In America, we hold college and university professors accountable for preparing their students for successful careers in a culturally diverse and global society. However, I — along with the majority of the Smith College student body — have been recently reminded that institutionalized racism continues to slither (either unconsciously or consciously) around higher education systems across the country…
Here are five ways in which white people, or any person in a position of privilege, can become allies.
1. Do your homework
As a person with privilege, it’s incredibly important that you continuously strive to develop a better understanding of both the personal and institutional experiences of the person/group you are aligning yourself with. Knowledge is power!
2. Recognize the benefits of your privilege
In terms of white privilege, ask yourself, “What does it mean to be white in this situation? How would it change if I were colored?” Really reflect on all of the unearned benefits your privilege has given you, and understand how each has affected different aspects of your life.
3. Show your support both publicly and privately
Don’t be afraid to voice your support! Attend panels, participate in discussions, volunteer, or anything else that will get you active. It’s contagious!
4. Know the difference between guilt and inaction
Expect mistakes (you’re only human), but don’t use it as an excuse for inaction.
5. Be clear on why you’re involved
Make sure you can clearly articulate why you are acting, and how it serves your best interests as well — this is especially useful for educating others that share your same privilege…
For more tips on recognizing white privilege, check out this blog.