Thoughts on Being an Ally


What if the parallel tracks we continue to deal with of Covid-19 and systemic racism which George Floyd’s death viscerally brought to light are not parallel but the same story, just written differently? 

I ran across a theory researchers are developing with regards to Covid-19: that it travels through the blood where it becomes systemic and produces different symptoms depending on the individual who contracts it. In this country, racism has been and continues to be systemic. It is now declared a health issue in and of itself. With the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Gardner, Philando Castille and so many others, I believe we have reached the point of no going back. 

So in ”this summer if our discontent” what do we know, what do we do? Covid-19 isn’t going away. The outpouring of ENOUGH! through protest against systemic racism, is not going away. So how can we, who are not black or brown, become allies? If we acknowledge we are part of the problem, we have begun the journey of being an ally. To quote Rose Cohn, “Being an ally is not a destination one reaches, it is a journey one is on.” 

Beginning steps: 

Read books that currently inform us about systemic racism such as: 

A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism & Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A Washington 

Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism & Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Honey Lopez 

How to be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo 

Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coater 

Born A Crime by Noah Trevor For Children and Families 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacequline Woodson 

I, Too, Am An American by Langston Hughes 

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Daniel Tatum (YA) 

I am Not Dying With You Tonight by Rose Cohen & Lucy Feldman 

Watch films: 

“I am Not Your Negro” Netflix 

“Teach Us All” Amazon Prime 

“Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise 

These are suggestions. There are so many more books, movies and podcasts to check out. 

Donate to organizations: 

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation* 

Consider Something Better Grants for black women led businesses 

Bail Project Equal Justice Fund Initiative NCCPA Legal Defense Fund 

*Black Lives Matter Foundation is not a legitimate part of Black Lives Matter 

Lastly, conversations with your family, children, friends, church groups and others keep the journey going. Reaching out in your community to be a part of strategic coalitions for solutions is another step. And if we do decide to take this step, it’s vital to listen first to those who have lived with systemic racism their whole lives rather than coming together with preconceived solutions. This too is part of the journey.