By Aima Rey-Cyst
As white folk, supporting the people of colour in our lives can be difficult; promoting racial solidarity whilst maintaining our own standing in society is no easy task.
As someone who has struggled myself to safeguard my whiteness whilst championing non-whites, here are my top tips on how you can pursue a more secret pathway to allyship for those who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour (BIPOC).
1. Tweet out anagrams that secretly contain messages of support
When your conservative boss follows you on Twitter, taking a bold position on equality rights can be awkward. Get around this hurdle by tweeting out cryptic anagrams that when rearranged reveal your true beliefs. For example, a BIPOC person will easily identify that “Cursed One, I Lo Too” really means “I do not see colour.” At best, your followers may think you’ve been possessed by Satan and at worst they’ll suspect you’ve ventured into the world of micro poetry. Either way, you’re in the clear!
2. Adopt an animal through WWF from every continent—aside from Europe, of course!
With just a $55 donation to the World Wildlife Fund, you can purchase an adoption kit for an animal from virtually every non-white continent, supporting (bio)diversity in a cost-efficient and adorable manner. BIPOC people will greatly appreciate you supporting their continent of origin, so be sure to take a wild guess as to where they were born and work your adopted animal into the conversation. Bonus: with every species kit, you receive a cute plushie you can arrange behind you for your Zoom backdrop! With a stuffed Amur tiger behind you, you now have a perfect conversation starter with your brown co-worker.
3. Exclusively gift everyone you know Taco Bell gift cards or merch for special occasions or catering purposes
Appreciating BIPOC cuisine is a delicious form of allyship, but it doesn’t have to stop at your digestive tract. Spread the love by solely gifting your friends Taco Bell gift cards for birthdays, weddings and baptisms to display your appreciation for the more exotic palate. Taco Bell also has an incredible merch line where you can purchase tie-dye hoodies with spicy sauce packet graphics on the back! Gifting hot sauce-themed merch will surely indicate to your friends that you are pro-diversity—they don’t need to know that in reality, McDonald’s Sprite is a touch too spicy for your palate.
4. Stop watching the dubbed versions of the new ethnic show on Netflix
Train your ear towards ethnic dialogues by watching undubbed versions of foreign shows and movies. You don’t even have to consciously listen; I like to play the dialogue track to Parasite while I nap as my personal sleep sound. Have you ever walked past the Walmart international foods aisle, heard some unusual blabber and instinctively whipped your head around toward it so fast you got whiplash? Exposing yourself to other dialects will likely prevent yourself from doing this again and BIPOCs will dearly appreciate your cultural awareness.
5. Dish out $29.99 to watch that new Disney movie with the Asian princess
Don’t be a cheapskate and wait until it’s on Disney Plus all access. If you want to take your allyship up a notch, retweet a positive review of the movie written by a well-meaning white person like you. Alternatively, you could post a yellow square on your Fleets to show support for Asian communities in the face of rising hate crimes. Does that seem a little racist? Sure! But think of it like adding a pinch of salt to cake batter; a tiny bit of racism in allyship can enhance its message and add a whole new dimension to its flavour.
6. Condition yourself to not immediately speak first in a discussion about racism using Welch’s gummies
We’ve all been there: a BIPOC is harping on about their terrible life experiences, and the urge to respond can result in you talking over them. Avoid this by employing the Pavlovian method: treat yourself to a Welch’s gummy snack every time you manage to bite your tongue in a conversation about racism with a minority. I recommend purchasing the Welch’s Island Fruits variety, which showcases delicious exotic flavours like guava-kiwi. Note: if you use this method consistently, the next time someone is outpouring their heart to you about the racist trauma they’ve experienced, your mouth may begin to water.
7. Get a lower back tattoo written in several languages
Pick an ambiguous noun that describes you, stick it in Google Translate for at least three non-Latin script languages and amalgamate the translations into one word. Though ethnic tattoos are fairly common amongst virulent racists, reclaim it and take the solidarity up a notch by proudly emblazoning DREAMER on your lower back in Arabic, Aramaic and Chinese (Simplified).
8. Be way too defensive of Meghan Markle. Like, weirdly protective. Really get into it. Throw something. Make a scene!
For this to work, each time you present a bizarrely aggressive defense of Meghan Markle—e.g., by punching drywall to punctuate every sentence—wink at a BIPOC in the room. They will immediately understand the hidden allyship intentions colouring your weirdly intense stance and are certain to value you dearly for it. If there’s no BIPOC in the room for you to wink at, what the heck are you doing in there? Go out and find one!
9. Opt for the Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine–Johnson & Johnson just sounds too darn white!
Outspoken allyship is certainly not for everyone, but as my mother always told me, an obscure, shady country road covered in thickets with no streetlights can ultimately lead you to the same Swiss Chalet as a highway. And remember, what brings us together is much stronger than what keeps us apart. We ourselves are Cauc(Asians), after all.