As co-editors of the Black Allyship @ Mochi column, we want to acknowledge our limited capacity and highlight resources already created by Black and Asian activists. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of injustice and even in the face of limitless resources, so each month, we’ll gather a few links to get you started. This month’s roundup centers on learning to be an ally to the Black community. 

Black and Asian American communities have historically been allies. In fact, the term Asian American was inspired in part by the Black Power Movement, and began in 1968 when the Asian American Political Alliance marched alongside the Black Student Union as part of the Third World Liberation Front. Many of us were not taught or have forgotten this history, and all of us are at different points in our allyship.

Maybe the recent footage of police brutality has made you more aware of racial injustice. Maybe you are just learning the terms anti-Blackness, systemic racism, anti-racism, and what they mean to you. Maybe you already consider yourself an ally and want a list of actions to help you continue your work. Wherever you are in your racial justice journey, there is a wealth of information out there to help you take next steps. Here are a few places to start:

  1. Guide to Allyship Not sure what it means to be an ally? This project by Amélie Lamont is a good place to start. She defines what an ally is, why they are necessary, and a few do’s and don’ts. If you find this information useful, you can buy Amélie a tea.
  2. It Starts at Home: Confronting Anti-Blackness in South Asian Communities This workshop was created by the Queer South Asian National Networkin 2014, but is as relevant as ever today. They provide an easy step-by-step facilitation guide you can download and use in your own communities to take a deep look at racism both within our systems and ourselves.
  3. 20 Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now Michelle Kim, co-founder of Awaken, addresses the complexity of Asian American identity in the race conversation, and compiled this list of clear actions we can take. Actions include “Don’t call the cops,” “Challenge model minority myth,” and “Stop using AAVE.” There’s also a link to a Korean translation of her article.
  4. Non-Black People of Color Need to Start Having Conversations About the Anti-Blackness in Our Communities This guide written by Sharon Park at DoSomething.org includes educational links to prepare for conversations about anti-Blackness, links to community-specific resources, and do’s and don’ts for the conversations themselves, when you are ready to hold them.
  5. Miseducated: Encounters with Blackness and Whiteness One of the most thought-provoking ways to examine our relationship with racism is to read accounts of how others are reckoning with race in their lives. Anne Liu Kellor writes a remarkably honest personal essay, recalling moments when she was complicit with anti-Black racism. “Writing and speaking of one’s miseducation, racism, and shame matter […] Less silence. Less pretending you are not a crucial part of the work.”

Each of these five resources is a starting place for more thought, education and action. Don’t feel like you need to take every action at once — that will almost surely lead to frustration and burnout. Instead, recognize anti-racist work as a lifelong pursuit. 400 years of oppression can’t be erased in a few weeks of activism. Find a pace that you can sustain, perhaps taking just one small action a day, or a larger action per week. And remember, the work that needs to be done is both in the world around us and within ourselves.

Have articles, books, films, or podcasts that you think should be included in a future resource roundup? Email links to triachang@mochimag.com.

Mochi magazine’s Black Allyship @ Mochi column is an ongoing project that urges an awareness of racial injustice in the United States, particularly the oppression of Black people in America. The articles, resources and opinions we share are a call to action, an open discussion, and a place to take a stance against anti-Black racism. Read more about the column here.

We want Black Allyship @ Mochi to spark productive conversation. We want to know how we can do better: Feel free to email the co-editors at giannina.ong@mochimag.com

Author

  • Tria Chang is co-editor of the Black Allyship @ Mochi column and writer for Mochi magazine. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Ozy, the NYT Now app, HuffPost, Narratively, Slant’d Media, Thought Catalog, and the Editor’s Picks of Medium, among other places. When not writing, she co-runs Make America Dinner Again, and has appeared on NPR, BBC, ABC, Mother Jones, and at SXSW to discuss and model how to build understanding across political lines. Find her on Instagram.

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