TW: Racism & Violence
If you’re probing for the right things to verbally express when addressing BIPOC struggles within this blog, you won’t find it. Instead, you will be edified on how to take the responsibility off the BIPOC community in edifying allies about BIPOC liberation and cognizance to bring you more proximate to understanding the generational trauma within this community caused by outsiders.
Let’s start with understanding the different terms being used around this topic. BIPOC stands for black, indigenous, and people of color. While this term is re-gaining the power back to the community; not everyone would agree with being labeled as BIPOC. This label can be both liberating and a reminder of how segregated we are from other groups. Another term used when addressing outsiders from the community, is ‘white liberal or white savior.’ White liberal has been around since Malcolm X spoke on white liberalism posing as allies to infiltrate and profit off black pain. Currently, both these terms continue to be associated with outsiders after an abundance of non-BIPOC received their own type of shock from the amplitudes of justified BIPOC outrage pouring through social media and during protests. They (non-BIPOC) were confronted with many gruesome, inequitable experiences towards the BIPOC community, emotional calls for avail, petitions to sign, and facing their privilege at the front lines once again. In lieu of learning from the community, an inundating amount of “white liberal / white savior,” complexity started to emerge which caused further suppression towards BIPOC voices.
As much as an outsider would like to be an ally and a part of conversations that don’t pertain solely to their own privilege, it can do more harm than good if you attempt it the wrong way. Here are a few things to learn from someone who is a part of the BIPOC community.
Your Privilege as an Ally:
Lately, businesses have worked together to do diversity training to acknowledge what they label as ‘underrepresented groups,’ while promoting that they stand in solidarity. However, after attending multiple of these events, I realized that they were teaching their audiences “the right words to say,” in regards to addressing racism. This fails to protect their BIPOC audience who face situations where any form of reaction towards a racist situation could escalate to bigger consequences, like losing their life. The ‘right words to say,’ should not be the focal point of creating safe spaces for diversity but rather training those in power on what racism is, how systemic racism impacted the BIPOC community, and what you can do to ensure racism will not be tolerated both behind closed doors and in the presence of others.
Your BIPOC Employees, Friends, Family Members, are Tired:
Another trend burdening the community is the constant demand for free labor in educating outsiders on how colonization in all our communities has left us damaged. For centuries our knowledge, culture, and way of life have been disrupted so when we speak on all the wrong that has taken place, we are speaking for those before and after us. Despite our voices being many, there have been limited reparations for our work. When you ask for education from the community, be sure to pay them well, donate and credit their work.
We Are Not Your Aesthetic or Trend:
Additionally, people have been taking BIPOC pain and turning it into inappropriate ‘opportunities.’ When the peaceful protests turned to riots, I noticed individuals posting on social media, claiming to be allies and yet causing damages to black-owned businesses. Some went as far as making ‘BLM merch,’ while keeping 100% of the profits as a non-BIPOC business owner. This created further damage because outsiders were allowing the BIPOC community to take the social blame for the chaos and destruction the riots caused to cities. Our pain is not an aesthetic or trend for outsider folk to win humanity points over. It is a privilege to learn about BIPOC struggles rather than having to experience it yourself.
If you wish to learn more about how to make a difference for the BIPOC community, please refer to these resources:
“We are not minorities, we have been minoritized. We are not underrepresented, we have been historically excluded. Language matters.” – Janel Cubbage
White Liberals: – Malcolm X
Racism & Injustice – Martin Luther King, Jr
Indigenous Mourns Symbolic Protest:
Daddy, what’s a racist?
Black Self / White World – Lessons on internalized racism:
A conversation with the police – Uncomfortable conversations with a black man episode 9: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pM-HpZQWKT4
Visibility into being Biracial: – Strayed Roots Podcast
Understanding BIPOC: – Claudia Alick