We’re living through history right now. America hasn’t seen racial unrest and uprising like this since the Rodney King riots, since the Civil Rights Movement. And as a white person, it’s my duty to make sure that I’m doing what I can to be an effective anti-racist, and part of that means putting the work in. That’s why I’m choosing to reach out to a Black stranger for advice on how to be a better ally, despite Google being right there and totally free to use.
If I’m going to be a good ally, I need as much information as I can get. Whether it’s about police brutality, medical disparities, Jim Crow laws, or the slave trade, I want to make sure that I am educated in a well-rounded way about anything to do with Black issues. That’s why I go straight to a primary source: a Black person. They have the answers. And while I could easily look up those answers on Google because plenty of Black authors, educators, and historians have made them readily available on the internet, I think it’s probably a little simpler to just slide into some Black person that I don’t even know’s DMs and have them point me in the right direction. I just trust it more!
Don’t get me wrong, I acknowledge the place of economic privilege I’m coming from. It’s a huge deal to have access to a site like Google, when people all over the world and even in this very country don’t. And sure, I could probably draw a line between recognizing my privilege in this way and recognizing the amount of privilege it would take to blindly ask a Black person who has no idea who I am to take time out of their day to educate me when I am very capable of educating myself. But I don’t really feel like thinking that critically, and sometimes reading a lot is exhausting.
Believe me, if I had a Black friend, I would absolutely ask them to do this work for me instead of a stranger. But I don’t have any, in no small part because I’ve driven them all away with my constant asks for links and facts about Blackness that I could undoubtedly just look up myself on Google, or Bing, or AskJeeves and also requests for new hip hop tracks that they’ve been listening to. Not that I ever assumed that my Black friends would automatically know a ton about hip hop. But they normally do, right?
Look, I care deeply about the plight of Black people in this country (note that I almost called them African-Americans, but I asked a Black person awhile back what they preferred and I took their answer to speak for the whole community). I want to do and know as much as I can to be an excellent ally. And that’s why I turn to the community at large to find my information. That way, I know it’s coming from an accurate source, I don’t have to put even an iota of work in myself, and they can pat me on the back for being such a good white person. It’s the least I can do!