The world is in chaos and bringing with it an upheaval of long-needed changes. And yet some things need to continue to be business as usual, namely, our ability to create content and build our platforms.
But how do you as a White influencer navigate the tightrope between marketing your platform and being a true ally to the BLM movement?
Spoiler: I don’t have the answer. As a White woman, I’ve had difficulties coming around the concept of going off mute and re-launching my content schedule. I’ve spoken with other White content creators who are having the same issues so I know this is something we as a community need to carefully navigate. As I said, I don’t have the answers and may get it wrong, but here are the things I’ve decided to test out.
Granted, I say “test” because again, I don’t know the best route for me or for you, but I want us all to take a minute to be cognizant that this is not a plan that is set in stone; your mileage may vary and you’ll need to work out what’s best for you and your community.
How to Be a Conscientious Content Creator Now
That said, here is my plan:
1. Maintain awareness of my place in all of this
I would consider my social media and blogging content to be a sort of escapism, particularly with Beige House. Am I changing lives? I’d like to think I’ve at least helped people, but I’m aware that my spot in this is replaceable, so I’m trying to do my best to stay “out of the way” so to speak, and not trying to clog up hashtags or topics that would be better served by members from the BIPOC community.
2. Maintain an awareness to engage and learn
I’ve found out a lot about brands that have been called out due to their unfair and unequal handling of Black influencers, customers, followers, etc. As a consumer, it’s my obligation to know where my money is going and what it’s going towards, so I am thankful for those who are unafraid to put a brand (or Influencer for that matter) in their place and call out their need to do better.
3. Understand that I have a lot to learn and will deserve a reckoning
I think like most white allies in this movement, I’m learning some hard truths about the benefits I’ve received thanks to white privilege, and the ingrained societal beliefs that I unknowingly subscribed to without knowing their racist history. (An example is the concept that fatphobia arose from racist origins or “long time no see” has racist origins). Though my platform is smaller than others, I’m aware that there may have been missteps in my past that I didn’t know of because of my white privilege that may deserve to be called out publicly. And I will deserve it if that comes, because if ignorance is not a valid excuse to break a law then it’s not a valid excuse for ingrained racist tendencies.
4. Engage with the BIPOC community and avoid Tokenism
One thing that has irked me is seeing White influencers propping up a Top 10 list of POC influencers and then thinking their work is done. To me, it screams Tokenism and in my opinion, isn’t the way to handle this. I will make an effort to include more BLM-related content and engage with the BIPOC community but only in a way that is truly of value. If I promote another content creator, I want to have a reason why that isn’t just based on the color of their skin and my White guilt. If my platform is based on providing value, then what good is it to create a list of Black content creators just for the sake of making it feel like I “did” something to help?
I am absolutely open to suggestions or more ideas, so feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts.