Before you judge me for writing about white people, do know that I typically write about the experiences and accomplishments of Black people. However, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the good that people who are not Black have lended to the struggle. Therefore, in this commentary, I’ll top off the 5 most “wokest” and “dopest” things white men have done to help put racism on the sidelines in America.
- Matthew Cooke’s documentaries and his film shorts – Cooke took America by surprise when he launched his documentary, How to make money selling drugs in America which highly criticized the war on drugs. He further helped some Black people understand their rights under the law by releasing short films that explained what to do when stopped by police. Among other shorts, he introduced, Survivors guide to prison, Racebaiting 101 and How to get a bad cop fired. Cooke helped many realize, just because we believe something is immoral or unethical doesn’t mean it’s not lawful.
- Royce Mann’s poem – Last year, this 14-year old white boy took to the stage in a poetry slam to recite a poem he and his friend wrote titled, White boy privilege. In his poem, he shamed America by apologizing to Black people, Native Americans and more. Near the beginning of the poem, Mann said he loves his white privilege because when he sees a police officer he sees someone that is on his side. He says, it is embarrassing that we claim to live in an equal country but we don’t give anyone that is not a white man a chance to be equal.
- Senator Bernie Sanders – Not only was Senator Sanders arrested fighting for equality for Black people but his life’s work has been a consistent struggle for equality for people of color and the poor. He was chained to a Black woman in the 1960’s, fighting against segregation. He fights for health care, civil rights, economic equality and so much more. The fire in Bernie Sanders was felt by so many people during his campaign for President that he packed arenas and streets with people who wanted to hear and agreed with, his plan for America. In this America, some wanted to feel what democratic socialism is like. They called it, “The Bern.” Now, Sanders has truly started a Revolution that is inclusive of all who want to fight against the injustices we see in our everyday lives.
- Mark Ruffalo – This white man does not back down. He is an actor, an activist and a filmmaker and uses his voice to fight for the voiceless. Some criticized Ruffalo for referring to Blacks as “these people” during the Oscar’s. Others think that misstep was a teachable moment. However, Ruffalo threatened to not attend the Academy Awards because of their lack of diversity in their awards. He continues to fight against racism and criminal justice reform and said, “The entire American system is rife with a kind of white privileged racism that goes into our justice system.”
- Tim Wise – A wise man, indeed. Tim Wise has given over 600 speeches speaking out against racial injustice. An anti-racism activist and author, Wise put pressure on companies to stop doing business with the South African government during apartheid. Among others, Wise is the author of, Colorblind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity, White like me and The Pathology of Privilege: Racism.