Unlearning internal and external systems of white supremacy is a complicated and painstaking process. I propose that being pro-Black is shortcut through the maze of the construction of race, the history of rape and murder, the policy and legal systematic attempt to destroy Black people and the resulting fabrication of whiteness. A shortcut may not be the right word, but it is a common denominator that can be a starting point for assessing the actions, belief systems, interactions or lack of that perpetuate this racist system.
It is easy to be anti-racist, at least in “liberal” circles. First it would be a challenge to announce oneself as being pro-racist. Second we are a contrarian social group in which our views are highlighted in competition or contrast to each other. But it is a huge cop-out to attempt to change society simply from the ingredients of being anti-racist – it is a passive position that let’s people off the hook simply by not being racist.
So what might it mean to be Pro-Black.
First an ally has to recognize that it may feel weird to use it as the standard, because whiteness has set-up systems of valuation and judgement to normalize the hierarchy built on race; examples of such are the SATs, Intelligence tests, credit scores, health indicators, what is deemed “popular” or “the norm”. People much smarter than myself have researched and provided significant evidence as to how these mechanisms either originate or perpetuate racist systems.
Second an ally has make explicit commitments to support the ideas, efforts, businesses, projects, philosophy and reasoning of Black folk. Now this gets tricky with the forms of cultural appropriation, fetishization, absorption, columbusing, integration, consuming and subsuming that operates within whiteness. But I would argue that if it is an exchange of things of value: money, jobs, access, invitation, accolade, celebration – that the ally would be participating in either way, better it be based on pro-blackness.
Third an ally has to diminish their sense of ownership, authority, expertness, space, righteousness etc. in this world. Nope your ivy league education doesn’t make you any smarter, nope your lack of money is not the same, nope your feelings do not matter. I have written about this in prior posts (links below). And this is where it takes some internal work, some self-examination, and time committed to trying to get this right; all the while knowing that right is impossible in a world build on the backs of Black labor, on the destruction of indigenous resources, and the theft of credit and awards.