Checklist for white allies against racism
How often do you behave as an ally to people of color?
Adapted from notes from John Raible: "I devised this checklist after
thinking, as a person of color, about the white people I know with whom
I have developed some degree of trust. I wanted to articulate the specific
behaviors I see them engaging in which lead me to appreciate their actions
on behalf of students of color and against racism in general."
Read through the checklist to get a feel for what constitutes "ally
behavior" on the part of white anti-racists.
How many apply to you! Use this scoring scale: 4 = all the time 3 =
most of the time 2 = some of the time 1 = rarely 0 = never
- _____ I am present at meetings to make sure anti-racism is part of
- _____ I demonstrate knowledge and awareness of the issues of racism.
- _____ I use the language and political worldview of anti-racism.
- _____ I continually educate myself and others about racism.
- _____ I recognize my own limitations as a white person doing anti-racist
- _____ I raise issues about racism over and over, both in public and
- _____ I realize "it's not about me." I can be objective
and avoid over-personalizing issues that people of color raise.
- _____ I can identify racism as it is happening.
- _____ I can strategize and work in coalition with others to advance
- _____ I attend to group dynamics to ensure the inclusion of people
- _____ I support and validate the comments and actions of people of
color and other allies. (But not in a paternalistic manner!)
- _____ I strive to share power with people of color.
- _____ I take a personal interest in the lives and welfare of individual
people of color.
- _____ I use my privilege to communicate information from the dominant
group to people of color.
- _____ I hold high expectations for people of color.
- _____ I reach out to initiate contact with people of color.
- _____ I listen carefully so that I am more likely to understand the
needs of people of color.
- _____ I can adopt and articulate a person of color's point of view
when it may be helpful.
- _____ I can accept leadership from people of color.
Part II (Includes the characteristics in Part 1)
- _____ I work side-by-side with people of color on tasks, projects,
- _____ I can debrief with people of color to give and receive "reality
checks" and affirmations after meetings, events, and actions.
- _____ I readily understand–with no explanations necessary–a person
of color's position or perception.
- _____ I have joking relationships with individual people of color.
- _____ I can vent with and be present for people of color when they
need to vent feelings about racism.
- _____ I debate issues with people of color and take their ideas seriously.
- _____ I take risks in relating to people of color and take their
- _____ I demonstrate shared values with people of color, for example,
impatience with the rate of change, anger and injustice, etc.
- _____ I know the private lives and families of friends who are people
- _____ I can relax and socialize and be at ease with people of color.
Part III - The following are some problematic areas where white people
seem to get stuck. Do they apply to you?
Copyright 1994 by John Raible
- _____ I am not clear on the words people of color prefer to use to
- _____ When people of color point out racism as it is happening, I
feel personally attacked.
- _____ I rely on people of color for education about my own (& institutional)
- _____ I use meetings and organizing time to establish my anti-racist
- _____ It is important to me to point out examples of "reverse racism"
when I see them.
- _____ I have been told I act in a racist manner without knowing it,
but I think I'm being an ally.
- _____ I speak for people of color and attempt to explain their
- _____ I focus on mediating between people of color for other whites.
- _____ I see my role as interpreting the behavior of people of color
for other whites.
- _____ I prefer to spend anti-racist time & energy dealing with my
personal feelings and issues rather than moving the anti-racist agenda
- _____ I intellectualize about the struggle rather than live it daily.
- _____ I wait for people of color to raise white people's awareness.
- _____ I know well fewer than five individual peers who are people
Created by Kathryn Russell
SUNY Cortland - Philosophy
Last modified on 1-04-01