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  • Writer's pictureSophia Aguiñaga

For the BLM Neophytes

For non-Black folks who are new to this movement and discourse:

Stop trying to position yourselves as teachers or leaders right now. Fall back. So many of you are exhausting the Black community by spreading harmful, incorrect, and wildly uninformed narratives that speak to and about but in no way actually represent Black voices.

Think of it like this: you’re walking into a classroom about to learn organic chemistry and you haven’t even opened your textbook. Yet, you brazenly show up and tell the teacher how to run the class and what the content should be.

It’s arrogant, disrespectful, embarrassing, foolish, and dangerous.

This is a centuries-old Black-led, Black-centered, Black-owned movement and you finally reading “Me & White Supremacy” doesn’t qualify you to try and lead or teach a single thing. You're headed in the right direction, yes, but you use the term anti-racism like blasphemy when you use it in any other context than saying it’s a new concept you’re just beginning to study and/or directing people to Black-organized resources.

You are not the leaders of the movement. You are not the teachers in this movement. You are not our healers. You never will be. You are, at best, students if you happen to remain committed beyond this media cycle. As for those more practiced, committed, and learned individuals, they are allies and supporters.

For those showing up with entitlement, fragility, ego, and arrogance? We cannot engage people like you for this fight, you’ll only create more problems for us to navigate. You’re already doing it and it is genuinely exhausting.

This is about infinitely more than trending Black squares, folks. Come to this with humility and follow Black folks' lead on what you can do to help, the correct narratives to be sharing, and the best resources to be learning from.

Don't get it twisted. Your work here is to learn or amplify our voices. And when we correct you or a narrative you're sharing? Humbly accept the correction and self-teach so we don't have to carry the weight of your learning process. We're not shaming you by highlighting that you have something to learn. Offer humility, gratitude, and follow our lead on where you can learn more. Our communities are sharing resources at an astonishing volume right now.

If you want to see an example of truly humble and helpful allyship, link up with Karen Fleshman. She offers allyship training (and more) through her company Racy Conversations. She's a true warrior and an exemplary ally. As she put it, "This is a time to listen and do exactly what Black and Indigenous women ask you to do."

Or don’t, honestly. But whatever you do, please stop exhausting Black folks with the noise. You are just becoming aware of a fight we and our formidable ancestors have been at the head of for centuries. This isn’t a platform for you to shine, prove how woke you are, or solidify your place as "one of the good ones." And it is, least of all, a platform for petty debate on the strategy or content of the o-chem class you joined five minutes ago.

It’s your arena to listen with humility, to study, to donate to organizations and join protests centering Black lives, to amplify our voices and work, and send reparations directly to the Black people leading this work. (Seriously, don’t just say thank you. Ask for a Venmo account and send money straight to Black teacher’s and organizer’s bank accounts.)

That was, in fact, the whole point behind the Black box you likely posted on your account on June 2nd.

True up, y'all. 🙏🏼


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