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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Allyship

In Forge. More on Medium.

💵 Today’s tip: Put your money where your mouth is.

In Forge, Holiday Phillips shares a vital reminder for this emotional week: Even when you feel overwhelmed by just how much work there is to be done in dismantling racism, there is always a simple way to take action, no matter who you are. As Phillips puts it, “If you are disgusted by the centuries of state-sponsored theft from Black, Asian, and indigenous people’s lands, then support BIPOC-owned businesses. Initiate your own program of reparations by actively looking for products and services you use regularly and finding alternatives created by…


❤️ Today’s tip: Show up as an ally with your words and actions.

This week’s violence against Asian Americans is, as My Tam H. Nguyen writes on Medium, “another opportunity for intersectionality.” She suggests these five ways we can all step up — no matter what our own backgrounds or ethnicities — to be better allies:

Step in, show up, and call what the killings are — a hate crime.

Check-in with your co-worker, friend, neighbor. Ask how they’re doing, ask what they need, send them a love note.

Support your local businesses in your respective Chinatown/International Districts. A great…


Advice for allies of all races and backgrounds

Photo: RINGO CHIU/Getty Images

Given the massacre in Atlanta this week, during a time of escalating violence against Asian Americans, people of all backgrounds are once again wondering how to help. We’re upset and we’re horrified. Sharing posts on social platforms is easy, and to be clear, elevating Asian American voices is an important thing for everyone to do right now — but dismantling white supremacy takes more than a retweet here and there.

Here are four things you can do right now to help in a meaningful way:

Help spread the right message

Medium’s Yasmin Tayag interviewed San Francisco State University sociologist Russell Jeung for the Coronavirus Blog


Learn to look beyond the first question

Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

One of the best pieces of business advice I received when I was starting out as a consultant was to “keep pulling on the thread.” In other words: Don’t fall for the first answer, or the second answer. To get to the root cause of a challenge, you need to keep asking “why” to cut through the excuses and red herrings. It’s only after asking a long series of questions that you’re able to get from “Why is this company’s stock price in the toilet?” …


👀 Today’s tip: Identify your people-pleasing triggers.

Posting anti-racist memes primarily so people think you’re a good person isn’t just performative allyship. It’s also an example of what’s known as the “fawn” response — the “instinct to people-please as a means of self-preservation,” as Ashley Abramson explains. And when your main goal is avoiding conflict, you won’t be able to take the risks necessary to be a real ally.

To manage this automatic stress response, notice your fawn triggers. Do you go silent when someone makes a racist remark among a group of White friends? Do you choose not to…


Being anti-racist means learning to manage your automatic stress response

A stressed White woman biting her nails while looking at her cell phone.
A stressed White woman biting her nails while looking at her cell phone.
Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Most people have heard of fight or flight, but there’s a third, lesser-known way people respond to feeling threatened — and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, it was visible all over the social media accounts of White people.

As the fight for racial justice gained steam across the country, millions of White people found themselves unsure how to act on social media: agreeing with anti-racist memes that filled their Instagram feeds, but worried about adding to the performative noise flooding the platform. “I didn’t want to post just because other people were, but I was also worried what…


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

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…


Common traps in the quest for racial justice, and what to do instead

Photo: Chandan Khanna / Getty Images

This great awakening we are in is, no doubt, a great thing. As the realities of systemic racism take center stage, and white people join the fight against racial injustice, I am filled with hope for the new world that we are creating.

But in the midst of it all, I’m seeing actions performed in the name of allyship that are at best unhelpful and at worst actively harmful to the very people they are meant to support. Here are the five most common traps I see, and some suggestions for what you can do instead.

It’s important for me…


Real advocacy and comfort rarely go hand in hand

An illustration of a character wall-papering a yellow happy face decal over a blue sad face icon.
An illustration of a character wall-papering a yellow happy face decal over a blue sad face icon.
Illustration: Karen Yoojin

I sometimes introduce myself as a “professional African American” when I travel the country to give ally skills workshops — often while looking out at a sea of white faces.

It’s a joke, of course, but the point is serious. I’m using humor to disarm my audience, and to make some difficult and personal topics more accessible.

I recognize that every person walks into the room with a different set of experiences and point of view. Many folks have had uncomfortable and even traumatizing experiences talking about race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of marginalization. And many of the companies…

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