Saviour, Heal Thyself.

February 1, 2023
A faceless white person with hands on their hips wears a t-shirt with three superheros prominently displayed on the front.

Image credit: Kristina Paukshtite

The recent police shooting murders of Keenan Anderson, Tyre Nichols, and double amputee Anthony Lowe are a repeat of 2020.


However, this time around, there is no worldwide outcry and no black squares on social media. Instead, the void of knee-jerk outrage swoons with apathetic silence. History has again shown that "allies" do nothing with the time they demand and only recall their journey when the headlines serve as post-it note reminders. As such, and as usual, Black folx are left to advocate for change while over-exhausted and actively grieving.

Meanwhile, racism rages on.

👩🏼: Ohmygosh, Kimberley! I feel terrible. As an ally, how can I support the Black community at this time?

👩🏾: If you were truly an ally, you wouldn't lead with your feelings and self-appointed title. And instead of asking how to support, you would already be doing the work. So go review your 53 resource lists and stop asking for directions to a destination you have demonstrated no sustained interest in ever reaching.


Based on experience and historical facts, white allyship is ineffective because white folx keep trying to bandage our centuries-old wounds without addressing their broken and protruding bones. Needing to remain numb to the trauma of their roots, "good" white people are stuck in a cycle of feigned ignorance and learned helplessness to protect their privileged comfort. In doing so, they compound and continue the harm they profess to stand against.


White people who follow my work, your Black friends are too tired to tell you this, so I will:

Asking how you can support is not supportive; it's a burden. So therefore, learning how to be of support needs to become YOUR burden which requires that y'all go from listening and learning to feeling and healing.

Equity will not be achieved through intellectualizing history and casually caring about current events. Instead of running to "save" your Black friends, it would be far better for you to:

1. Resolve your relationship with your forefathers' genocidal history, which created and dominates the current state of our shared society.

2. Challenge the systems that are killing us.

Please note that you cannot simply push past this process with good vibes and intentions. Nor can your comfort sit center stage. Anything less is performative saviourism.

Unless and until you take accountability for healing yourselves, your presence will only burden the systemically oppressed. By offering your uneducated and unhealed hands, you are essentially pulling Black folx into the crash site of your ancestors' making and asking us what amid the wreckage might be of use.


When you are ready to step away from guilt and dry your weaponized tears, address your own healing before walking the streets seeking voices to amplify. Seriously, you can only advocate for someone's humanity once you actively internalize and process your own. Allyship requires that you come to the table equipped with evidence and tangibles from the overflow of your self-reckoning instead of the crumbs of your shame and sadness. I say again, anything less is saviourism, and at this *junxure* ain't nobody got time for that.

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