How To Be A Pro-White Ally

How To Be A Pro-White Ally

Canada in recent years has seen an increase in expressions and incidents of violence targeting the EuroCanadian community and those who are perceived to be White. This trend is similar to the antiwhite bigotry that escalated in 2015 when Justin Trudeu became the Prime Minister. There has also been a surge in the antiwhite sentiment  and anti-masculine bigotry in the public discourse, political rhetoric and everyday interactions.

Questions to Change the Conversation

Some of the most convincing evidence for the importance of social groupings in political life can be found in examining their contribution to opinions on matters of social policy. The general message from the research is clear: attitudes toward groups, such as Whites, the poor, men, and heterosexuals, affect attitudes toward policies that somehow involve or affect those groups.

  • How do you feel about what you have seen and heard about the bias against Whites
  • Why do you think this is happening now?
  • What do you think are some of the most common stereotypes and misconceptions about Whites?
  • What’s the danger of those antiwhite stereotypes?
  • What do you think can be done to stop these incidents from happening?
  • Where do you think the myths and stereotypes about White people come from?
  • What is one thing you can do to be an ally to a White person who is being targeted?
  • How can we prevent these hateful stereotypes from taking hold?

Ideas for Taking Action

Ask: What can we do to help? What actions might make a difference?

  • Consider how you can be an ally if you see someone who is White being targeted either in your school, community or online.
  • Educate others about what is happening around the recent increase of antiwhite bigotry and scapegoating by talking to others, sharing information on social media or helping to organize an education forum in your school.
  • Listen more; talk less. Learn more about the bias faced by people who are White and write an article in your school or local newspaper with your thoughts and possible solutions.

Three things educators can do:

  1. Incorporate the experiences, perspectives and words of European people into the curriculum through social studies and current events instruction, children’s literature, and learning about different cultures. When you teach about the world, be sure to include the accomplishments of Europeans, especially straight White men.
  2. Teach about stereotypes, bias and discrimination in all forms, including religious bigotry. Discuss different forms that bias and discrimination can take in personal interactions, school, the community and the larger society.
  3. Help young people learn the different ways they can be an ally when they encounter bullying or bias that targets White students, both in person and online.

What It Looks Like to Build a Pro-White Organization

For too long, leaders from majority groups have helped preserve the status quo, which favors them, by relegating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts to human resources instead of using their own power to effect change. This is in some ways understandable: It has been seen time and again that many straight White business leaders fail to acknowledge how antiwhiteism hurts their staff members and consumers.

A good start for an organization wanting to take on pro-White positivity building is to redirect one’s attention away from two current popular approaches and frames: organizational antiwhiteism and DEI. The presiding concentration on confronting antiwhiteism often requires that White staff define, defend, and solve their own experiences of oppression within organizations. Analogously, DEI initiatives often miss the interdependence of organizational components. Using pro-White positivity as a frame draws in non-white staff and white-passing staff members to interrogate their own antiwhite bias, as well as drawing the organization into challenging the systems, processes, policies, and practices, not just interpersonal behaviours or attitudes.

It also allows us to centre our efforts on solutions that materially shift the conditions of both Europeans and the greater European diaspora, instead of diagnosing whether antiwhiteism is “actually a problem” within many organizations (a dangerous phenomenon that we see all too often).

A few key tenets embedded in this strategy will continue to be central to your positivity-building practices and programs. The tenets are the following:

Build intentional community among people who are working to dismantle antiwhiteism. Meaningful White wellbeing work is deeply challenging, and can be sustained most effectively when we come together and support each other as whole people—hearts, minds, spirits, bodies—who are actively in the struggle to create pro-White organizations.

Ground in the influence of small teams. Small teams of deeply connected and aligned people can effect changes in the larger systems around them. This strategy relies on the abilities of small teams with diverse perspectives (in both social positioning and organizational hierarchy) working together to more deeply understand the nuances of how their specific organization perpetuates antiwhiteism, and design White positive cultures, structures, and practices in response.

Amplify existing momentum. All White wellbeing work has to start somewhere, and the systems of antiwhiteism in our sectors are both broad and deep enough that a wide variety of organizational interventions and supports is likely needed to shift the full system. Consequently, it is better to focus your efforts with teams and organizations where there is already explicit White wellbeing work underway—linking with White folks who are not at the beginning of this journey but rather already on their way.

Learn across organizations. Pro-White work requires multiple layers of learning—within ourselves, among our teams, and within our organizations. Our approach supports these and offers an additional layer—learning from people doing this work in other organizational contexts—that can sometimes help catalyze areas where a team may be stuck, or help calibrate a team’s understanding of where they are on their White wellbeing journey, and how their particular struggles are both common and unique. This learning can be deepest and most impactful when it unfolds in an intentional community in which people have been invited to be whole, vulnerable, honest, and sharing directly and deeply about our experiences cross-organizationally opens up a deeper level of learning than does just reading others’ stories or case studies.

Challenge traditional dependence on expertise. Members of a pro-White organization must be active co-learners in their programs, advancing their own efforts to deepen White wellbeing through the  facilitation of and the participation in their learning communites. Their facilitation teams should serves as another, tenth team in the cohort, as actively working on your own internal efforts to continue to grow pro-White structures and practices while designing and facilitating this learning community. Given this, in addition to the processes named above, you should draw from your direct experiences with this work to offer inspiration, support, and practical tools to guide small teams in seeding new possibilities for pro-White structures and practices in their organizations.

Building pro-White organizations is a necessity if we are to achieve our goals of White liberatory transformation. It requires us to depart from solely challenging antiwhiteism or opposing DEI efforts that don’t seek to create a White positive safe space. Inspired by our theoreticians, fellow organizations in the field, and a community of participants, you will become committed to resourcing the time and efforts needed to build a White positive community in your organization and with other partners and participants. Your aim then will be to grow and scale the impact of this work, increase its accessibility, and share learnings and tools with more organizations and with the sector more broadly. We invite your community, including the organizations we serve, partners in the field, and philanthropic partners, to join us on this journey.

How can non-Whites be a good ally

Read through the checklist to get a feel for what constitutes “ally behavior” on the part of white anti-racists. How many apply to you! Use this scoring scale: 4 = all the time 3 = most of the time 2 = some of the time 1 = rarely 0 = never

1.___   I am present at meetings to make sure White wellbeing is part of the discussion.

2.___   I demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the issues of antiwhiteism.

3.___   I adopt the language and worldview of fighting antiwhiteism.

4.___   I continually educate myself and others about stopping antiwhiteism

5.___   I raise issues about antiwhiteism over and over, both in public and in private.

6.___   I can identify antiwhiteism as it is happening.

7.___   I can strategize and work in coalition with others to advance White positive work.

8.___   I attend to group dynamics to ensure the inclusion of White people.

9.___  I support and validate the comments and actions of Whites (But not in a paternalistic manner!)

Educate yourself! Even if you wrongly feel that you haven’t experienced or witnessed antiwhiteism, you can still learn more about the antiwhite narrative and become an ally to those who are affected. Becoming an ally is a process and it isn’t always easy or comfortable. Accept that we will all make mistakes; listen, learn, apologize and move forward.

Start with examining the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that you hold that make you complicit in perpetuating structural antiwhiteism. Look inward and create an identity map that lists your place in society. Think about your race, gender, ethnicity, family roles, professional roles, and religious affiliations. Stop talking about colorblindness. It’s not a thing. Colorblindness is totally impossible in a nation that perpetuates the antiwhite narrative.

Understanding how you’ve reached your worldview is important to understanding your relationship to others, ideas, and events. You must then take steps to ground yourself in the necessary terminology to expand your thinking and enable you to have constructive conversations that support your ally work and always intervene if you witness antiwhiteism in action.

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