Now that we’re in the middle of Black History month, I thought I’d add in a reminder about the importance of supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Support should not only be limited to our designated “months” but sought out year round to help build up our communities.
Unfortunately, I know that depending on where you live, there may not be local POC places to shop, or brands you admire might not carry your size or be in your price range. I recognize that not everyone can support BIPOC as easily as others, but there are different ways you may be able to help.
Donate to a worthy BIPOC cause
If you have some funds to spare, there are many non-profit organizations that would be very appreciative of your donation. Choose one that resonates with you and share with loved ones, or you could pick a different cause each month.
Eat from a local BIPOC owned restaurant
This would be easiest in big cities, but might also be achievable in suburban areas. (Though it is usually difficult to find POC owned retail stores in small towns.) Turn down the corporate choices and instead choose an ethnic dish (most likely) prepared by chefs who really know how to make it delicious.
Choose BIPOC Doctors/Specialists
I’ve been so happy with my family doctor over all these years, that through multiple insurance changes he’s still the one I choose. Finding a doctor who actually cares about their patients shouldn’t be as difficult as it is, but once you do, stick with them. If you’re in the market to change doctors, try asking around in the community or looking for recommendations online and take note of the ones of color instead of automatically settling on a white practitioner.
Seek out BIPOC creatives
Whether you need a photographer, performer, designer, etc, try and find someone who may not have as much business or as many opportunities as their white counterparts.
Shop in store or online BIPOC brands
In my experience, the easiest way to find a black owned brand is through hair/skin care and accessories. These items are on the lower end of the pricing scale so they wouldn’t be as expensive as some of the clothing and shoe choices. Plus, there aren’t sizes to worry about, so they’re more inclusive as a result.
Learn from BIPOC
Take a class, read articles, buy some books, there are many ways to support POC educators. The field of academia has been dominated by white voices for far too long. Open up your perspective by giving the mic to those in the marginalized community and you will surely learn.
Follow & Share BIPOC accounts
The algorithm preferring thin, white faces is no myth. By intentionally following POC on social media and sharing their content, you are helping them grow in a way that was made more difficult by the tech people behind the app.
Be an ally to BIPOC
Without saying you are one! You are an ally to POC by your actions, not by putting that label in your bio. Stand up for your friends who deal with mistreatment and discrimination on a daily basis. Offer to help them, invite them to activities where they may not feel welcome (but would really enjoy doing,) check on them if they said they were having a rough time at work, send them genuine encouragement. Do all of this because you actually care about them and have a desire to use your privilege to challenge the system. Don’t let white guilt be the only reason to help black & brown people.
Until next time, stay Sheek!