The phrase “thank Black women” has been uttered many, many times this year, but there are more ways to support Black women in 2018 than to simply thank us. It’s true; Black women as a group are often on the forefront of political and social movements, but only hearing “thank you” after performing so much mental, emotional, and physical labor is actually really insulting. Think about it: Would you expect a “thank you” to serve as payment after a doctor saves your life? And would you expect her to keep saving your life after not being paid sufficiently the first time? The answer is no.
Even if Black women aren’t literally saving your life, our labor has been historically undervalued since we’ve been in this country. And today, we still are underpaid despite being educated, hard workers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Black women make around 67 percent of what white men make for doing the same jobs. That’s ridiculous, but you (yes, you!) have the power to change that. Ahead, find a few ideas of how you can be intentional in supporting Black women in the new year.
Believe Black Women
Only Black women know what being a Black woman in the United States is like, so believe what we say, and don’t try to invalidate it with statements that will make you feel better. Please leave “not all men” and “not all white women” in 2017.
Hire Black Women
If you’re in the position to hire folks, hire a Black woman. A lot of hiring managers hire folks based on recommendations from people in their network, but studies show most white people don’t even know many Black people on a personal level. There’s always a qualified Black woman out there for any job. Do some additional outreach and find her.
Tip Black Women
You’ve seen the Patreon and Cash App links in Black women’s bios. Drop a few dollars in them every now and then. You’re likely already benefiting from their content; tipping is greatly appreciated.
Donate to Black Women-Led Organizations
Black women-led organizations help advance more Black women. Monetary support can help them keep making a positive difference in their communities.
Donate Directly to Individual Black Women
When disaster strikes, many people’s first inclination is to give to large organizations like the Red Cross. Instead, you can give your money directly to individual Black women. You’ll know they received it, and a direct donation allows them to spend the money how they need to.
Elect Black Women
There are several elections coming up in 2018, and that means you have the opportunity to elect new leaders who represent your values. Find out which Black women are running for office, and if you agree with their platform, be sure you vote for them.
Amplify Black Women’s Voices
Men (and white women) do this sneaky little thing where they try to steal Black women’s ideas and pass them off as their own (see: hepeating and whepeating). If you do this, stop it immediately. And if you witness it, point out where the idea originated and give credit where credit is due. This strategy is called amplification and it really works.
Share Black Women’s Content
Even if you can’t afford to hire a Black woman, someone in your network might have that ability. If you come across a compelling article, Twitter thread, drawing, or any other kind of content from a Black woman, share it on your social media. Many people have received paying gigs from social media shares, so don’t assume a retweet can’t make a difference.
Protect Black Women
Many Black women are survivors of police brutality and domestic violence, and are disproportionately affected by these issues because of their multiple marginalization. As an ally, you can use your privilege to raise awareness about these issues, practice bystander awareness and intervention, and shelter or otherwise physically protect women who are in harm’s way.
Listen To Black Women
If this America listened to Black women, a lot of bad stuff could’ve been avoided. Be intentional about listening to Black women and amplifying what we have to say in 2018.
Treat Black Women Like We’re Human
Black women aren’t deities sent here to save America. We’re human. (Shocker, I know.) Treat us as such. We have feelings, and we have our own selfish motivations for our political and social actions.
In 2018, commit yourself to supporting Black women in more tangible ways. “Thank you” is nice to say, but following up those sentiments with actions is even nicer.