“Privilege is when you think that something is not a problem because it’s not a problem for you personally” by David Gaider.
It’s hard for me to summarise the last few weeks. Discomfort, shame and pain while taking an introspective look at myself and acknowledging my privilege. Discomfort, shame and pain while learning, unlearning, and taking responsibility of my actions.
Be actively antiracist, and become a better human being as well as a better designer.
This month’s article is a collection of resources to help you reflect, do and undo, and act intentionally.
1. Understanding what optical allyship is.
“Allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the ‘ally’, it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power” — Latham Thomas.
2. Check in on your black friends, family, partners, loved ones and colleagues.
This is an emotional and traumatic time for the community, and you checking in means more than you can imagine. Ask how you can provide support.
3. Be prepared to do the work.
Understand that coming to terms with your own privilege will not be a pretty or fun experience. It is necessary to feel feelings of guilt, shame and anger throughout the process.
4. Read up on antiracist works.
It is not enough to dislike racism, you need to work towards antiracism. The following will be essential for your learning: Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad and How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
5. Avoid sharing content which is traumatic.
Whatever your intentions, it is vital to consider sharing videos of black people being abused and hurt can be both traumatic and triggering for many black people. Avoid sharing this content as it increases also to the dehumanisation of black people.
6. Donate to funds and support initiatives.
Consider supporting platforms and initiatives which support black people, such as the Minnesota Freedom Fund, support black-owned funding platforms like Kwanda and sign petitions. Put your money and pen where your mouth is.
7. Do not centre this narrative around yourself.
Whilst it is nice that you can relate and empathise, now is not the time to insert your personal experiences into a narrative that isn’t about you. This is actually harmful and takes away from the severity of the situation. Leave your ego.
8. Keep supporting after the outrage.
It should not take an act of brutality or the virality of a situation for you to suddenly show your support. Keep supporting black media, black initiatives, charitable organisations and continuing your work after the attention has died down.
9. Stop supporting organisations that promote hate.
If you read pieces on media platforms that promote hate or fund supremacist and hateful organisations, you are contributing to the problem. Equally, stop supporting organisations that love “black culture” but fail to speak up on issues affecting the black community.
10. Start your long-term strategy
How are you making a long-term impact or affecting change? Can you mentor a young person? Can you become a trustee for an organisation that supports the black community? Could you offer your time to volunteer? Make the effort to do something valuable over a long-term period.
Listen, do your homework, amplify BIPOC voices and pay the rent.
If you can afford to contribute, I encourage you to set recurring donations to #paytherent.
Welcome to the work.
Love from an immigrant independent female designer,
This article is part of my latest bi-monthly email newsletter called “July 2020: What Now?”