This Overlooked Trait is the Key to True Allyship

In the fight for social justice, how you read is more important than what you read

Lincoln Hill, PhD
Forge
Published in
4 min readJul 22, 2020

--

Photo: WestEnd61/Getty Images

If the New York Times bestsellers nonfiction list is any indication, White people are in speed-reading mode, trying to make up for 400 years of systemic oppression as quickly as possible. It’s the Great White Study-Up of 2020.

As a Black woman who studies counseling psychology, I appreciate that people are self-educating on topics of race and oppression, rather than relying on Black friends, family members, neighbors, and even strangers to engage in the emotional labor of explaining these subjects. But what people reading those books need to understand is that being anti-racist isn’t about checking off boxes.

Becoming more culturally competent (gaining knowledge about cultures different than your own) is only one part of anti-racism and won’t necessarily lead to understanding and personal change. It must be paired with cultural humility, which involves an acknowledgment that the “other” group holds the expertise. It’s a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation — an understanding that the journey is never complete.

The health roots of cultural humility

--

--

Lincoln Hill, PhD
Forge
Writer for

Black woman, mental health counselor, researcher, wellness consultant, PhD in counseling psychology, and Beyoncé stan. IG: black_and_woman_IG