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Three Ways to be an Ally Online

Bayareachick and Nappyheadflo's post on being POC in online communities sparked some great discussion about allyship (or lack thereof). As much as it bugs sometimes to have to spell out something that's already been explained multiple times, Bay and Flo's post got me thinking about how I'd like allies to confront racism online:

1. See something, say something.

Honestly, I could end this post here and have said enough. Sometimes, the only thing worse than experiencing racism online is watching your online "friends" let it slide or make excuses. Too often, a lone person of color becomes the sole defender of POCs' humanity because everyone else "noped out" (h/t Bayareachick). A simple "That's racist and not OK" or usage of the dismiss button can go a long way.

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2. Avoid providing racist examples as entertainment.

White privilege is being able to view your racist uncle/cousin/in-laws as ignorant or misguided, rather than threats to your safety. When you share those stories, in a "point and laugh at this idiocy" way, you are perpetuating a microaggression against POC who have been the recipients of similar racist words/treatment. And, you're asserting your privilege as someone who will never feel the sting of racial slurs by reducing them to anecdotes.

3. Treat race and racism as a reality, not an argument.

Some of the best discussions on race come from disagreement, but it's hurtful to POC when allies treat our issues as talking points. Whether the salesperson is a stickler for policy or thinks black people steal is irrelevant to me when I'm asked to show ID, and not knowing "her intentions" for certain doesn't change the fact that I have to consider the possibility whenever I enter an upscale store. So engage, ask questions, share wonderings (in the right spaces), but don't use our experiences with racism to train for the debate team.

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I invite other POC to share your thoughts! What do good online allies look like?

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