10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship

#1 Understanding what optical allyship is

“Allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally, it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress.” – Latham Thomas

#2 Check in on your black friends, family, partners, loved ones and colleagues

This is an emotional and traumatic time for the community, and you checking in means more than you can imagine. Ask how you can provide support.

#3 Be prepared to do the work

Understand that coming to terms with your own privilege will not be a pretty or fun experience. It is necessary to feel feelings of guilt, shame and anger throughout the process.

#4 Read up on antiracist works

It is not enough to dislike racism, you need to work towards antiracism. The following will be essential for your learning: Me And White Supremacy (Layla Saad) and How To Be An Antiracist (Ibram X. Kendi).

#5 Avoid sharing content which is traumatic

Whatever your intentions, it is vital to consider sharing videos of black people being abused and hurt can be both traumatic and triggering for many black people. Avoid sharing this content as it increases also to the dehumanization of black people.

#6 Donate to funds and support initiatives

Consider supporting platforms and initiatives which support black people, and sign petitions. Put your MONEY and PEN where your mouth is.

#7 Do not center this narrative around yourself

While it is nice that you can relate and empathize, now is not the time to insert your personal experiences into a narrative that isn’t about you. This is actually harmful and takes away from the severity of the situation. Leave your ego.

#8 Keep supporting after the outrage

It should not take an act of brutality or the virality of a situation for you to suddenly show your support. Keep supporting black media, black-owned businesses, charitable organizations and continuing your work after the attention has died down.

#9 Stop supporting organizations that promote hate

If you read pieces on media platforms that promote hate or fund supremacist and hateful organizations, you are contributing to the problem. Equally, stop supporting organizations that love ‘black culture’, but fail to speak up on issues affecting the black community.

#10 Start your long-term strategy

How are you making a long-term impact or affecting change? Can you mentor a young person? Can you become a trustee for an organization that supports the black community? Could you offer your time to volunteer? Make the effort to do something valuable over a long-term period.

Written (with a few link additions) by: Mireille Cassandra Harper