Introduction To Actions

The goal of this site is to support White people in engaging in focused intentional actions to counter racism – and to act with confidence.  It is designed to support and affirm people who (a) are already in the game; and (b) are ready to get off the sideline and get in the game.

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.

– Thomas Jefferson

What's in This Section?

This site is focused on challenging and supporting White people to act – getting beyond awareness and education.  Awareness and education are “essential, but not sufficient.”  We must get to intentional sustained action.  But that is not as easy as it might sound.  

Other sections look at making a commitment, why it’s worth it, the journey that will result, and the barriers encountered – the three right at the beginning and the six on the path. Frequently asked questions are answered, critical topics are addressed, and a lot of links to resources are provided.

The question remains, “But what can I do?”  This section provides information to help answer that critical question.  There is a chart here with possible actions on an individual, interpersonal, family, school, organizational, or community level.  There is also guidance about how to be an effective ally because we need to counter racism together.  And there is a guidance about how to be an advocate because much of this work involves changing systemic issues, such as laws, policies, processes, etc. 

#1  What White People Can Do - Actions

There are a surprising number of ways to act, and many are presented here.  They range from actions that can be taken with your family or neighborhood to actions that can be taken in your school, organization, or larger community. They range from personal and interpersonal behavior to ways to change systems, processes, and policies in organizations and communities.  

These possible actions are presented in a chart so that you can choose those actions that fit your current reality and the role that you want to play.  They are examples, so do not be limited by them.    

Don’t get caught in awareness or education without action.  Focused intentional action is what matters.  Awareness and education are “essential, but not sufficient.”  In fact, we need to err in the direction of engaging in action vs. perfecting awareness and education.  If we are acting, we will heighten our awareness and deepen our education much faster than if we get caught preparing on the sidelines.  

It’s fine to start small.  The key is to get in the game in a way that is meaningful to you.  You can choose actions that you can do immediately as well as identify actions that you want to take that you might have to prepare yourself for.

Act with others.  Many of these actions can be taken by an individual,  but it’s always best to be connected with others for support, learning, etc.  

#2  Being an Ally

How Can I Be an Effective Ally?  There is a lot that we can do as individuals, but there is even more that we can do with others.  It’s not an either/or choice and even individual actions are best done when connected to others for support.

What is presented in this section are some useful guidelines for being an ally with Black people including definitions, the major pitfall to avoid, and elements that go into the profile of an effective ally.  It is designed to answer the question that is frequently asked, “How can I be an acceptable ally with Black people?” 

#3  Being an Advocate

What Can I Bring to Being an Advocate?  For actions that happen on a larger scale, for instance in organizations or communities, we might need to take on an advocacy role.  Most of us don’t see ourselves as advocates or feel competent in that role, but it’s surprising how natural a role that is for us. It’s also surprising how many of the competencies and characteristics that are called for we bring simply because we have developed them over the course of our personal and professional lives. There is guidance here about how to start, what advocacy is, the process of advocacy, and the qualities and capabilities required for advocacy.