Protests have been seen in all 50 states in the past two weeks in response to police brutality against innocent Black people. With this, an increasing number of viral posts have been seen, consisting of white influencers using the movement for their social media content. Many have been seen stepping into the crowd or a march to hold a sign and immediately stepping back out of the flow to go home, all the while being unknowingly videotaped by an onlooking protestor.
As a white woman who has been protesting in Nashville for the past week, I have seen many unnecessary acts of ignorance committed by white people during these protests. White people were the main inciters of the destruction of our courthouse, taking posed pictures with vandalized cop cars, and standing in the place of the statue of Edward Carmack for Instagram. White people showing up to protests with intentions of documenting themselves supporting the Black community with few intentions of actually supporting the Black community have become far too comfortable in doing so. Performative acts like these do nothing for Black people. Acts like these only further present our privilege and ignorance.
How To Use Your Privilege For Good
The role of the white protestor is to show up, protect their Black counterparts, help to amplify their messages, and ensure their voices are the ones being heard. There are numerous ways to use our innate privilege for good.
Keep other white protestors informed and in check. If you see a white protestor escalating the situation or using it for internet clout, remind them what we are here for. Bring snacks and water to those who have been protesting all day. Help ensure that any forces are not silencing their voices, rather they are the police, white people, weariness, or hunger.
If you see a Black protestor sitting peacefully where violence may erupt if tensions rise, ask them if you may stand in front of them, acting as a human shield. Begin recording the situation immediately if someone is being arrested or violence occurs. Your camera is your weapon. Use it and have it ready, as it may be the only defense that someone has. Bring first aid equipment like bandages, extra bandanas (to soak with water for tear gas harm reduction), and lots of water for rinsing eyes out.
Most Importantly: Listen
Be a true ally. Follow Black leadership. Do inner work. Recognize when you are doing something egocentrically instead of altruistically. Heavily consider if the acts you are committing during protests are entirely virtuous. If you are unable to attend a protest for any reason, sign petitions. Furthermore, you can donate to a plethora of resources that will directly benefit the cause, such as Black Lives Matter, bail funds, or simply purchasing goods or services from Black-owned businesses.