Music & Culture

How Non-Black People of Color Can Be Better Allies

Alright, non-Black people of color (NBPOC) — we need to have a talk. 

We can be anti-Black too. In fact, it’s probably more common in our communities than we realize, or we would like to admit. 

It’s easy to disassociate ourselves from racism and anti-Blackness, but the fact of the matter is, it’s not just a “white people” issue. It’s an us issue, too. 

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and your actions shouldn’t stop here. But if you’re wondering how to be a better ally as a NBPOC, here are some good starting points. 

(AUTHOR’S NOTE: You WILL be uncomfortable doing a lot of these things. That’s the point. No change has ever been made by staying comfortable. You WILL also get things wrong. That’s okay, and often expected. The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes and get better.) 

Protest — but do it right

Going out and protesting is very important right now, but it’s also very important to remember that our job as NBPOC is to act as support, and not instigate or lead anything. We’re attending a protest about Black people, for Black people. It is imperative that we are willing to follow and listen to Black leadership at these events. 

Additionally, if you see fellow NBPOC at a protest who are acting out of line (trying to lead chants, instigate police, etc.) it’s our job to call them in and stop them. 

Open your wallet 

This is probably the easiest thing we can do that still has a measurable impact. We all need to be showing financial support, whether it’s donating to bail funds, pro-Black charities and organizations, or supporting Black-owned businesses (or doing all of those things). It doesn’t feel as cool, but the reality is that money does, indeed, make the world go ’round. 

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a quick list of resources to help you redirect your money: 

Also, please remember that Google is free! You can search for Black-owned restaurants in your area, Black-owned businesses of all kinds, and pro-Black charities and organizations that are local to you, all with a few keystrokes. 

Call out anti-Blackness in your community…

We all know them. People who use the N-word, who believe in the model minority myth, or would 100% pull an “Amy Cooper.” It is our responsibility to call out this behavior in our communities, especially since so many of our communities love to engage with (and to be perfectly frank — steal from) Black culture. 

… and then take on the burden of educating your community (and yes, that means your family, too.) 

As an extension of the last point, it’s not enough to just call out behaviors, we also have to actively educate our communities (including our parents and families — yes I know) about how they are actively, and subconsciously anti-Black. While we won’t change everyone’s mind, it is important to educate as many people as possible. We cannot simply cut these people out of our lives, no matter how easy it might be to do so. Though it definitely seems scary at first, it gets much easier over time to confront and educate people. Practice makes perfect! 

Ready to get started? Here are some resources to help you better educate your community and family:

Keep educating yourself

Understand that you will never stop learning. You’re going to be learning and unlearning toxic behaviors until the day you die. But that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re always willing to sit down, shut up, listen, and keep learning. Additionally, know that it’s your job to actively seek out these resources, and to not always rely on your Black friends to “teach” you. It is not their job to make you a better person. 

The following are great places to start: 

Oh, and one last thing. 

#BlackLivesMatter.

Featured Image: Unsplash (Mike Von)