Q: I want to help fight systemic racism, but all the advice I see for white people is along the lines of listening, protesting, speaking up… I get why that is important – but what can we actually DO? What policies need to be addressed? What kinds of things should we be writing to senators about, pushing to get on the ballot, voting for? What behaviors and policies should I be trying to change? Talking about racism is important, but the conversation should end with action items. It doesn’t help anything if white people walk away thinking, “Oh yes, racism is very bad and something needs to be done about it,” and return to business as usual, and I feel like that’s where I’m stuck. I’m just a regular person, doing what she can to educate herself, but with no idea how to affect the massive structural changes that need to take place. I want to be more useful.
A: This is a question we hear a lot. Here are a few ideas:
- 11 things white people can do to be real anti-racist allies
- Work with your local schools to make sure that they are teaching books by and about people of color. Also, talk to them about teaching a less colonialist view of the founding of the United States and the genocide of indigenous people.
- Police reform is a mixed bag, ultimately we need to fight for a world with no police. Some reform measures to fight for are: De-escalation training for police, outside reviews of police instead of internal reviews, de-militarization of police, diverting funding from police to community service programs, eliminating the use of police forces in addressing mental health crises instead of creating special teams of mental health cops, banning cops that use excessive force from any employment in any type of law enforcement (public or private), ending “broken windows” policing. Some of these ideas are from Rachel Herzing‘s article onTruthOut Read more about the limitations of reform here on TruthOut.
- Organize community training to intervene in situations of harm without police intervention
- Put a sign on your front lawn or window and a sticker on your car. Find out more about that here on medium.
- And seriously, LISTEN! It is not as inactive as it sounds.