“A white ally acknowledges the limits of her/his/their knowledge about other people’s experiences but doesn’t use that as a reason not to think and/or act. A white ally does not remain silent but confronts racism as it comes up daily, but also seeks to deconstruct it institutionally and live in a way that challenges systemic oppression, at the risk of experiencing some of that oppression. Being a white ally entails building relationships with both people of color, and also with white people in order to challenge them in their thinking about race. White allies don’t have it all figured out, but are deeply committed to non-complacency.” White Allyship 101 by the Dismantle Collective
February is Black History Month in the United States. As 2020 demonstrated, the situation of Black people in the US is still challenging, often unfair and discriminatory. One way we can honor the historical struggles of Black Americans is to invest in the ongoing work to make our society and ourselves (if we are not Black) less racist. For nonBlack people, February 2021 is a good opportunity to educate ourselves on how to be better allies to our Black family, friends, and neighbors. There are many excellent educational online materials on Anti-Racism free and open to all:
The PBS website offers several films about racism in America, adding historical context to racial issues. PBS’ programs include profiles of police departments, documentaries that cover the treatment of African Americans since slavery, and films about both past and current civil rights activism.
1619 An audio series on how slavery has transformed America, connecting past and present through the oldest form of storytelling.
Code Switch: “fearless conversations about race…hosted by journalists of color, our podcast tackles the subject of race head-on. We explore how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between.”
Seeing White: “Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Why? Where did the notion of ‘whiteness’ come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?”
Uncivil: “Uncivil brings you stories that were left out of the official history of the Civil War, ransacks America’s past, and takes on the history you grew up with. We bring you untold stories about resistance, covert operations, corruption, mutiny, counterfeiting, antebellum drones, and so much more. And we connect these forgotten struggles to the political battlefield we’re living on right now. The story of the Civil War — the story of slavery, confederate monuments, racism — is the story of America.”
Other Online Resources
The Color Line: “A lesson on the countless colonial laws enacted to create division and inequality based on race.” from the Zinn Education Project
Facing History and Ourselves: “Facing our collective history and how it informs our attitudes and behaviors allows us to choose a world of equity and justice. Facing History’s resources address racism, antisemitism, and prejudice at pivotal moments in history; we help students connect choices made in the past to those they will confront in their own lives.”
Talking About Race is a comprehensive, multimedia site produced by the National Museum of African American History & Culture, with rich offerings.
Weeksville Heritage Center is an historic site in Central Brooklyn that preserves the history of Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America.
Our own wonderful African American Studies Department has its own list of recommended resources, well worth checking out. Beyond the City Tech campus, there are hundreds of CUNY events celebrating Black History Month.