What White Influencers Can Do To Support Racial Justice

      • It took me a long time to start to talk about social justice issues on my platform. 

        And when I did, I quickly realised it wasn’t enough to just talk about these issues once in a while. 

        I had to overhaul my message, my content, my products - my entire business - because I was part of the problem. 

        We can’t talk about racial justice issues without interrogating how we ourselves have been complicit, how we ourselves benefit from white supremacy, how we ourselves have caused harm. 

        From personal experience, I know that talking about any sort of social justice issue on social media is not easy. TBN "not easy" is an understatement - it's one of the most difficult actions I have taken in my life. Which in itself, says a lot about my own privilege. 

      • But if you have privilege, especially white privilege, and any kind of an audience, I believe that social justice must be a part of our regular content, AND a part of our business model. We cannot share a post (or a "black square"), tick it off our list and get back to business tomorrow. This is work that needs to be done 365 days a year. 

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There's no "right" way to do anti-racism work.
  • If you choose to do this work in public, you will make mistakes - lots of them. You will get called-out, you’ll get defensive, your mental health may be impacted, you’ll apologise, maybe your apology will make things worse, you might get cancelled. 

    If you’ve found talking about racial justice issues hard - yeh it’s not easy being held accountable, it can take a toll on your mental health, it’s stressful when your financial livelihood as an influencer is threatened.

  • And because doing the work in public is “hard”, instead of speaking about racial justice issues publicly in any meaningful, impactful way, we white influencers say that we are “listening and learning”.  But by choosing to do our learning offline, not only are we learning in a vacuum, the truth of the matter is that all we are really doing is protecting ourselves, and our “brand”.

  • I know that many white influencers are staying quiet, hoping this “blows over”, waiting to return to business as usual.

  • I’ve been there, too. I spent the first 4 years as an “influencer” terrified to speak publicly about any social justice issues (even though there were many topics I was passionate about), because I knew it would polarise my audience, people would unfollow me, and brand partnerships and sponsorships would be negatively impacted. ALL of those things happened.  

  • If you do this work in public - you will cause harm (Sassy Latte taught me this early on in my journey, and Andrea Ranae recently did a brilliant Instagram post on this topic). That sounds harsh, but it’s just the truth of it. And believe me, whatever you did in the past - being ignorant, staying silent - that’s harmful, too. I also strongly recommend hiring a Black femme to advise and consult with you as you do this work, to lessen the harm you will cause.

  • But all of that is how you give up some of your power -  which Sassy Latte taught me is what really needs to happen for true change to happen. It’s not about “diversity and inclusion” - it’s about white people being willing to give up their power and advantages. Speaking about racial justice issues shouldn't amplify your voice, your brand shouldn't benefit from your new found "wokeness".

  • But if we truly want to be an ally, if we truly want to dismantle white supremacy, is there really any alternative?

  • I’m committed to speaking out more about racial justice issues, especially as they pertain to the fitness, health and wellness industries. I'm committed to taking action within my own business, to implement what I lear and to create an impact that lasts. Here are some tangible things I'm doing to learn about and act against racism:

  1. Paying and learning from black folk. I've signed up to Chrissy King's anti-racism course for Wellness Professionals (classes are still available for June 15, 16 and 17 - you can sign up HERE) and Monique Melton's Anti-Racism Course (Monique has lots of different courses you can sign up for!).
  2. Continuing to diversify my social media feed and support black-run brands and influencers, by buying from them, engaging in their posts, and recommending them to my audience. See the highlight "Black Health" on my Instagram Page for some of my fav Black creators in the fitness, nutrition and wellness spaces!
  3. Educating myself further on racial justice, the racist roots of diet culture and the Social Determinants of Health, and sharing those learnings with my audience. Sassy Latte recently shared their list of Racial Justice books and resources which I'm working my way through. I'm currently re-reading Fearing the Black Body, by Sabrina Strings, and I found the recent article The Racist Roots of Fighting Obesity  in the Scientific American especially eye-opening.
  4. Donating regularly - I've made personal donations to @thelovelandfoundation, @blklivesmatter, and @nationalbailout. I am also working to make philanthropy part of my business model and donate a % of Work It with MG profits to charity.
  5. Making my services affordable and accessible to all folk - I currently offer a Pay What You Can Afford option for access to my Work It with MG app, and I've been thinking of other ways to make my services and products more accessible.
  6. Calling-in racism when I see it. This includes having uncomfortable conversations with my friends and family, and facilitating conversations with my audience.

There's a lot that needs to change, and we can all take action to make it happen. We don't all have to be activists, but we can allow our activism to inform and influence our lives.

Love, Maddy xx