Engaging with the Movement as an Ally
As activist Angela Davis put it, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist; we must be anti-racist.” Anti-racism is the active effort to fight against racism by becoming conscious of race and racism in our everyday lives. This can range from acknowledging and interrupting our own racist thoughts to countering interpersonal racial dialogue to actively fighting for institutional reform. However, while it is important to be actively anti-racist, there is a difference between action that makes positive steps towards the end of the struggle and action that is simply performative and that is a means of virtue signaling.
Here is a list of ways to productively combat racism in conversation. We have taken these directly from the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Seek clarity: “Tell me more about __________.”
- Offer an alternative perspective: “Have you ever considered __________.”
- Speak your truth: “I don’t see it the way you do. I see it as __________.”
- Find common ground: “We don’t agree on __________ but we can agree on __________.”
- Give yourself the time and space you need: “Could we revisit the conversation about __________ tomorrow.”
- Set boundaries. “Please do not say __________ again to me or around me.”
Because it can be difficult to know exactly what to do, amidst the chaos of social media posts each providing different perspectives, we have broken it down for you. Here are resources, listed by category of what you can do.
Change your everyday actions
Here is a list of articles, compiled from a lot of different sources of reading material (again, not our original finds, but from other people, mostly from this really helpful document made by Tatum Dorrell, Matt Hemdon, and Jourdan Dorrell). Again, we are just sharing what was most helpful to us.
- “Being Anti-racist” so you can learn what being anti-racist looks like.
- “75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice” so you can take action in a variety of forms.
- “Discourse and Debate: Is performative activism inherently bad?”
- “In Defense of Looting” to show a variety of perspectives on an issue that is widely accepted as black and white.
- “How White People Can Hold Each Other Accountable to Stop Institutional Racism”
- “20 Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now”
- “The Case for Delegitimizing the Police“ to improve literacy about another controversial perspective.
- “Curriculum for Non-Black Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism”
Here is a list of books that you can read over the summer. Many are sold out, but you can read them online or you can reach out to us (the Editors-in-Chief of the Spokesman) and we can help you find ways to get your hands on them. Again, almost all these books along with many more are on this list, made by Tatum Dorrell, Matt Hemdon, and Jourdan Dorrell.
- How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- Stamped from the Beginning, also by Ibram X. Kendi
- Black Against Empire by Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin Jr.
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
Just a few tips if you don’t want to read another article:
- Acknowledge your privilege. This means more than saying “Okay, I understand racism exists, but I’m not racist.” Racism exists in every part of our lives and whether or not you think you’re racist, you have benefited from it. Remember that.
- Google your questions or ask non-black people who you think might know the answers! It is not the job of other black students to educate you; it’s your job to educate yourself.
- Do not dismiss microaggressions. Anything from “can I touch your hair” to “well, I don’t want to go to that part of town… it’s not safe, because… you know,” builds up in people’s minds and not just in black people’s! You might be speaking to a future cop or someone who might one day be in a position of power, and microaggressions lead to stereotypes that lead to profiling. It might be difficult not to laugh uncomfortably, but simply saying, “Sorry, I don’t agree” makes all the difference.
- Listen, don’t tell. If you are not black, you have no place telling a black person how they can or should feel right now. And, it is your job and responsibility to listen when your black friends, family, and peers tell you that something you’re doing isn’t right. Even if you don’t understand why something is offensive, it can still be racist, wrong, or harmful.
We’ve also compiled a list of black-owned businesses that you can support:
- Beauty Brands: Here is a list of 130 black-owned beauty brands, along with links to business pages, animal testing status, and shipping locations (courtesy of @ReemKenza)
- Clothing, Accessories, and More Beauty Brands: Here is a list of 68 black-owned fashion + beauty brands (courtesy of Akili King and Naomi Elizee for Vogue)
- Fitness clothing brands: Here is a list of 10 black-owned fitness brands (courtesy of Travel Noire)
- Food brands: Here is a list of 50+ black-owned food brands (courtesy of Meghan de Maria for Eat This, Not That!)
- House décor brands: Here is a list of 10 black-owned home brands (courtesy of Lauren Wicks for Veranda)
- If you’re looking for black-owned stores in the NJ area, use these three resources:
- If you want to support businesses close to PDS itself, Arlee’s Raw Blends in Princeton and The Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville are both black-owned as well.
Use Social Media to Make Change
- If you have a black screen up, delete it. While it’s important that we all do what we can, there are much more substantive ways you can help. Black screens clog up people’s feeds when they could instead be seeing anything happening on the ground and in protests.
- Show, through research or otherwise, that you are willing to take the time and energy to support this movement.
- Read the room. Now is not the time to post that you miss your friends or that you hate quarantine. It’s also insensitive (not to mention racist) to even suggest that looting Target is a bigger problem than police brutality. It’s completely understandable if you think looting is a legitimate issue, but again: read the room. People are sacrificing their lives for this. Now is not the time.
- Follow and support black activists on Instagram, specifically ones that are sharing resources to help you stay engaged, even after this movement is no longer “trendy.” Here are some that we like:
- Sign, Email and Call: There are many petitions you can sign and people you can email and call on this website. It walks you through every step of the process and helps you to email any people necessary in less than five minutes with a custom template. This website makes it so so easy to take action, which is great because these calls and these petitions make up a lot of the efforts that provoke change.
- More Petitions: Here is another list, from the same resource as before for the books and articles, of other organizations that are offering petitions at this time.
- Donate: If you have the money, there are numerous black-run organizations to donate to, some of which I’ve mentioned below. Do not, however, donate to change.org or Shaun King, due to questions about how these sources allocate their funds. Their petitions and information are all reliable, but the fundraising part might not be.
- Bail Funds! These, in essence, are funds for those unfairly arrested, during protests or otherwise, to allow them to pay bail and leave jail before their hearings. Here is a list sent to us by senior Zoe Rivera, which also includes black-owned businesses that have been damaged. Here is another directory of bail funds in every state.
- Black People’s Justice Fund, Reclaim the Block, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Equal Justice Initiative are four really important organizations during this time. Here is the resource through which we found many of these (it includes a lot more!).
- Donate without money: If you don’t have the money, you can still donate! Watch this ad-filled video (which also plays music from black creators!). All profits will go to bail funds, advocacy, and family funerals, according to the description. It also links more petitions for you to sign. Even if you don’t have time to watch the entire video, you can always mute it and have it play silently in the background while you do other work; the video will still make money from ads if it is muted. For example, you can play the muted video on a loop while you sleep.
- Vote: One of the biggest differences we can make is by electing individuals that believe in this cause and that have taken action/implemented legislation/called for changes to policies that support the Black Lives Matter movement. Educate yourself on what your local representatives are fighting for and make a decision on where to place your vote.
- But don’t do it for the photo-op. No one needs to know that you’re there; that’s not what this is about. Of course, advertise protests on your socials to increase turnout, and if you see a really powerful moment that has the power to move people, then feel free to share. But definitely don’t go just so it looks like you’re engaged, especially if you’re not taking action separately.
- If you do take photos, avoid taking any of peoples’ faces, and if you can’t do that, blur the faces out before sharing your photos. If the police get violent, it is essential you don’t risk the exposure of others’ identities.
- Here are some protests for you to check out if you get the chance. You can also use Facebook as a resource to find events to attend, both virtually and in person. Make sure to social distance if you can though!
- Protests in New Jersey:
- A former Princeton High School student has organized a peaceful demonstration for the Black Lives Matter movement. Hinds Plaza, Princeton Public Library (1 p.m., Saturday, June 6)
- Demonstration: City Hall in Trenton (1 p.m. Saturday, June 6)
- Protest: Union, NJ 07083 (2 p.m. Friday, June 5)
- Protest: Newark, NJ (time unconfirmed, Friday, June 5)
- Protest: Perth Amboy (2 p.m., Friday, June 5, specific location coming soon)
- Protest: Montclair at Nishuane Park (protest will start a 12 p. m, people can gather at 11 p. m, Saturday, June 6)
- Protest: Asbury Park 4 p.m to 8 p.m. Friday, June 5
- If you are unable to protest for any number of reasons there are several other ways you can show your support. For example: put signs in your windows and home or car for the movement, attend virtual protests and rallies, donate masks or supplies to those who can attend, participate in virtual town council meetings.