Black@ Allyship & Activism Guide 2.0
Last year Airbnb published a guide designed by the company’s Black@ employee resource group to help interested people become better allies. The guide has been updated to reflect additional references to work from activists and experts in antiracism.
Injustice exists and many different people face it daily. For many Black people around the world, injustice ranges from microaggressions*, such as a woman clutching her purse when she approaches a Black man or a person telling a Black woman she “speaks well,” to acts of violence, including killings at the hands of the police or others who believe they are within their right to invalidate a Black person’s life.
When many of these instances come to light by way of social media or the news, people want to find ways to help. In 2020, during the “summer of racial reckoning,” we saw people participate in marches and spontaneous protests all around the world; engage in online activism by sharing posts; participate in solidarity activities like kneeling in support of George Floyd; running in support of Ahmaud Arbery; and singing, “We are not afraid” in support of Breonna Taylor. While acts like these are important and help to underscore the power that can come from unity, there is more that can be done to truly advance the cause of justice. Actions may look different based on how you exist in the world, but ultimately, everyone has a role to play in creating a more equitable society.
If we are to advance the cause of racial justice, we must act not only when we are outraged, but also in the quiet moments. Realizing the promise of racial justice means changing attitudes and beliefs, which ultimately leads to changed actions and outcomes.
Allyship in Action
Almost a year since writing the first draft of this document, we continue to find ourselves at critical juncture points where inequities against the Black community, often at the hands of law enforcement, are followed by a lack of accountability. The questions we are asking about these issues, and the challenges we take on, are a reflection of where we are in our understanding of the paradigm at work.
If you find yourself asking “When will this end?,” realize the larger system is functioning as designed and intended. It will not end until we commit to protecting Belonging at all costs: in our systems, in our institutions, on our streets, and in the way that we share and use power.
At this inflection point we invite you to reflect on your allyship, specifically, over the past year:
- How have you shown up?
- When have you not shown up?
- In what ways has your allyship been purely performative, inconsequential, self-serving or for the approval of your peers and colleagues?
- Who is benefiting from your activism and how?
- In what ways are you indifferent or apathetic to the status quo?
- In what ways have you been an obstacle or a hindrance to the advancement of People of Color?
- In what ways have you undermined your colleagues’ visibility and opportunities?
Moving past performative allyship begins with everyday Allyship in Action (see Allyship Phases II and III, below). Like most things in life, Allyship in Action takes practice, ongoing effort and doesn’t happen without making mistakes. Even if you have not been the perfect ally, you will have many more opportunities to continue to show up and grow in your journey. The end of racial injustice requires your commitment.
Purpose of this document
This document was created to help interested people become better allies and has been designed and updated by Airbnb’s Black@ employee resource group. What follows is a guide for allies: learnings and actions Airbnb’s global Black employees want allies to explore in order to better support them. The knowledge and insights, from activists and experts in antiracism, can help start someone on their journey of learning or advance someone’s growth. Being an ally does not start and stop during moments of convenience and inconvenience. Being an ally is a journey of commitment to understanding the dynamic realities marginalized people face, while confronting the role the one’s privileges have played in creating and cementing those realities.
The journey starts by understanding social privilege, or a special, unearned advantage or entitlement, used to one’s own benefit or to the detriment of others. Groups can be advantaged (or disadvantaged) based on ethnic or racial category, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, age, and/or social class. There are a range of ways to use one’s own privilege to help marginalized communities.
At the start, Phase I, one begins to be an ally, where a person with privilege seeks to understand the experiences of marginalized people and empathize with those experiences.
Phase II begins when people leverage their own privilege to create space for marginalized people, particularly where those people might not have been able to exist, or step back themselves and allow for those who are marginalized people to step up.
Finally, in Phase III, one is actively working to dismantle the structures of privilege, even one’s own privilege, that keep others in a marginalized position.
STEP 1 : First take this test to understand hidden biases that you may have developed : Implicit Association Test (IAT) by Harvard
- Be an active ally
- Proactively question ways bias and racism show up daily in your community, and consider ways you can impart change
- Do not remain silent during moments of injustice. Be heard so that others know that you do not condone injustice
- Consider taking action to close the racial wealth gap by sharing your salary data to ensure equity, or advocate for Black talent to be hired, promoted and retained
During public outcries and uprisings
- Demand justice by supporting online petitions where Black people have been mistreated or by making calls to local leaders
- Leverage your own networks to help educate others about the injustice that has occurred
- Show up and make your voice heard: If you are a white ally, you can march with Black protesters or form a line to defend them
- Financially support Black, Indigenous and/or People of Color (BIPOC) Led organizations, in moments when there aren’t active protests, as well as local organizations on the ground in the impacted place(s) in moments of active protests
- Direct other people to the resources you find and are supporting, including voices who are educating you about the issues
- If your relationship warrants it, check in on your friends and colleagues, particularly those who are Black, from a place of support
- If you manage Black employees, be sensitive to the trauma that they are dealing with when one of these instances occurs and manage with compassion
During perceived calm
- Here is a list of anti-racism resources; Educate yourself about the history of inequities that have marginalized Black people
- Engage in a Daring Discussion with someone about a topic that you don’t understand or would like to understand better
- Support national and local organizations who are working to uplift, center, empower and liberate Black people and communities – preferably those that are Black led
- Educate yourself about the laws and policies that will negatively impact Black communities and advocate against them
- Support elected officials and candidates with agendas that support the voices of the most marginalized people
- Get civically engaged by voting in every election, but also supporting efforts to protect people’s right to vote (like volunteering for election protection, participating in get-out-the-vote activities, or advocating for legislation that expands the right to vote)
In Support of the Black Community:
- #BuyBlack – support Black owned Businesses
- #BankBlack – Diversify your banking options and open a bank account with a Black-owned Bank
In Support of Daunte Wright:
- Review Minnesota Coalition’s list of bills aimed at advancing police reform
- Learn about ‘Operation Safety Net’ and the petition to dismantle it
- Donate to community organizer Paige Ingram as she raises funds for Daunte’s neighborhood, Brooklyn Center
In Support of Adam Toledo:
- Explore the Peace Book proposal, a neighborhood approach to investing in Chicago kids, created by GoodKids MadCity collective
- Catch up on The Collaborative for Community Wellness and their petition to change Chicago’s response to mental health emergencies
- Donate to organizations working in Adam’s Little Village neighborhood like Increase The Peace, a Southwest Chicago violence prevention effort, and Erie Neighborhood House, a youth development program
In Support of Breonna Taylor:
- Donate to Christopher 2X Game Changers, a Louisville nonprofit focused on early education and recommended by Breonna Taylor’s mom
- Read the letter Breonna’s mom, Tamika Palmer, wrote to the Biden administration in 2020 and explore her outstanding asks for police accountability
In Support of Police Reform:
- Advocate for the passage of the police reform bills in Congress as well as your state legislature
- Advocate for police reforms as noted by the lawyers for these three cases
- Learn about the Breathe Act and how it may differ from the Justice in Policing Act
- Uncover opportunities for reform in your community with the Toolkit for Equitable Public Safety
Learn the Basics on How Policing Impacts the Black Community:
Visit Breathing Room’s Necessary Trouble Toolkit to educate yourself on the history of policing, how to influence policies and laws, and quick actions you can take to initiate change
- Mapping Police Violence examines instances of police violence, including occurrences by location and by victim skin color
- Report on household wealth, looking back 30 years, produced by Inequality.org
- The Citizens Police Data Project collects and publishes data on police misconduct in Chicago
Daring Discussion Guides
The goal of “Daring Discussions” is for participants on different sides of a given issue to learn about one another’s personal experiences and perspectives as a starting place to gain compassion, build respect, and form stronger relationships. Participants are asked to avoid judgment, defensiveness, and anger and to try to express any negative feelings and different views constructively from a place of giving as opposed to being oppositional or needing to be right.
To become an ally, you must seek understanding of the lived experiences of a particular person or group of people. Here is the Daring Discussions toolkit to help guide you through meaningful conversations with someone about a topic or set of topics that will help you build empathy and compassion for marginalized people.
- 20+ Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community by Michelle Kim
- 103 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack
- Anti-racism resources from Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein
- BLM: A Playlist from @AyoTristan
- Revolution: A Playlist from Rachel Cargle
- Your Allyship & Black Racial Trauma by Black@ Co-Lead Simone Harvey
The list below is not exhaustive and should be considered a starting point for anyone looking to learn more about the history of inequities and how they were created. There are many other articles, books, podcasts, and media you can use to further your own self-awareness.
- A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland by DaMaris B. Hill
- Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.
- Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt
- Blind Spot by Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
- From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton
- How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson
- Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King jr.
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change The World, and Become A Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
- Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy
- Raising Our Hands: How White Women Can Stop Avoiding Hard Conversations, Start Accepting Responsibility, and Find Our Place on the New Frontlines by Jenna Arnold
- Slavery By Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon
- So you want to talk about race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (a version of Stamped From The Beginning for readers ages 12+)
- State of Emergency: How We Win In the Country We Built by Tamika Mallory
- Tears We Cannot Stop by Michael Eric Dyson
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
- The Whiteness of Wealth: How the Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans – and How We Can Fix It by Dorothy A. Brown
- Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes affect us and what we can do by Claude Steele
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- The 1619 Project from the New York Times Magazine
- Affirming Black Lives without Inducing Trauma from Learning For Justice
- Bear Witness, Record, De-escalate; How race may affect what bystanders are called to do in cases like George Floyd’s by Lorenzo Reyes
- The Enduring Solidarity of Whiteness (Paywall) by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Intersectionality Wars by Jane Coaston
- The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh
- Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life from American Psychologist
- We Need Co-conspirators Not Allies: How White Americans Can Fight Racism by Rose Hackman
- What is Intersectionality and What Does It Have to Do with Me? from YWCA Boston
- Why We Need to Talk About Race from Oprah.com
- 1619 Audio Series hosted by Nikole Hannah-Jones
- Code Switch hosted by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Gene Demby
- Identity Politics hosted by Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali
- The Nod hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings
- On One with Angela Rye
- Pod Save the People hosted by DeRay Mckesson
- Seeing White hosted by John Biewen
- The Stoop hosted by Leila Day and Hana Baba
- Street Politicians hosted by Tamika Mallory and Mysonne The General
- 5 Tips For Being An Ally by Franchesca Ramsey
- 13th directed by Ava DuVernay
- Just Mercy produced by Warner Bros
- King in the Wilderness produced by HBO
- Shifting the Narrative hosted by Trans Women of Color Collective
- The Urgency of Intersectionality Ted Talk by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- What Matters produced by Black Lives Matter
Here are some of the organizations Airbnb has supported or currently works with:
- Color Of Change
- Data For Black Lives
- National Action Network
- National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
- National Council of Negro Women
- National Urban League
- Rainbow PUSH
- United Negro College Fund
Here are other great organizations you can support:
- A New Way of Life
- Black Alliance for Just Immigration
- Black Voters Matter Fund
- Black Youth Project 100
- Campaign Zero
- Center for Policing Equity
- Dream Defenders
- Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
- Equal Justice Institute
- Families against Mandatory Minimums
- Higher Heights for America
- Marsha P. Johnson Institute
- Movement for Black Lives
- National Bail Out Fund
- National Black Disability Coalition
- National Black Justice Coalition
- National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
- National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
- National Police Accountability Project
- Sisters Lead Sisters Vote
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- The Arc of Justice
- The Collective PAC
- The Sentencing Project
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund
- Until Freedom
- Your Local Black Lives Matter Chapter
*Microagressions are a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.