How Can White People Be Better Allies in Racial Justice?

“What we want is for people to keep going to Thanksgiving dinner.”

Jake Neher/WDET

What can “woke” white people do — if anything — to promote racial justice in America?

A lot, actually, prominent public speaker David Campt teaches in a new allyship workshop opening this weekend. He joined Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to discuss some best practices in solidarity. 

“What we see is people in social justice saying, ‘you need to go back and deal with your community,’ but we don’t give guidance about how to do that,” he says. 

Campt, a Detroit native, emphasizes personal relationships as the key to convincing white skeptics of the realities of racism.

His workshop—opening this Saturday at the Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church in Southfield—centers around building rapport and commitment. 

“What we’re used to is slamming people and waiting for the first wrong thing they say,” Campt says. “It turns out that that is not the way to persuade, and there’s something called the backfire effect when people feel their worldview is under attack. Allies who are serious have to have a long-term commitment.” 

Kimi Riegel is the head minister of Northwest Unitarian Universalist, and said her congregation needs this workshop, especially post-election. 

“Having those tough conversations necessitates having skills,” she says. 

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full conversation


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.