It was an honor to participate in National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Day Against Bullying + Hate on May 18, 2021, and applaud the signing of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law.
But we also know the work is just getting started. Every day there are new acts of violence against marginalized groups. Beyond the Pacific Islander community, racial and cultural minorities including Black, Latino, Native American, Jewish communities are experiencing hatred that spills over into physical and systemic harm.
Being an ally -- a person who is not a member of a particular marginalized group but seeks to help end the oppression of those in the marginalized group -- is a constant process. Allyship can mean different things to different people, and it can be tough to know where to start.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some ways that you can support marginalized communities:
•Offer support and comfort. Check up on your friends who don't look like you when a high-profile tragedy or incident takes place. Affirm that you are there for them in whatever ways they need.
• Educate Yourself and Others
• Do your research. Do what you can to educate yourself before you ask others to explain things to you. There are a wealth of resources available to you online. Google is your friend.
• Ask questions when needed. We're all learning, and it's OK to ask questions. But be mindful of who you're asking. Don't lean too heavily on people of color or other marginalized groups to be your "experts." It's best if the person you're asking is someone you already have a solid relationship with. And be prepared to accept that some people may not want to discuss those things with you.
• Brush up on history. Make sure you're up to speed before you weigh in.
• Influence people in your own group. Talk to the people in your own life, particularly those that share the same identity as you. Educate your friends and family about how systems of oppression affect marginalized groups. Hold them accountable for their words and actions, as well as the roles they may play in those systems.
• Teach your children. It's never too early. Talk to your kids explicitly about racism and other forms of discrimination. Don't teach them to be "colorblind." Let them know it's important to notice differences, and teach them to stand up for others.
• Own up to your mistakes. Allyship is a process. Along the way, you're sure to do or say the wrong thing now and then. Don't get defensive. Take responsibility for slip ups. And do better moving forward.
• Acknowledge your privilege. A critical part of being an ally is recognizing the benefits and power you have in society because of the identity you were born with. Be self-aware and be willing to go against others who share your privileges.
• Pay attention. Racism and other forms of oppression are everywhere, even if you don't experience them yourself. Train yourself to notice them on personal and institutional levels. Take note about what is being said (and what isn't) and who is there (and who isn't). Recognize how prejudice, discrimination and oppression are being denied, minimized or justified.
• Understand others' experiences. Instead of offering up your own thoughts, listen to people who are marginalized when they tell you about their experiences, frustrations and emotions. Sit with that for a while.
• Use your privilege to help others. Call out injustice or discrimination when you see it. Intervene when you see instances of racism or other situations that look unsafe. Use the 5 D's of bystander intervention. That includes de-escalating the situation, calling others for help, checking in with the person involved, speaking up and documenting what's happening.
It’s more important now than ever that we stand up to xenophobia and racism. It takes education and policy change to create lasting improvement. But it also takes compassion and a willingness to accept differences. We all have more in common than we assume, and when we come together we stop seeing each other as “them” and instead as “us.”
That is what STOMP Out Bullying encourages each and every day. We can and should all do what we can in our lives to be allies, advocates and friends. That is at the heart of everything we do:
Standing Up Against Hate, Racism And Discrimination.
Changing The Culture With Diversity, Equity, Equality, Inclusion, Civility And Unity Becomes Our Destiny.
The STOMP Out Bullying™ HelpChat Line. You are not alone! We’re here to help!
The goal of the STOMP Out Bullying™ Live HelpChat Line is to help you reduce the stress, depression and fear you are feeling as a result of being bullied and to empower you to make healthy decisions.
*The Live HelpChat Line is available to ages 13 - 24 only. Free and confidential.