Be Good Listeners:
Read books, documentaries, and watch YouTube videos from black and brown voices who have lived through and thought through racism and blessed the internet or the literature world with their thoughts. If your black or brown friends desire to share with your their experiences or racism, listen with grace and NO "But what about...." Their trauma is not ours to judge but to hear when we are graced with their desire to share. They may not as it may be too painful or frustrating and that is absolutely okay and to be respected.
Also, many black and brown folks have been doing the work of organizing and calling out racist systems since America began. Never overstep here. There is more at stake for their communities and they need our support.
It is our responsibility to confront white folks, if we are white, regarding racism. However, do the work of reading up on who has already been doing what before doing so so you don't step in front of a momentum developed by others. Also, the perspectives and experiences you hear from those voices will give you a much fuller depth of what it is you need to see and speak about.
Be Thick Skinned & Tenderhearted:
When you speak about racism, be ready for texts, messages, and carefully woven conversations to frame black and brown people and you out to be the problem—even when there is video evidence. It will be framed with "they loot" (as if that nullifies the discussion) or "protect the police" (as if saying there are racist ones means you don't think any are good) in polar extremes. It will be framed as "my white loved one was once assaulted or put in danger by so and so." It will be framed in absolutes and polarized language. Of course there is always danger in the world but those nuances are important and can't nullify systemic racism. You must stay the course of nuancing and you can't take it personally (even though it is sometimes).
Yet, at the end of the day, you have to love love more than those comments you know might show up. You can't allow those frustrations to make your heart hard, just your skin. There's too much good and worthwhile to be tenderhearted about to let those things turn your heart to stone. Your tender heart is likely what helped you notice and admit to racism's profound existence in our world. Let it guide you further into the truth of what is good and bad because on the truth can set any of us free.
You can't let uncle so-and-so say those words around you anymore. You have to make Thanksgiving awkward when those racist words roll (even though uncle so-and-so really made it awkward by being racist). You have to give up the idea of being primarily liked or nice or "gets along with everyone." I love those qualities by the way! But you won't be those when you no longer hint at racism, try to change hearts through the back door, or when you realize some hearts won't change and therefore must directly challenged. You have to be bold, direct, concise, and willing to fail. Every time you post something about racism in America or say something in a group you have to brace for impact even when you couch it with humor or loving language. You'll sometimes be lumped in with everything folks hate about the other "side" pretty quickly by some and you will be talked about, receive ugly messages, or receive the quiet treatment. It will hurt.
However, you will occasionally get a message from someone in a high-density racist area who says they needed a voice to speak up and they were thankful you did. It gave them confidence to be more bold. This is why when folks say posting on social media doesn't change things—question it. There are folks who can only see voices they need to see online. You will also hear someone say they can see it now when they didn't before. You will begin giving people permission to open themselves up to the poor, oppressed, wounded—for me, the folks Jesus spent the brunt of his time with.
Never use your new found passion to challenge settler colonialism, whiteness, or white supremacy as a personal agenda to elevate yourself. Pride goes before the fall. I've known pastors who have lost jobs for speaking about racism and others who were muted by their work places when people complained they challenged the status quo. This will not be popular. Also, we are talking about people's actual lives. White folks can opt out anytime we choose but black and brown coded friends are in this fight for life. Their suffering and endurance level is the most impressive expression of character I know of in our history. Even when we suffer for speaking up, systemically we haven't endured what our black and brown friends have every time they see a new person killed and posted on social media or experience a host of microagressions. Be humble in knowing that you must speak up but you still speak from a different experience. While we should speak on our brown and black friends' behalf we should never speak over them. They have their stories to tell and we should magnify their voices whenever possible. I've heard it quoted "Scientists have found there is no center of the universe, so you can't be it." In this discussion, we must decenter ourselves. Jesus might say, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him for those who're Jesus-lovin' types. This might mean taking our phones off selfie mode at the rally or protest and placing it on others whose stories more need to be told (with their permission of course!).
Finally, as I stated earlier this discussion isn't about your platform, here are a few voices, African, Native, and European American, whose perspectives and work may help you in decolonizing your life and love: Drew GI Heart, Austin Channing Brown, Wendell Berry, Kaitlin Curtice, Michelle Alexander, Sandy Grande, David Dark, Lisa Sharon Harper, and James Cone. Google them. Listen well and love better.
I hope this is helpful to those who're tuning into a new reality. My faith community has an expression "upside down kingdom" where those at the bottom are elevated in value. Only the truth will set us free in regards to our past in halting that progress. I'm certain there are deficiencies in what I've written and I ask forgiveness for those. I've still got a long way to go but can't go backwards. I'm thankful for the black, brown, and white examples who I've learned from. Let's move forward.
Grace, Peace, & Love fam.