Peace everyone ✌🏻
Well, the dust from Charlottesville hasn’t completely settled. Charlottesville shocked the nation and the world. It left minorities reeling. I personally spent about three or four days basically in mourning. I cried a lot, that’s for sure. I worried a fair bit too. But now I just want to fight Nazis haha. I imagine many of you feel the same way, and some of you have a lot of privilege and can really make quite a difference. So here are some tips as to how to support us – us being, Muslims, Jews, other non Christians, People of Color, immigrants (especially non white and non English speaking ones), the LGBT community, and the disabled.
- Educate yourself. We minorities – this especially goes for POCs, Jews, and Muslims – are often very misunderstood and end up spending a lot of our time educating white native born US Christians about our faith, race, or culture. We’re constantly having to explain something. Now, this is usually fine with us when the questioner is sincere and actually listens to our answers. But too often the questions are more accusations than inquiries and no matter how we answer, we’ll always be guilty until proven innocent. Cue you! As a person of privilege who looks, talks, and dresses like our accusers you can educated yourself about our communities so that you can be equipped to educate others who won’t listen to us but who may well listen to you. And that brings me to my next point.
- Educate others. Like I said we’re often forced to be in full self-defense mode. This is emotionally, mentally, and spiritually draining. But if people don’t know us and if we aren’t defended, people like the Charlottesville Nazis can and often will physically or otherwise harm us. So try to take some of the burden off of us. Once you know the basics of who Muslims are, for example, or a bit about the suffering of POCs, you can pass this knowledge along to your privileged friends who act deaf and dumb around us. This may at least plant seeds of knowledge, respect, and humanity in otherwise closed minds.
- Have uncomfortable conversations. This is closely tied to #2. Educating others is never easy or comfortable if those being educated are blinded, intentionally or not, by racism, xenophobia, or something similar. With some people there simply won’t be a moment wherein they say, “Hey can you educate me on minorities’ struggles for liberation?”. It isn’t going to happen! So you need to initiate such conversations by calling people out on their prejudice whenever it surfaces.
- Use your voice and platforms. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard white Christian people say to me that they don’t like to make political or social statements on their social media profiles. So they post baby and dinner photos and gym selfies, but they never once say “Nazism isn’t ok.” Guess what? If you’re not willing to speak up, Nazis and other racists will win. You will be complicit in violence against us. Your silence tells us that we’re alone, and tells racists that nobody minds what they do or say. “But I only have one hundred Facebook friends,” you say. That’s one hundred people in who’s minds you can plant seeds of love and compassion. If everyone spoke out and up to one hundred people, the world would be entirely different. You can make a difference. But you won’t if you don’t try.
- Take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself burn out. Take social media breaks. Take a hot bubble bath. Have a good cup of coffee. Don’t wear yourself out. But once you’ve recharged your batteries, don’t throw in the towel. Pick yourself up and continue fighting the good fight. This is something I’ve had to learn. Self care is important. This is especially true for members of a minority who are trying to be allies to members of other minorities. We’re already coping with thousands of people wanting to carry out a genocide against us. This situation is like being in a crashing airplane. We have to put on our own oxygen masks before we can help those around us.
These are my top tips for helping us. Let me know what you’re doing to defend those in the line of fire at the moment. You can reach me in the comments below or on my Facebook page. Thank you!