(5 Tips on Building Alliances with Indigenous Folks and/or Black Folks as a Person of Colour)
Content Warning: anti-Black racism, settler colonialism
When I was a younger trans and queer person of colour (PoC), I remember the first time I was welcomed into a PoC-only space, and how ecstatic I was, that we finally got to let our guard down and relax, not having to worry about being talked down to, talked over, assumed to be aggressive and/or “child”-like if I was expressing emotions, fetishized, interrogated about my origins, compared to other folks of my race, used as an exception or standard of folks of my race, and other such micro-aggressions. But as I attended more events, and built closer relationships, it became clear that there were other dynamics at play, that there were still hierarchies based on skin tone and/or moves to innocence that ignored the importance of treaties and the thieving privilege of citizenship. We didn’t really know how to have each other’s backs half the time.
Simply put, there were a lot of anti-Blackness and settler colonial nonsense among my fellow folks of colour (including myself), and when we were called out, we claimed an inability to be racist because of a lack of physical Whiteness, forgetting that the ideology of Whiteness and white supremacy can be internalized by virtue of being raised in anti-Black and settler colonial spaces. Racial discrimination and internalized racism is a real and serious issue among folks of colour, and to forget it is to jeopardize and oppress our accomplices and community members.
So this article is a litany of my mistakes and the mistakes I’ve seen in others, that harmed folks, that hurt collectives, that stalled movements of anti-racist action and alliance. I mean, I may also probably mess up in the course of this article, in which case, please feel free to correct me and definitely I will offer reparations if the correction involves the labour of Indigenous and/or Black folks. Lastly, this article is an attempt at giving some fairly basic tips to other people of colour that are non-Black and also settlers/non-Indigenous. We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re still in this together.
Here are the five tips altogether:
- Work on your own stuff.
- Work with your communities to co-organize workshops on undoing Anti-Blackness and Settler Colonialism.
- Support Black-only spaces, Indigenous-only spaces, and Black and Indigenous-only spaces.
- Centre Black and Indigenous leadership in people of colour spaces.
Read the rest of the article here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22115167