Non-Black Allies, This Is Not Your Time to Shine. This Is My Life.
A message for everyone jumping on the allyship bandwagon
A message for new non-Black “allies”:
I appreciate your signs and your presence at rallies.
I appreciate you taking an active part in using your privilege to help fix a system designed to oppress my people.
I appreciate you speaking out to your friends, families, and communities and calling out racism when you see it in action.
But I do have one question for you: Is this year of heightened awareness around anti-Black racism merely a moment that allows you to march, speak on forums, and post pictures with Black hashtags to highlight your own “noble” actions? Or are they coming from a place of genuine, ongoing concern for the liberation of Black people?
Before anyone says, “How dare she question my motives!” let me explain.
For months, I have seen non-Black people I know personally speaking about issues I have never previously heard them mention even in passing. These people, now regarded as “allies,” are the same individuals who barely acknowledged my presence before May 25, 2020. And it’s a bit difficult to now watch them use Black trauma to further their credibility when it comes to race.
I understand that the past months have served as an “awakening” of sorts for White and non-Black people. Systemic racism and oppression is a lot to unpack for anyone who never had to address it head-on. I’m grateful for people with genuine concern for the Black community who also take it a step further by practicing what they preach. And to those who acknowledge allyship as a lifetime commitment that should continue long after talking about race ceases to be en vogue, I welcome you.
Please do not continue this abuse by using us to soothe your guilt, to create opportunities for you to receive accolades in the workplace, or to become poster-children for combating an injustice that wasn’t deserving of your attention just a few months ago.