Walk with a fist raised?

Q: At marches/protests on issues on racial justice, organizers will sometimes ask the crowd to walk with a fist raised. I feel uncomfortable doing this, since the black power symbol is of a struggle I have no knowledge of, but many other white attendees seem fine doing it. Should I abstain from this particular request, or join in?

A: This is tricky. There is no real right or wrong answer here. People or all races have different opinions on this. The bigger question to ask is why are you doing this symbol and do you really believe in and promote black power?

More problematic is joining in chants like “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” I have been to many marches where white people yelled “hands up” and black folks yelled, “don’t shoot” it was all problematic as fuck.

Actions like “die ins” are another time for you to ask why you are participating. Personally, I am a white person who has been assaulted by the police and my body has often been a target of the police. I have been a target not because of my whiteness but because of other identities I hold. Choosing to participate in “die ins” has felt right many times, especially if one of our goals is to block space with our bodies.

Learn more about black power and black liberation. Talk to others who you are marching with about their reasoning for doing different chants and actions and of course, listen to the black people around you. If someone asks you to get your white fist out of the air, listen and change your ways.

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