The first part of this article is a summary of our brainstorm of what needs to be done to create positive change.
The second part is a list of action steps that we can realistically implement. We wrote these steps for ourselves, as things that we intend to hold ourselves to doing. I’m sharing them here because they may be helpful suggestions for others, too.
Keep in mind that these lists are not comprehensive and were cut short for the sake of time. I’m sure there are a ton of things missing from both lists.
What types of change would you like to see?
Real racial integration so that white people know people of color (and vice versa). This can help us to truly see one another as humans, empathize with one another, and care about issues that affect people of different races.
- Fund public schools more equally.
- Change zoning laws.
- Implement fairer hiring practices (so people of color and white people work alongside each other more often).
- Fairer and more realistic portrayal of people of color in the media (to reduce stereotypes that might prevent white people from being comfortable getting to know people of color).
- Acknowledge implicit bias against people of color during police trainings.
- Change the culture withing the police force: Return to community policing where more people of color become police officers and serve in the communities that they’re from (because White police officers serving in communities of color – especially suburbanites serving in urban areas – are likely to feel scared/on edge, and they’re less likely to be able to accurately read situations and threat levels).
- Enforce accountability when police officers use excessive force, by a group who is as impartial as possible (i.e. courts would likely be less partial than fellow police officers).
- White people speaking publicly about racism, especially with non-activist white people.
- Give white people clear instructions for concrete actions they can take as allies (that are approved by / possibly suggested by people of color).
- Implement a better system for policing police. Revise the internal punishment systems within the police force.
- Simplify the process for civilians to make complaints about police officers.
- Discourage the “blue wall of silence” where police officers don’t want to “rat” on other officers who are corrupt/commit crimes.
- More positive media portrayal of LGBTQ people. Less jokes about the “absurdity” of men doing feminine things or wearing women’s clothing. Less jokes where it looks like a (straight) guy is kissing another guy and then some other character gets confused about his sexual orientation.
- Change gendered language in our culture. Avoid teaching children arbitrary gender roles (i.e. “boys don’t cry).
- Change open carry laws, implement more effective gun control.
- Congress listening to civilians, not the NRA (gun lobbyists).
- Change the larger culture around guns / the 2nd amendment.
- Have more awareness events between the police and the communities they serve.
- Reduce police’s sense of entitlement.
- Reduce blind praise of the police force, while still appreciating the theoretically positive side of law and order.
Ways I can contribute
Speak up! Do not wait for people of color to educate white people about race. Have the tough conversations yourself.
See about working with gay police officers groups to address aggression and lack of respect for civilians by officers.
Be specific with the allies in my life as to what they can do to help.
Encourage more diversity committee meetings at work.
Don’t judge a person based on others’ perspectives.
When you see something wrong, say something about it and stand up against it.
Help/support one person of color (i.e. through a mentor program), and encourage others to do so, too.
Push to take more discrimination cases at my job (lawyer).
Make a conscious effort to get to know more people of color of various class backgrounds.
Integration: Get more diverse people to Sex Positive Boston and Pleasure Pie events and discussions. Do outreach in neighborhoods and groups with predominately people of color. Make sure the events are offering value to people of color, so they’re not doing the rest of us a favor by showing up.
Talk to my non-activist white family and friends about racism.
Make an illustrated list that has instructions for white people to be active allies. Work with several people of color and find tips from articles written by people of color, to keep it on point. This could also be a zine, or a series of stickers that I could give out for free and encourage people to put up in public (while warning them that apparently posting stickers in public is technically illegal).
Advocate change on social media. Comment on racially insensitive posts to explain an anti-racist way of thinking, and comment on anti-racist posts to show support.
Work for political candidates who support racial justice, to help them get elected.
Attend events, meetups, etc. to learn more about what people are doing to combat racism, and what can be done.
Say hi to the police officer I see everyday, so we each will see one another as humans.
Listen to the needs to people of color before taking action.
Attend political actions (rallies, demonstrations).