Being A Better Ally to Our
Black Brothers and Sisters
Created by Victoria Alexander, 2020
Sigma Delta Tau’s Commitment to Anti-Racism
Sigma Delta Tau is deeply committed to upholding the values of individuality, connection, community, engagement, and empowerment. In light of recent acts of hate, violence, discrimination, and racism, we call upon all members to heighten our levels of awareness on the topics of racism and discrimination, educate ourselves and others, interrogate systems of oppression, and act as allies to Black communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups.
Acts of hate and racism, as well as silence in the face of these acts, directly contradict our mission to instill ideals in the hearts of our members as will result in the actions worthy of the highest precepts of true womanhood, democracy, and humanity. Now more than ever, Sigma Delta Tau will aim to speak out against racism and hate in all of its forms, and educate our members to be more active, affirming, and anti-racist democratic participants. We recognize that our words are not enough and look forward to demonstrating this commitment to justice through action. This guide is created specifically to aid in allyship for Black communities. We will work to provide guides to support other forms of allyship shortly.
To our Black sisters and sisters of color; we see you, we hear you, we mourn with you, we stand with you and we love you.
Structural Racism vs Individual Racism
Racism describes a system of power and oppression/advantage and disadvantage based on race. Structural racism is a system, or series of systems, in which institutional practices, laws, policies, social- cultural standards, and socio-political decisions establish and reinforce norms that perpetuate racial group inequities. Within the context of the United State of America, and other nations, structural racism takes the form of white supremacy; the preferential treatment, privilege, power, access, networks, and access to opportunities available to white people, which often designate communities of color to chronic adverse outcomes.
Individual racism refers to a person’s racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviors. Individual racism stems from conscious and unconscious bias and is reinforced by structural racism. Please visit the list of books, videos, movies, and TV shows within this guide to learn more about how racism functions and affects all of our day-to-day lives.
Implicit bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. These are mental shortcuts that help us more easily make sense of our incredibly complex world. These biases, which encompass both favorable and unfavorable assessments, are activated involuntarily and without an individual’s awareness or intentional control. These associations develop over the course of a lifetime beginning at a very early age through exposure to direct and indirect messages.
We all have implicit biases, no matter our identities and regardless of how educated we are on the topic. These biases manifest themselves in ways that have impacts we may not desire.
Have you ever had a knee-jerk reaction or thought related to a person or situation, and then thought to yourself something like “That wasn’t cool of me” or “No, that is not the right thing to think;” that is your implicit bias and then your active consciousness reconsidering that bias.
It is difficult for many of us to talk about implicit or explicit bias; we are often brought up to believe that we live in a “just world,” that we treat people how they should be treated and as a result people get what they deserve. Bias directly contradicts that world view and our self or group concept.
Though we can learn and internalize these messages and biases very early in our lives, implicit biases are malleable and the associations we form can be unlearned. You engaging with this resource guide, in a meaningful way, lets us know that you are interested in learning how to shift your implicit biases toward an anti-racist lens. To learn more about how bias is learned. internalized, unlearned, and changed, please visit the list of books, articles, tv shows, and movies included in this guide.