How to be a better ally text

i want to continue this series on trying to figure out as white people, how we can be better allies to our friends of colour and i guess people of colour in general. i would LOVE to have more of you contributing pieces to this series, so if you have an idea please get hold of me.

This is similar to the ‘Just say No’ post i did a while back, but i also want to take it a little bit further.

For the last month or so, i have been writing a status per day on Facebook that reads a little something like this:

Today i commit myself again to get involved when i see incidents of racism in front of me whether on the screen or in word or action around me. #NoOnMyWatch

There are a number of reasons for these posts:

[1] To remind me of the commitment i have made: It is easy to commit yourself to something and then ten months down the line [or three days] that thing happens and because the commitment was made a while back, it is not as fresh in your mind and so the movement to action might be a bit slow as well. By consciously typing out a new statement each day i am recommitting myself to that same thing and also reminding me and keeping it fresh which also helps me to be more focused and intentional in looking out for the more subtle forms of racism that might sneak into my day.

[2] It is meant as a call to arms – i would love to see #NotOnMyWatch become a movement for white South Africans in terms of race stuff but even all South Africans when it comes to matters of justice which affect everyone. The more of us who declare that and then follow it up with action when necessary, the stronger the movement becomes. i am hoping that by seeing it in front of their faces every day my friends and followers will either get sick of it and unfriend/unfollow me [good riddance] or more importantly commit themselves to the same thing and be reminded again that for this day they need to be on the look out for that.

[3] The ants outnumber the crickets. This may be an obscure Pixar reference [Both ‘Antz’ and ‘A Bug’s Life’ carry an aspect of this theme] but the idea is that if i stand up against a racist incident and it is one on one or one on five, then it is likely to not go so well for me and could even end in violence directed towards me. But the hope is that if i spot a racist incident and stand up against it, that five or six or twenty other people in the space will stand up as well and suddenly the racist or person being racist is outnumbered and will back down and hopefully quietly slink away. This is peer pressure at its most valuable and is precisely what i see South Africa needing. A nation who declare #NotOnOurWatch time and time again until the message becomes clear and dominant. We will not tolerate racists, racist-undertoned jokes, racist statuses, opinions/habits/mindsets/practices.

Which reminds me, i have a status to go and write…

Do you know someone who might be able to write a great ‘How to be an Ally’ post for this series? Please tag them in this and tell them to get hold of me with their ideas. This does not need to just be me.

[For other posts so far in this ‘How To Be A Better Ally’ series, click here]