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Want to support racial equality or Black Lives Matter, but don’t know where to start?
It’s hard to know, especially as a white person, what is actually supportive and if my dollars are going to the right places.
I’ve found a few impactful ways anybody can support racial equality in your community and across the country.
The best news? It’s a lot easier than you think. In fact, you can start supporting racial equality as soon as you’re done reading this blog post.
But just because there are simple ways to support racial equality, doesn’t mean that fighting against racism and systemic racism is easy, because it will take a lot of work!
I recently read the book “White Fragility” and it’s opened my eyes to how quickly and easily the United States socializes people into the system of racism.
This is a little bit of my take away I shared on my FB page:
“My biggest takeaway right now is I need to continue to ask HOW my racism manifests, not IF.
Because as a white male, growing up in a society built on racism, it’s important to acknowledge that I do and say things that are racist, even if it’s not my intention or I don’t realize it. It still happens.”
And it’s not the only source I’m learning from. I can’t pretend I know what it’s like to be a person of color in the United States, so I’ve started connecting with and listening to other voices in personal finance, entrepreneurs, and leaders who are people of color.
I’ve learned a lot. And there’s still so much I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to learning and growing.
What is Racial Equality?
According to Encycolopedia.com, racial equality is described like this.
“In the United States the term is commonly linked to the belief in equal treatment under the law as well as equal opportunity as a principle to ensure individuals, regardless of their race, an equal opportunity in education, employment, and politics.
The United States was built on the system of racism to elevate white people, and specifically white men to be superior to black people and other people of color.”
But looking around the United States today, it’s easy to see that racial equality isn’t the reality.
People of color have been oppressed by white people for hundreds of years, and systems have been built and sustained in the United States where racism creates disadvantages for people of color, while at the same time benefitting white people.
Here are a few examples of how systems of racism have oppressed black people throughout our nations history:
- The US Constitution – slaves counted as part of the population, but only as 3/5 of a person
- Indian Removal Act
- Boarding schools
- Jim Crow Laws
- Separate but equal
- Voting restrictions – poll taxes, literacy tests, fraud, the grandfather clause
- Racial profiling
And the effects linger strongly today.
Racial equality is the principle that people of different races are equal. This means equal treatment under the law, equal access to medical care and health insurance, more proportional incarceration rates, equal opportunities for employment and career advancement.
But that’s not what we see in the United States.
Instead we get the facts detailed in these charts and articles. It’s eye opening and perplexing if you’ve never seen the data before. This is one example highlighting the educational achievement gap.
- 5 Charts Reveal Racial Inequity
- US Black-White Inequality in 6 Stark Charts
- Facts about Racial Economic Inequality
- Systemic Inequality
Given this data, it’s clear to see the racial inequality in the United States.
So now that we know it’s a problem, it’s time to do something about it.
How can you support racial equality?
There are dozens of ways to support racial equality, but it’s hard to know what is the most impactful, and what you’re able to actually do.
In the end, the most important thing is YOUR SUPPORT. There’s no perfect way to support racial equality. The best thing you can do is SOMETHING, ANYTHING that makes a difference.
I’ve battled with myself over needing to say the right thing, or worrying about saying the wrong thing, or doing the wrong thing. In the end, my indecision paralyzes me and I never take action.
But that doesn’t have to be you (or me) anymore.
I’ve made a short list of simple ways you can support racial equality TODAY. And everyday as we fight for equality for everyone.
Disclaimer – Fighting for Racial Equality doesn’t Mean We Don’t Support Other Forms of Equality
There are so many other areas where people in the United States are unequal.
These are still important, and worth fighting for.
And just because I’m advocating how to fight for racial equality doesn’t mean I’m ignoring other forms of equality.
But, I can’t include everything in this article, and if I tried, nobody would read it, and it wouldn’t help create real change.
So for today, I’m focusing on racial equality and how we can all support it.
Invest in Resources to Learn and Grow
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is to admit when you don’t know something.
And I’d add to that – don’t pretend you know more than you do.
When it comes to racial equality, there’s a lot I don’t know.
I know that it’s something to fight for and an important principle for our country to actually demonstrate.
And with the conversation about racial equality come a lot of other important topics.
- Racism – a good and accurate definition
- Systemic Racism
- White Privilege
- Historical Trauma
- Black Lives Matter
- Racial Justice
If you read that list and were a little confused by what they mean, it’s time to educate yourself.
I’ve sat on the sidelines for a long time without taking any action to learn about why we have such intense racial inequality in the United States. And I’ve struggled with admitting to my white privilege.
But that time has to end.
If you don’t understand why we’re fighting for racial equality, or what words like “systemic racism” and “white privilege” mean, the best thing you can do is start learning.
The good news?
There are about a bajillion resources to help you.
Here are just a few:
- Racial Justice Books for White People
- Anti-Racist Resources for All Ages (even your kids)
- Whiteness and White Privilege
As you know, I’m a huge fan of budgeting and spending your money on things you value.
My wife and I realized we have a lot to learn about white privilege, implicit bias, systemic racism, and as humans and educators, it’s our responsibility to learn and grow.
So we’ve invested a little money in buying books about these topics so we can learn.
As I mentioned earlier, I recently read the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, and it was challenging and enlightening.
If you’re somebody who gets offended, defensive, or emotional when topics of racism come up, I highly recommend it.
I also recommend it to anyone who wants to learn and be more aware of the society we live in.
I plan to keep reading and keep learning about the topics surrounding racial equality.
By learning, I’m seeking to understand the problems in the United States, my own state, and my community.
When I know what the problem is and the reasons a problem exists, I’m much more prepared to take productive, and necessary action to create change.
And the first change I’ve seen started with me.
The more I learn, the more I can grow and understand perspectives that aren’t my own.
I’ll never know what it’s like to be a person of color in the United States. I’ll never understand the effects of systemic racism have on black people.
And if I try to give solutions, “but if you just did this…” or “but have you ever considered that …” it invalidates their experience and perspectives and closes the door to more conversation.
Instead, I can listen to people of color, read books about my systemic racism and obstacles to racial equality, I can listen to podcasts and watch webinars to get as much understanding of other perspectives as I can.
And then, I might stop pretending that we don’t have real problems of racial injustice in the United States.
I can start being a real supporter and advocate for racial justice and racial equality.
Listen to People of Color – Support them and Learn from them
When George Floyd was murdered, it was the tipping point for support for racial equality.
For the first time I can remember, my social media was full of messages to fight for justice.
And then something different happened compared to the countless other times a black person was murdered by police officers.
Not only was there a cry for justice, but there was an outpouring of promotion for black owned businesses, black artists, black authors, and black content creators.
Maybe it’s because I’m wrapped in social media with my blog and online business, but my eyes were opened to so many incredible people and black businesses.
I felt like I had my head stuck in the sand or under a rock.
There are so many incredible people of color in personal finance. And I started following them so I could hear what they had to say. I want to say this again, being white, I will never understand what it means to be a person of color.
So I’m going to listen to people of color. Knowing, even through the internet, people that are different than me is healthy and valuable. It will help me learn and grow as a human.
And isn’t that the goal for all of us? To be better humans?
Also, let me be clear.
I didn’t start following all of these channels to check a box and feel good about myself.
I follow these incredible black creators because they have a voice that’s different than mine and they create products, services, and provide messages this world needs. And I want to support them.
So I started following them.
I started listening to their messages about budgeting
I saw them fight for racial equality and racial justice. And it’s helped me learn how to do the same through my own voice and mediums.
I can’t possibly name everyone, but here are great channels to follow on Instagram that talk about budgeting, saving money, and getting out of debt.
- Rich and Regular
- City Girl Savings
- Journey to Launch
- His and Her Money
- Dana Slay Debt
- Rachel Cargle
- The Millennials Next Door
- Popcorn Finance Podcast
- Savvy Girl Money
- Frugal Feminista
Go check out their channels. You won’t regret it.
Podcasts are an Easy Way to Learn About Race and Racial Equity
I’m also a huge fan of podcasts.
My favorite podcasts to listen to are Dungeons and Dragons, BUT I’ll save all of those for a different blog post, or maybe not because it has nothing to do with budgeting.
Podcasts are another free and easy way to learn and educate yourself about racial equality and race issues in the United States.
I recently started listening to Code Switch and While Black
In a word they’re AWESOME!
Code Switch has short episodes that are short and easy to digest, and they talk about very relevant events and topics related to race and racial equality.
I can’t recommend it enough.
I haven’t listened to as many episodes of While Black, but the conversations need to be heard, and valuable to learning about racism in America.
Go listen here.
And subscribe to them on Apple podcasts or Spotify, or really any place you listen to podcasts.
Donate to Local Charities and Organizations that Support Racial Equality
The way we spend our money matters.
It shows what we value and what we prioritize in life.
And it can create real change when we give money to people who are in position to fight for the causes we believe in.
Since we started budgeting in 2013, we’ve made tithing a non-negotiable.
10% of our earnings go straight to our local church so they can do good work in our community. It’s a value we hold very dear, and we’ve seen amazing results in our lives and for people in our community.
Churches are in great positions to create change in cities all over the United States.
But they’re not the only organization.
Towns and cities all over America have charities and organizations that are in the trenches doing the work to help people in need and fight for causes like racial equality.
I can’t possible name all of the charities and organizations in your city or around the country, so I’m not going to try.
I recommend this resource, which can connect you to the organizations and charities in your state that are currently fighting for racial equality and racial justice, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement.
You can find protests in your own backyard, and places to donate money.
Admit You Don’t Know What it’s Like to be Black or a Person of Color
I’ve hinted and mentioned this already.
If you’re white, it’s impossible to understand what it’s like to be a person of color living in a racist society.
The United States was built on racism to the advantage of white people and the oppression of people of color.
I’m a history teacher, and while I don’t know everything, I do know that I struggle to teach history when it feels like event after event of white people oppressing people of color.
So here are a few tips for white people to help you act on the knowledge that you don’t know what it’s like to be black. These tips will hopefully help you better understand white privilege, your role in a racist society, and help you become a better advocate for racial equality.
- Don’t speak as if you do know what it’s like
- Stop invalidating perspectives of people of color by speaking for them or interrupting them
- Be willing to accept feedback if you get called out for saying or doing something racist
DISCLAIMER – this is going to be uncomfortable. Try your best not to be defensive and instead listen and see what you can learn.
Learning something new is always difficult, and even more difficult when it makes you uncomfortable to reflect on and your mistakes and bias.
But listening is the cornerstone to learning.
As a teacher, I’m observed and evaluated on how effectively I teach history.
This includes how I interact with students, the delivery of my lesson, the planning of my lesson and activities, classroom management, and so on.
When I get observed and offered feedback, the best thing I can do is listen, ask questions, and have a conversation about how I can keep striving to become a better teacher.
If instead I refuse to listen and accept feedback, a couple things will happen.
- I’ll create a strained relationship with my boss (or whomever observes me)
- I will remain stuck in my ways refusing to listen to alternative ideas
That sounds like a recipe for stress and resentment.
The same thing can happen when we refuse to listen to or learn from people promoting racial equality.
It’s okay to admit you don’t know, and then make efforts to learn. Be open and willing to learn from other people.
Being an Anti-Racist Teacher and Learning what it Means to Address Racism
As a middle school teacher, it’s also my responsibility to grow and become a better advocate for all of my students and break down my own racial bias.
I’m a work in progress and can work along side my students to talk about race in a productive way and learn and grow together.
I recently attended a webinar on “Anti-racist Teaching – Deepening Your Understanding of Race & Racism”.
It was a powerful presentation and conversation that addresses deep, uncomfortable truths about racism in the United States and how it affects all students, and particularly students of color.
There is so much I can learn, and I’m not going to pretend I know it all because I certainly don’t. The more I can learn, the more impact I can have in my community.
Buy from Black Owned Businesses
A great way to support racial equality is with your dollars.
I already mentioned that where your spend your money speaks, and when you buy from black owned businesses, you are saying, “I believe in this business, their products, and I want them to stick around”.
Most businesses don’t come right out and say “black owned”, but in the wake of recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, more and more lists and resources for black entrepreneurs are emerging.
Here are hundreds to get you started. ?
Vote for Political Change
Your vote really does matter, and what you do with it makes a difference.
Whether it’s local, state, or federal elections, find candidates that support racial equality and support them.
And look for their actions as evidence that they support racial equality, not just their words.
We all know that politicians know how to talk the talk, but the ones who can walk the walk are the ones worth supporting and following.
Use your voice, use your vote to support racial justice and equality.
Talk About Race
Race is part of our lives and our society.
Ignoring it or pretending that it doesn’t exist or impact us all the time is a disservice to all people.
Talking about things is a great way to learn.
That’s why so many bloggers write about personal finance and podcasters shows are centered around money. When we talk about things, they become less taboo and we’re more receptive to learning.
And if we talk about it with our friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, we can all do better to support racial equality.
And as a friend and colleague of mine says all the time,
“We all do better when we all do better.”
Talking also helps people process.
Any other verbal processors out there? My wife often needs to talk things through to process her thoughts. Talking is a great way to understand what we’re feeling and interpret how our actions affect other people.
I have a challenge for you.
The next time race comes up in our life, talk about it. Ask questions and see if you can learn and grow.
We all do better when we all do better.
If you’re not sure how to talk about race, here’s a great resource to get you started. It’s okay if it’s uncomfortable. That means you’re growing.
Let’s Fight for and Support Racial Equality Together
There are so many ways you can support racial equality, and there aren’t many wrong ways to do it.
Choose one or two of the ones I listed and get started. Learning and growing is one of the best ways to support racial equality, and from there we can take bigger steps and make more impact.
Before you get too distracted with the rest of your day, head over to Instagram and start following some of the people I mentioned above or download a few podcast episodes from Code Switch.
There are a ton more podcasts too, but this one has been my favorite to listen to so far.
And one last thing to think about today, “what is the first step you can take to support racial equality?”