Monday, February 05, 2007

what we can do as white allies

Because I'm just beginning my journey of anti-racist parenting and because my child is still so young (17-months), my musings have had to do with mostly learning about racism and working out some issues inside myself. That is something I will continue to do, but I appreciate Vikki's push for practical suggestions.

I haven't yet read the book How White People Can Work for Racial Justice by Paul Kivel, but it looks great! Have any of you read it? A website I found offers some good advice reprinted from this book, if not for parenting, for us adults to put/continue putting into action. Here it is. (It's cool to notice that our group on this blog is already doing a couple of the things from the list :) What are your reactions when you read this?

What People of Color Want from White Allies (an excerpt, page 96)

What kind of active support does a strong white ally provide? People of color that I (Paul Kivel) have talked with over the years have been remarkably consistent in describing the kinds of support they need from white allies. The following list is compiled from their statements at workshops I have facilitated. The focus here is on personal qualities and interpersonal relationships. More active interventions are discussed in the next part of the book.

What People of Color Want from White Allies
"Respect us"
"Find out about us"
"Don't take over"
"Provide information"
"Take risks"
"Don't take it personally"
"Teach your children about racism"
"Speak up"
"Don't be scared by my anger"
"Listen to us"
"Don't make assumptions"
"Stand by my side"
"Don't assume you know what's best for me"
"Make mistakes"
"Talk to other white people"
"Interrupt jokes and comments"
"Don't ask me to speak for my people"
"Your body on the line"

I guess some of the things that come up for me when reading this are: "What would it take for me to speak up more? What would it take for me to trust my thinking on this issue?", "What does committment to anti-racism look like? Does it mean 'my body on the line', and if so, am I willing to go there?"

1 comment:

Susan said...

I love the work you're doing on this blog and will try and come by and post some more. I have been thinking alot about what the ties are between antiracism/working against white privilege and the learning I am doing in bodywork. I am looking for practical ties - and yes, I promise to send a blog with some more practical pieces in it soon.rs0911