Issues that plague communities of color* really affect the nation as a whole. While issues negatively affect communities of color, white communities are benefiting from these practices (known as the concept of white privilege). I believe that with white privilege comes white ignorance, about issues that affect other people. In addition to this, it is a popular belief that you have to be affected by these issues to stand up against them. This is not true. There are ways that white people can help communities of color and I want to talk about them.
- Get rid of the white savior complex– Yes I know communities of color have their own struggles that white Americans do not have to face. But that does not make us less than you. All that means is that we need more resources to help ourselves. Which is natural, because after hundreds of years of not having access to resources, there will be a need for more. If you choose to help communities of color, you have to remember that you’re not saving them, you’re just helping them do what they were already doing. All too often the white savior complex is displayed in media- the one white person enters a community and fixes everything. This is not true. My dad always says “We don’t need saviors, we need servants.” You have to be willing to help the cause, but just know you’re ONLY helping.
- Make friends- Because of segregation, it can be easy to only have friends that look just like you. This is not coming to help people. You need to make friends with people to understand what is truly going on. Friends talk about things that matter. There is a complex that many white people have that if something is different, the other person is required to explain it. This is not true. Being friends with someone means that you respect them, their ideas and their culture. If you are truly friends with someone, you will understand how they were raised and what things make them them. Remember to just keep an open mind. People of color are people too, and deserve to be respected.
- Get involved (in your local community!)– Believe it or not, there are issues in the community you live in! Just because you’re not affected by them in a negative way doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Going to Haiti to help children is helpful, but it is not going to fix the problems that are going on in your local “ghetto”**.
- Research and fact check!!!– What you read on the internet may or may not be true. Fact check. Look across multiple sources and figure out what is the same. And look across good sources, like scholarly papers. Talk to professors and other people. Figure out if what you’re reading is true. Be open to being wrong and understand that the way you view society may not be the way it is for other people. Be open.
Last but not least, leave your biases at the door! What you think you know about us is false!
These are just a few tips that I believe will help change the world. But please understand that by helping communities of color you are embarking on a mission that will change your life for the better. We need helpers and can always use your help!
*As a black woman, I cannot speak on other communities of color. I just understand what goes on in my community and that these issues affect other communities of color.
**ghetto- according to Merriam Webster Dictionary a ghetto is: a quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure.