We are fighting two viruses right now in this country; COVID-19 and racism. While social distancing and practical measures can help prevent the first, we are left fighting the second with no “vaccine” in sight.
The question is, what can we do about it?
The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t going anywhere and it is time we commit to long term change and allyship. It is no longer enough to say “I’m not racist” and believe you are part of the bigger solution. We must be actively anti-racist, continue to educate ourselves as allies and put our money where are best intentions are.
So, what the heck do I mean by this?
Part of the goal of the BLM movement is to end systemic racism, which whether you know it or not, trickles down to most of our daily transactions.
From the groceries we buy to the shoes on our feet, we have a lot of control of where our money is going and who it is ultimately supporting. Are you buying from businesses that have committed to standing up against racial injustice or who have donated to any BLM organizations? Are you buying from companies that have a diverse board of directors? A quick Google search can usually answer this for you. If the answer is no, are you willing to take a stand or at the very least, write a letter or sign a petition? I am not saying stop shopping at all of your regular places, but we have a responsibility to hold even our favorite store accountable.
Another example of something we can be doing is using and engaging with social media platforms committed to progress and equality.
I think it is safe to say that a good amount of us spend time scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.
- Does your favorite online shop actively showcase black models on their website and social media pages?
- Has your favorite non-black influencer used their privilege/platform to spread awareness?
- If they aren’t, what are you willing to change on your end?
I want to remind you that these non-black influencers, especially thin-identifying white women, are getting more paid opportunities and oftentimes greater commissions than women of color. There is power in our voice and our scroll, believe it or not. How are you using yours?
Let’s circle back to the quote from the beginning of my article: “Equality is one step down from privilege.” I had to really think about this and sit with it for a day or two. I thought about fellow influencers who take on collaboration after collaboration without much regard for the lack of diversity in the brand and folks who shop for convenience vs. shopping with a purpose. Many of us are guilty of this and many of us have benefited from our privilege without thinking much about it until recently. This doesn’t make us terrible people, I promise! But, we can’t afford to be complacent once we are aware of this.
I got an email from a company the other day hoping to do a collaboration and instead of going through the regular motions or negotiating my deal, “Equality is one step down from privilege” replayed in my mind. I went and researched the company, its website and social media pages to find what I feared … NO DIVERSITY. Instead of taking another paid gig given to me partially because of my whiteness, I drafted an email urging them to expand their brand with a more diverse outlook. Will my one email make a difference? Maybe not, but at least I made a stand and tried.
Can you commit to making a stand with me?
For me, allyship means losing out on a few opportunities here and there, supporting more black-owned businesses than I have in the past, and continuing to have the uncomfortable conversations with my fellow white friends and families.
What will it look like for you? I would love to hear from you all in the comments or head over to my IG page @eatthecaketoo! We are all in this together, I promise.
Sophia W – Millennial Black @officialmillennialblack
Sonya Taylor @sonyareneetaylor
What have you done to help fight racism? Please share details in the comments below!
(And remember, you can find more of me @eatthecaketoo, or you can email me at: Carmenrene@Curvicality.com)