black people. What does it mean to be white? How does being white feel? What privileges does it afford you?

This field of study is called "whiteness," and it begins to explore and answer some of these questions. So, when someone says that "white people are racist," they are referring to whiteness or white identity. It's not necessarily about you as an individual.

5. Give visibility to the work of black people.

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The main excuse that many people give when they're confronted about the absence of black people in certain spaces is that, other than white people, there are no options for filling positions within that space.

But black people are producing and doing things in all areas, and they're often overlooked or forgotten because they don't receive the same attention as white people. That's why, every chance you get, you should share, recommend, and support of the work of black professionals.

6. Participate effectively.

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There are many anti-racist movements in a variety of areas that need structure and support to fulfill their agendas. You don't need to be a hero of the cause, but it helps just to get involved and take part.

Consider volunteering at human rights institutions. Offer your skills, whatever they may be, to a local organization. If your abilities can be taught to other people, put on workshops so that others can learn from you easily and affordably. Even space is a commodity, so if you've got a place where people can organize and hold meetings, offer it up. Help out in any way you can.

7. Don't treat your black friends like Wikipedia.

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Just because a black person is engaged and vocal about race doesn't mean that they're obligated to give you a lesson on the topic whenever you want. Don't try to force conversations when they're not appropriate, like at a party, for instance. Black people are people and sometimes they just want to enjoy themselves.

Study on your own time, and do a little research before you turn all your black acquaintances into your own personal racial Wikipedia.

8. Intervene whenever you witness a racist situation.

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When you see someone spouting racist insults at someone, get in the middle of it. The offending party is probably going to be more open to hearing from someone similar to themselves. If you can't do that, record it all on your phone so that the victim has some proof should they decide to report the aggressor.

Another thing you can do is act as a witness. Once again, you're more likely to be believed if you're white.

9. Don't expect to be rewarded for not being racist.

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Don't expect eternal gratitude from black people for not being racist, or even for participating in causes against racism. It's not exceptional, it's an obligation.

This post was translated from Portuguese.

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