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In the days following more heart-wrenching racial headlines (the murder of George Floyd and Amy Cooper calling the police on a black man birdwatching), there has been a lot of talk from white people about being an ally to people of color.  It’s important to note that stating one is an ally is different than taking action.  It’s time to think of being an ‘ally’ as a VERB.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start.  I don’t have all the answers or know the best next steps, but I do know that not talking about the hard truths doesn’t make them go away–it makes them grow larger.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

– James Baldwin

As a therapist, it is my job to help clients see patterns, relationship dynamics, and truths that they are not aware of.  This component of therapy is true of white privilege and white fragility as well.  I will not pretend to know all the answers, but it’s important to me to be an ally and to help others learn how to be an ally as well.  More than ever, recent events highlight the need for courageous conversations, vulnerability, and willingness to adopt a beginner’s mind.

Examining racism requires exploring our implicit bias; which is not always completely conscious to us.  These parts of us are hard to explore on our own, from the comfort of our home, through simply reading a book or watching a video.  And yet, we must start somewhere.  The resources below will help you gain the perspective of others, and it feels like a good place to start.

If you don’t know where to start but will consider taking one next step ….here are some things you can do:

  • Take a free online Implicit Bias Test here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
  • Practice mindfulness, in other words:  PAY ATTENTION.  Become aware of your automatic thoughts, question them, and notice how your thoughts impact your behavior.
  • Choose to give others the benefit of the doubt.
  • Practice empathy … if you need a refresher, watch this 3-minute video on empathy.

Resources for white parents to raise anti-racist children:

Articles to read:

Podcasts to subscribe to:

Books to read:

Films and TV series to watch:

  • 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness  — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
  • The Color of Fear – Vimeo

Organizations to follow on social media:

More anti-racism resources to check out:

Online Courses: