Let’s Talk About Allyship

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Hello everyone and welcome back to my little online space.

This post is going to be very different from most of my other posts, because this is going to be very real and a call out for everyone to do better.

I’m going to try to make this make sense and find the right words, but the truth is I’m angry, hurt and so very tired.

Nine days ago, on May 26 2020, protests broke out in the United States, and later on other countries joined in, to demand justice for George Floyd, a 46 year old Black man who was murdered by the police a day before. These protests weren’t only held for George Floyd, but for other victims of police brutality and murder, and I’ll name a few of them: Breonna Taylor, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean; and victims of murder in hands of white individuals an example is Ahmaud Arbery. These protests are about police brutality and systemic racism. These protests are about the disrespect for Black bodies and Black lives. These protests are to show and remind people that Black lives do matter. No matter how much they hate it, we do matter. These protests are about centuries worth of discrimination, hate and murder. These protests are about justice, freedom and equity.

And in this fight we need allies, because like or not we can’t do this alone. Because we need your support and your help. Because we need you to hold out your hand. Because whether we like it or not, despite how unfair it is, white and non Black voices matter to these people than Black voices. It’s despicable, but this is what we’ve come to learn. And now, we turn to this community that we trust and we see that you don’t fucking care!

This isn’t directed to the people who have actually helped. And by these people who have helped, I’m not talking about you who posted a black square on Instagram, or the person who retweeted one tweet and said you know what that’s enough activism and respect for human rights for one day, or the person who only copied and pasted one of those chain tweets. I’m talking about those who protested, donated, sent emails and signed petitions on our behalf. We do appreciate you.

Now back to the people this post is actually for. I simply cannot believe y’all. No wait, I seems I can, but I’m just disgusted and actually hurt. First, let me start with the fact that the book community is a community full of hypocrites. From the publishing houses, agents, authors, bookselling companies to creators, a lot of y’all are hypocrites. We pride ourselves in being this huge, warm, welcoming community. We pride ourselves in diversity and inclusiveness or the illusion of it, but when it comes down to it, you don’t care about Black people. You only care about the lil cookie points you get for your association with us, for reading our books and for taking in our content, content it now reveals you don’t really care about. You only want us as your token Black person. 

You talk all that good talk, but when its time to act, its crickets. 

I have so much to say, but I don’t know how to put them in words so I’ll be giving examples.

“My _ (insert book blog, bookstagram, booktube channel is my safe space.”

Oh honey, that’s sad. Guess what? This space is also supposed to be Black bookish folks safe space, but do you have any idea the discrimination and bullying we face on here. We call out injustices and correct y’all on your bad behaviour, we become the bad guys. We decide to spare ourselves the stress of it, and we still become the bad guys, because we didn’t educate you.

It’s ironic really. What we’re asking of you is to take 20 minutes out of your time. 20 minutes out of 24 fucking hours in a day, out of 1440 minutes. Just 1 part of  the 72 twenty minutes you have in one day to share information and links, to sign petitions, to donate even if its a fucking dollar. We’re asking for so little so that you can make this space safe and the world at large safer for us, but its too much. Your lil white feelings can’t take that.

 

“I have anxiety and depression, and this is stressing me out”

First, fuck you. I also have anxiety and depression. I’ve spent nights over the past few days feeling so fucking empty, crying for people who look like me. I’ve spent nights feeling tired of this existence. 

A lot of Black people suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD. A lot of literal babies are developing mental illness so young because we’re unsafe. But we have to do this, we have to fight for our right to exist. You do not experience a fraction of what Black people experience, so you cannot be as stressed as we are.

You’re stressed ok then, do you know something that isn’t stressful you can do to support? Retweet links, check up on the friends you say you have, stream videos featuring beautiful pieces of art by Black artists to help donate, opening your fucking purse!

 

“I don’t like sharing political stuff.”

Again, fuck you. Honestly, I’d even go the way of Pidgin English here, but let me not. And let me say it again, fuck you and your little uppity attitude. You don’t like sharing political stuff? How is our fundamental human right to life, political? I am asking for you to help me exist in a safer world and THAT IS POLITICAL?

 

“I don’t have the right words”

Just retweet resources, share pictures with #BlackLivesMatter, opening your fucking purse. No one is asking for your words

 

The lady who equated Black lives to infertility

I really have no words for you, except fuck you, you’re a disgusting person bringing something so many people, including Black people, struggle with and are hurt by.

“Its my space I won’t speak about it, proceeds to block Black creator and posts a black square two days later”

Do I even have to mention how performative this is?

 

“Racism doesn’t exist in Europe”

Lmao. What are you talking about? Europe is the birthplace of racism. Do you need us to pull up the names of our people who you’ve killed or imprisoned.

 

“Black people aren’t family friendly”

I’ve seen a lot of shitty stuff, but this one takes the cake. Just say you’re racist and go.

Now, that we’re done talking about y’all’s bad behaviour. Want to improve? Want to be a proper ally?

Here are ways to be a good ally:

  • Donate to bail funds and families of victims
  • Donate to other Black people in the community that need help
  • Donate to people helping out in protests
  • Stream videos to donate
  • Sign petitions
  • Go to protests. Cops respect white and, let’s face it, non Black bodies than Black people. Shield Black people at protests 
  • Retweet links. Don’t stop retweeting even as the tl moves to another new thing
  • Support Black creatives
  • Buy from Black owned bookshops
  • Buy books by Black authors
  • Publishers and agents, sign on and publish more Black authors. The racial disparity in Publishing is appalling
  • Follow Black content creators
  • Actually give books by Black authors to actual Black readers not middle aged white women on bookstagram tf!
  • Call out your anti-Black family and friends. Start the conversation! Step up and speak up for us
  • Just amplify Black voices, defend us and be a fucking good human being

 

Well, that’s the end of my post. If you don’t like this post and you can’t be bothered to care about our lives; unfollow my blog, block me on all social media my handles are right here. I don’t want to know you freaking exist, because if and when we find you, we will put you on full blast.

I’m fasting today for voluntary 6 days in the month Shawwal and I’ve cursed so many times in this post, may Allah forgive me, but I’m angry. Also, Happy Pride Month. If you don’t support Black queer people and especially Black trans people and you identify as queer or any of the identities in the community, you should be ashamed of yourself.

I’ll be linking some carrds full of ways you can help down below. Black Lives Matter. Have a fucking good day.


Carrds/Links to Help

Resources from Vicky @Vicky Again

Ways To Help gotten from Mina @MinaReadss on twitter (I also recommend watching Mina’s video where she also talks about allyship here ).

 



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28 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Allyship

  1. Rums the Reader says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us all, I’m so sorry that it has taken all this time and such a traumatic time for these pivotal conversations to be in the forefront, as they should always be and I hope the book community really does learn and does better from now on and well into the future.
    I commit myself to doing better as well as a NBPOC and ally. I hope you and other Black creators can always feel safe and receive the love and support you have always been deserving of. Sending you so much love and support 💛💛

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dahabo Wacays says:

    Absolutely agree with everything you said here Zainab. It’s so disgusting to see people who use these half-assed excuses to not stand up against racism and oppression. I wish you luck for fasting Shawwal 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Taiwo says:

    Whew you snapped! The part about how the book community is made of hypocrites is so true. I’m so tired of them. Thanks for sharing our feelings in the most eloquent way ever 😘❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. proudbookreviews says:

    I can’t imagine everything you’ve experienced. However (and feel free to hate me if you want, but remember, we have the right to free speech in most western countries) I disagree with how many people have gone about expressing this anger at the systemic issues. I agree more can be done to correct the wrongs of the past. But criticising and blaming the current generation for wrongs done in past generations doesn’t help either. Find a way to work together to build a better future where racism doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, a fact of life is, it will probably take many more generations to fully eradicate it (just like sexism) and you can’t blame and bully others because we can’t snap our fingers and brainwash the entire world into forgetting something that’s been a part of our history for thousands of yrs to end racism.

    Like

    • Sam says:

      This is a really poor take to have and I encourage you to do some research on white fragility and understand the reasons behind why what is going on is important and necessary to overhaul the systemic and racist issues. The current generation need to be held accountable because they’re perpetuating and benefiting from the ‘wrongs of the past’. Police are murdering now, racism exists now, systemic oppression exists now.

      Liked by 6 people

    • Taiwo says:

      First of all, that dig about Western countries and free speech is disgusting. It’s a purely racist statement against Nigeria and you need to do better or stfu if you don’t have enough info at hand.
      Also, everything else is you weaponizing your white woman tears while being passive aggresive because Zainab dared to call out your fake allyship. No one is blaming or “bullying” you for the centuries of racism but yes, we’re calling out your bullshit. Black people are literally being killed by the droves and you have nothing better to say than to make yourself out to be a victim?!?! Are you f**king kidding me?
      You should have ended your long-ass, idiotic comment at the very first sentence and kept the rest in your racist, white group chat. You have no right to come into the comments of a Black woman and type out bullshit like this. Next time, save us all the time and keep your f**king mouth SHUT. Now run along with yt tears 🙄

      Liked by 5 people

    • Michelle says:

      We shouldn’t blame the current generation for wrongs done?? Excuse me, do you think dead racists came back to life and are killing Black people, that it’s something that only happened years ago? It’s happening RIGHT NOW. It’s the current generation that is at fault, the current generation that is too scared to speak up, too indifferent, too stuck up in their own world, enjoying their white privilege. The current generation is racist and needs to be held accountable for their actions in order for things to change.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. veeshee says:

    Thank you for making this post. I think it is a responsibility for people with any platform to do their part in supporting this movement. Everyone is quick to say that they aren’t racist and they support anti-racist movements but few will actually do anything when the time calls for action. And sometimes, it’s necessary to call out people for being hypocritical.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sepiareads says:

    Totally agree with everything you said here Zainab. Everyone needs to support this movement. You’d think people in the book community would be more educated on this but you’re right some are total hypocrites.

    Take care of yourself ❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kal @ Reader Voracious says:

    Thank you so much for this post, and I am so sorry you had to make it to begin with. The amount of performative allyship and white tears has honestly been disgusting.

    ALSO I am so glad that The Lady Who equated Black lives to infertility got her own section, because that was som efucking BULLSHIT. There;s a reason I don’t follow white booktubers… they are the fucking WORST.

    Like

  8. Jayati says:

    Thank yo for sharing this with us. I hope you’re doing okay and staying safe – I really am sorry for what all you’ve been through.
    As an ally, I try to learn and do better each day and well, I usually just retweet stuff as I don’t know what to say and just hope that somehow, somewhere, my retweets can help spread more info and help.
    I’d love to donate but seeing as I’m a 17 yr old without a job, there’s not much I can do except support black authors and book stores by buying their books and singing petitions, so, that’s what I’ll do.

    Liked by 1 person

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