How White Folks Can Be Better Allies

Be the best ally you can be.

Creating real change and equity in society starts with white people owning their privilege and becoming true allies in the fight for social justice. University Professor of Education and author of Witnessing Whiteness, Shelly Tochluk, shows us what this looks like and what concrete actions need to take place in order for this to happen.

Build our listening skills: 

To be an ally, it’s important to build your listening skills- learn to see past the headline, digging deeper to understand while keeping an open mind. “Both/And Thinking”, means that one thing can be true and not true for you all at the same time. It’s all about expanding your understanding and listening to a truth that you many not believe or understand but must accept as a truth.

Build our knowledge: 

Building our knowledge is crucial, assume that there is a deeper analysis and with this seek out information from leading voices in a movement. This helps to make connections and understand its historical relationship and theoretical basis.

With this it’s important to make the acknowledgment that racism exists, and is very deep. We are swimming in the waters that have been permeated by racism. Let your defensiveness fall away and accept that conditioning exists and these are the societal structures that we put in place a long time ago.

Build our capacity: 

As a white person do not stay engaged with strictly only other white people in discussions of race, allow people of colour into the conversations. Build your capacity of knowledge. Conflict avoidance is apparent in the white community, if you spark an emotional response from a person of colour do not jump to the immediate defensive. Remember that racial history is about repeated trauma.

Build community:  

Get active in your own community by joining in local collective work to make an impact. Personal grounding is very important as it’s how we can stay emotionally balanced. Our entire history of racism has been one of trauma and dehumanizing.