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What I want you to know about being a white ally on Instagram

I am a biracial, black, POC and I fully support the Black Lives Matter movement. This country—and the majority of its systems and institutions—are absolutely broken. I’m glad a lot of eyes are being opened. 

If you are reading this, there’s a solid chance that you are a white ally. Which is great. There are a lot of posts circulating about how to be a white ally. Which is great. I encourage you to educate yourself. However, there are a couple of frustrating things that I’ve been noticing that I want to point out.

I have, for the most part, refrained from reposting Black Lives Matter posts and similar content on my story this past week. I absolutely respect and appreciate those who do, as well as those who choose not to.

I don’t wish to discuss all of my reasons for my choice, solely because I should not have to explain myself. The content on someone’s story and/or feed does not determine whether or not they support a movement, and shaming people for what they do or do not share leads to a culture of performative activism.

If, as an ally, you would like to post something on your story to raise awareness, by all means, please do! Just don’t shame others for not doing so ESPECIALLY if they are a person of color.

This is not your movement and it’s not your place to ridicule black people and other POC for the ways they may or may not express their struggle.

White allies, use your privilege. Uplift black voices. Follow the actions and guidance of black protest leaders, if you make the choice to protest. Remember that this is not your movement and do not treat it as such.

On that note, if you aren’t black, please STOP raising the black power fist! Only utilize the black power fist if black people leading the protest invite you to do so. The key is to follow the lead of black people during protests they are leading.

From the bottom of my heart, I love y’all and I am so grateful for the information that is being shared, and the actions that are being taken by so many allies. Overall, remember that a huge part of being an ally right now is acknowledging that the BLM movement was not created for white people. Keep your role as an ally in mind as you take direct action, uplifting BLACK VOICES and lived experiences.

Thank you for listening. 

Editor's Note: This post has been slightly edited for clarity and grammar. If you are participating in Blackout Tuesday, please do not use any Black Lives Matter hashtags and only use #BlackoutTuesday.

This post previously appeared in 14850 Magazine and is reprinted with permission of the author.

by Nina Berry Lofthouse | 6/2/2020