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Check your privilege: How to approach BLM if you’re not Black

One way to support Black Lives Matter if you’re not Black is to be an ally. However, being an ally isn’t as simple as retweeting BLM posts or asking your Black friends if they are okay.

If you are white, it is no secret you were born with privilege. If you want to genuinely support BLM, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do. Here’s a guide on how to show your solidarity with the Black community.

A statement isn’t enough; you have to put in the work

Many brands like Pretty Little Thing have published statements regarding Black Lives Matter. However, Black Twitter wasn’t very satisfied. Making a statement doesn’t equal action so they both must coincide.

Two weeks later, PLT posted a pledge to “do better” by stating they will create a diversity board and “create a plan for change.” While creating a diversity board is a step, the question about the recruiting process comes into play.

Will they just hire any Black person to add color to the team? Or will they carefully select someone who can uphold Black representation and be effective?

The point is, doing the work is more than just a plan. It looks more like having an honest representation of Black people, donating to BLM-related causes, using your privilege to help others who don’t have the same opportunities.

Influencer Jackie Aina also shared some thoughts on Pretty Little Thing, Fashion Nova, and Missguided’s approach to standing up for the Black community:

Check your family members/friends

If you’re going to defend Black people in public, do so in private. Failing to check those with racist beliefs is just as bad as being racist.

You don’t have to approach the conversation angrily. Instead, do your research so you can educate.

Instagram user @courtneyahndesign created a lovely guide to white privilege which you can use for points in your approach:


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I’ve had this series idea in my mind for quite a while now…so here it is! As a Korean-American, I can’t speak to the unique experiences of other marginalized groups in the US, but as a fellow minority I empathize with your hardships, acknowledge your struggles, and will continue to amplify the voices of all POC 💕 UPDATE: turning off comments as the amount of conversation here is blowing up my alerts and the amount of mental effort required to keep up with everything has been very straining, as well as the conversation here is quickly turning aggressive and derisive for everyone. Please DM me if you have specific concerns/questions about the series(but please do a google search first)! Please see my repost rules highlight before sharing ✌️ 〰️ #blackhistorymonth #whiteprivilege #privilege #checkyourprivilege #racialequality #illo #illustration #digitalillustration #procreate #illustrator #illustratorsoninstagram #draweveryday #sketchbook #digitalart #drawingoftheday #ladieswhodraw #womenwhodraw #pdxillustrators #illustratorsoninstagram #womensupportingwomen #feminist #designer #womanownedbusiness #portlandartist #womenofillustration #femaleillustrator #femaleartist #womanartist #femaleartists #womenartists

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Slide three notes white people benefit from the oppression of Black people and other groups of color. If you did or didn’t know that, it is important to fully understand it. Next time you see a lack of Black or POC representation in your job, call it out. Help put a Black person on!

Not all chants are for you

White folks, thank you for supporting the Black community at protests.

Before you create that poster or follow along with the chants, realize that not all of them are for you.

It isn’t appropriate to say, “I can’t breathe”, because you’ve most likely haven’t been in that situation or won’t experience it. Black people are subject to get stopped and harassed by the police more than a white person would. Therefore, leave this to the Black community because their skin complexion is already a target.

George Floyd couldn’t breathe on May 25, 2020, and Eric Garner couldn’t on July 27, 2014. There is a long list of Black people that couldn’t breathe, either, in the hands of police officers.

Don’t ask a Black person if they’re “okay.” Of course, they’re not!

Checking in on your Black counterparts is nice and all, but it doesn’t do anything. The Black community has been oppressed for over four hundred years and they are still dealing with the effects today. Instead, give them their space and #PullUpOrShutUp.

The hashtag and challenge were created by beauty CEO Sharon Chuter. Pull Up Or Shut Up is a direct action movement whose goal is to fight for economic opportunities for Black people.

The Instagram account, @pullupforchange, calls on big brands like Adidas to show their support and numbers on how they are contributing to the financial wellness of Black people:

By showing up for the cause, you are saying your support for Black lives goes beyond the internet.

Understand your privilege and know when it’s time to stay shut

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White privilege doesn’t need to be explained here because we all know what that looks like.

It looks like being able to go for a jog without getting killed, serving a significantly lower amount of time for a crime than a Black person would, and seeing people that look like you at work.

When Black people are expressing their feelings about how they are being treated, don’t include your two cents about your own experiences. Everyone measures pain differently, but no pain relates to what Black people have undergone throughout history.

Once again: acknowledge your privilege and don’t compare.