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How to show support for co-workers of color during this time

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 14:56:02-04

Psychologist say there are ways white people can be better allies for black colleagues during this time.

Dr. Alfiee Breeland-Noble says there are things you should consider before reaching out.

First, make sure it's appropriate.

If you're polite to each other, but never really had deeper conversations before, now may not be the time. It can come off as disingenuous.

Then, think about how you would want to be approached in a time of crisis. Some people may want space, while others do want to talk.

Recognize that there may be cultural differences and be open about it.

“So, it's really all about, I'm owning our experience, our life experiences are different. I'm owning my race. I'm acknowledging your race. I'm valuing both as equally valid and I'm saying to you in plain language, ‘I want to be a support to you,’” said Breland-Noble, psychologist and founder of the AAKOMA Project.

That's a key part. You're trying to show support for them. Don't make it about you or your own validation.

You can get that message across with what Breland-Noble calls "I statements.”

“I want to communicate to you. I want to tell you that I care about you deeply, that I value you. That, you know and for some people it's important to hear that I do believe that black lives matter,” said Breland-Noble.

Breland-Noble also recommends actually speaking with your black colleague. An email or a text can seem less personal.