What does solidarity actually look like?
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
An emotionally, mentally & spiritually exhausting but very free guide by Bindimu Currie
Solidarity is defined by white definitionists as “a union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, peoples.”
The use of "Blak" is to describe Aboriginal peoples on the continent known as "australia". This is to reclaim our experience as Black people and I acknowledge that the global experience of all Black people is diverse and I only speak for my own experience and community.
In terms of deconstructing white supremacy as a system, the first action is to acknowledge that there are systems in place, and within those systems there are institutions that construct and maintain white supremacy. Example of these institutions are; the healthcare system, the economic system, the education systems and the criminal justice system. White supremacy empowers these institutions to uphold racial biases and enact colonialism.
As a witness of whiteness and colonialism, these systems condition people into believing that all of our thought, behaviours and our place in a colonised society is of our own volition. It is not, and to deny that is ignorant and violent. This is where white supremacy implements its system without "everyday people" realising what they are upholding.
The second action is to acknowledge your place in that system.
- who am I?
- what privileges do I have?
- Am I aware of how much space I take up in conversations involving Blak people and people of colour?
- what anti-social behaviours do I perform?
- how do I benefit from the enslavement, genocide & oppression of others?
- what conversations am I having WITH white people ABOUT white people and whiteness?
- what research/study have I done to educate yourself & your family/friends? what experiences can I partake in that will take me out of my comfort zone?
- Am I questioning schools/universities on subjects such as aboriginal society/history, critical race theory and decolonial education?
- Am I aware of the conditioning that informs and enables my internal and/or external racial biases?
- Am I aware of what influences these biases?
The selling point of white supremacy is to keep everyone comfortable in their ignorance. It’s easy to be complicit when you have privileges, but these privileges come at the expense of the oppression of others. If you want to be an ally, be prepared to be in uncomfortable & confronting conversations & situations.
Blak people are CONSTANTLY aware of their blakness in public spaces and there are very limited spaces, events or gatherings where we are made to feel safe. This is the subconscious conditioning that protects us from daily covert acts of white supremacy. Adding to this, the social intersectionality of being queer, trans, intersex, neurodiverse or differently abled. You as a settler need to be actively aware of the space you take up. Particularly in the presence of Blak people and POC.
The importance of supporting grassroots movements, organizations, peoples.
Recognize that any movements, events, social change that have purpose and substance must come from grassroots organization. There is currently a culture of performative activism or performative allyship that is being highlighted on social media and corporate media, creating clout chasers. As we all know, social media and mainstream media does not portray our lives as Blak people to its fullest extent. Performative activists use this to depict themselves as being supportive of social change while in reality, their activism stops at social media. Even those who make appearances at grassroots events, meetings and organizations, can enact this performative activism, by taking up space when they are not asked to, by using these events/meetings for "content gathering" and gaining social status or wealth. This is why real social change must come from the community level. Learn about how Indigenous society functions and give your time, resources and energy into unlearning toxic individuality and rebuilding community. Again, be prepared to be in uncomfortable & confronting conversations & situations.
In order to minimise emotional/mental/spiritual labour of Blak folks, remember do your own research first before asking questions. Do not approach blak folks with a questions or asking for opinions without doing your own thorough research.
Being an ally is so much more than sharing a BLM hashtag, buying from blak owned businesses or attending rallies. This should not be the extent of your support. This is not solidarity. Know that it is an ongoing process of decolonialism and that you will experience growing pains. If you are asking questions, make sure that you are first checking with the person/people you're asking if they are in a state of mind to be able to answer your questions (surprisingly after all we deal with on a daily basis, there are some amazing people willing to talk to you and educate you)
Remember this is the bare minimum and these are just the words of one blak womxn. There are many more resources by Blak folks and other Indigenous, Black, Brown and People of Colour.
continually Do the work. continually Decolonize yourself. That is solidarity.