How to Be Anti-Racist and an Ally In 2020 – A Beginner’s Guide

Jun 3, 2020 9:45:20 AM / by Jessie Gibson

We believe Black Lives Matter and we will not be silent while structures that perpetuate systemic racism and inequality remain in place. We all have a lot of work to do, but as a start, as international educators we want to provide our community with resources on how to be anti-racist and allies to the black community.

The social and racial injustices highlighted by current events are unacceptable and remind us that we cannot properly support the success of our black students,  staff, faculty, and partners without addressing the impact systemic racism has on the black community in the US and around the globe.  

Black Lives Matter Graphic

We do not tolerate injustice, we believe that Black Lives Matter, and we will not be complicitIf you want to express solidarity with the movement but aren’t quite sure where to start, here are some steps you can take today:  

1) Take the Time to Educate Yourself

You don’t know what you don’t know. That is okay. What matters is that we all make a continuous effort to learn more about the nuanced challenges Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) face and how we can all be a part of fixing the structures in place that create those challengesRemember that your perspective on issues of systemic racism, police brutality, inequity, and injustice in the U.S. is only that – your own.  

It’s also important to understand that it is not the responsibility of BIPOC to educate others on issues of systemic racism and injustice. Our black friends should not be expected to be the voice for all BIPOC or validate us as allies. By putting in the work ourselveswe avoid putting them in that position. That considered, we recommend taking the time to read and digest content from black activists and content creators on their lived experiences, how to be an ally, and how to effect changeWhile this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some books, channels, and podcasts we recommend:  

Anti Racist Reading IllustrationImage by @jane_mount 




CampaignZero Garphic

Podcasts to Listen To:


Codeswitch Graphic


  • Code Switch (NPR) – “It's the fearless conversations about race that you've been waiting for”
  • What A Day (Crooked Media) – YouTuber Akilah Hughes and reporter Gideon Resnick break down the biggest news stories of the day into 15-minute episodes.
  • Small Doses With Amanda Seales, Comedian and Actress, Amanda Seales (known for her role of Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure) and her guests tackle serious issues of racism, sexism, police brutality, and addiction, infusing difficult conversations with humanity and humor.
  • 1619 (The New York Times) – “’1619’ is a New York Times audio series, hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones, that examines the long shadow of American slavery.”
  • A Complete List of Podcasts of all Genres Created by and for BIPOC: https://podcastsincolor.com/



  • @BreeNewsome – a black female artist who gained notoriety for lowering the Confederate flag outside the South Caroline capitol building. She tweets about structural racism and white power structures to educate and provide accessible resources for her followers.
  • @CheckYourPrivilege – Deepen your awareness of how your actions affect the mental health of Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color, or BBIPoC and check out their Summer “Saturday Skool” Series.
  • @Rachel.cargle – Academic, writer, and lecturer who explores the intersection of race and womanhood.
  • @EqualityLabs - A South Asian technology organization dedicated to ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance.
  • @ethelsclub – A social and wellness club designed to celebrate people of color, online and IRL.
  • @Laylasaad – Author, Me and White Supremacy
  • @iamrachelricketts – racial justice educator, spiritual activist, changemaker, and author.

2) Create a Safe Space and Focus on Just Listening

Check in on your black friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues. While many of us want to try to empathize or relate, it is important that we focus on listening to other experiences without inserting ourselves into the narrative. Set your ego aside and try not to get defensive. A safe space does not call for a “Devil’s Advocate”. Instead, focus on actively listening to what they are telling you and ask them how you can provide support.  

3) Understand You May Never Understand

Understand that you may never fully understand the challenges and injustices black folks face daily. Understand that just because you cannot relate does not mean you cannot be an ally.  

Also know that no one expects you to be an ally perfectly. We all have more to learn, more to listen to, and more ways to grow. It’s important to accept that we don’t need a few people being allies perfectly, we need everyone, every day, making the effort to be allies imperfectly. 

4) Donate & Support Initiatives

Put your money and your signature where your mouth is.

5) Start a long-term plan for how you can make a lasting impact

Think about how you can continue to make changes and keep the conversation going beyond the immediate, beyond donating, and beyond joining the protests. Will you volunteer regularly? Can you lend your professional skills to a political campaign? Can you canvas? Is there a local organization you can join to continue to support the Black community? All these things will help effect change in the long term. 

We hope this list is a helpful start for those feeling spurred into action by the recent events and protests. We know we have more work to do to help break down systemic racism and structures of inequity and that this is by no means an exhaustive list or a one-step solutionIf there is something we missed you think we should include, or if you have other suggestionfor how we can further contribute to the movement, let us know!

Topics: Diversity Abroad