Culture & Politics


Let Toya tell how to get started!

So, what are some things that you can do as an ally that will actually mean something?

  • Read, discuss, and promote #Own Voices stories written by people of color:
    Read more than just the nonfiction, anti-racist books. In order to really see how cultures outside of your own are normalized, you need to pick up fiction books written by #Own Voices authors for that. The nuances of Black joy can be seen in Farah Rochon’s The Boyfriend Project. You get a first-hand look of what it is like to be a Black female in a STEM field. I am Black, female, and a Ph.D. organic chemist – there’s not even one percent of us in the population of Ph.D. organic chemists. Additionally, this book shows the reader what Black romance and female empowerment looks like – that is equally as powerful as anti-racist books.
  • Teach your children about racism and how to be anti-racist:
    Both Nickelodeon and Sesame Street run great programs on this and there are also several anti-racist books that are geared towards children. Children recognize differences in skin color at a young age; they are so much more perceptive than we give them credit for. I went to a predominately white, Catholic elementary school and in kindergarten, I was asked why I have a tan, but my mom doesn’t; my mother is white.
  • Actively learn about cultures outside of your own:
    When I say this one, I don’t mean just eating foods within a certain culture or going to a festival. Immerse yourself into these cultures through literature, history, and by interacting with people within your own community (if possible).
  • Steer clear of stereotypes and problematic jokes:
    This one is pretty straight forward. We’ve all heard the stereotypes, so I don’t think that I really need to expand on this one. My biggest thing is that stereotypes hurt. No one wants to be stereotyped, so refrain from using them.
  • Speak out against problematic language and stereotypes: This one definitely aligns with the previous bullet point, but it takes it one step further by calling it out. Confrontation is hard and you never know how people will react. However, stereotypes in any environment are not okay, so don’t be afraid to speak up and let people know if they are engaging in problematic language.
  • Learn about systemic racism and how it impacts our environment at differing levels:
    This one involves at looking at numbers and statistics. Look at the number of white people who are imprisoned for first offenses versus people of color. Look at the number of white people who are impoverished versus people of color. This one is about actively diving into racial injustices.
  • Discuss racism and how to be anti-racist with your family members:
    I’ll be honest with all of you. This one is by far the most difficult but the most important. Conversations about race, racism, and anti-racism have to start within our family units. These conversations are incredibly difficult because these are our loved ones, and no one wants to be judged or accused of anything. Unfortunately, I was disowned by my mother’s family for over a decade because of the color of my skin and the fact that I was unwilling to be the target of their racist rants.

    This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it is definitely a great starting point for continuing to show up as an ally versus being a performative ally. Things will not change overnight, but as long as we continue to fight together to be anti-racist, I believe that we can achieve a better society that has a place for all of us. 

    Your Black Friend,