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Clay Rivers
Artist, author, accidental activist, & editorial dir of Our Human Family ( and Twitter: @clayrivers
“Fieldnotes on Allyship: Achieving Equality Together,” an informal and informational guide to becoming an ally by Our Human Family.

Summer 2020, people the world over learned the United States’ ugly secret known by Black people in this country for 400 years: Black lives are regarded as having little to no value. And for any Black person who dares challenge this worldview, retribution can be sure, swift, and deadly.

In 1919, fifty-four years after the abolition of the enslavement of Black Americans and thirty-nine years after Black men were granted the right to vote, July Perry led a voter registration campaign for the Black residents of Ocoee, Florida. In response, white residents lynched him, ran all of the Black residents…

Hear ye, hear ye, all Black, Indigenous, and People of Color! Pack it up civil right advocates, it’s time to go home. We’ve got it all wrong. According to I am Jim, “being white . . . is not an actual privilege. Neither is being male, or straight or any other form of identity that the Woke target.” (We can assume by “Woke” you mean marginalized people seeking racial equity and our supporters.) No material advantages to whiteness. Nothing to see here, move along.

You may be on to something though. Now that I think about there aren’t enclaves of…

Photo by Alessandro Bellone on Unsplash

In response to a late night rant I came across last night.

Buddy, it sounds like you have not a chip, but the Rock of Gibraltar on your shoulder. Here’s why I say that. Fifteen words into your first sentence you’re name-calling (“white latte liberals”) and making unfounded accusations (“telling the rest of us how racist we all are”). Tim Wise used the word racist eight or nine times in his essay. It occurred four times in the word “anti-racist,” and four or five times as a stand-alone adjective (once when referring to spoken word or action, once in the…

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Whenever my white friends confess, I didn’t know it was this bad — it being racism — my reaction is always one of surprise and sadistic glee. As a Black man, I find it surprising that yet another white person has chosen to eschew the comfort and bliss that accompanies whiteness, in an attempt to better understand the depth and breadth of racism in a world that has so welcomed them. To me, as a Black man, their confession is a joyous sight to behold. How could it not be?

Pity that I can only give this 50 claps, Lord knows I have thousands more I'd like to give. Marley you've been a uniquely refreshing voice full of cleansing fire—and you always bring the heat. Know that you'll be missed. Thanks for the memories and insights and ballsiness to speak truth in love to white power. Maybe we'll see one another soon. I gotta go write a few more essays, clean up, and pack my shit. Safe travels, Sweets!

And to all you wonderful readers who supported Our Human Family, thanks for memories, lessons, laughs, and love. And if you'd like to stay in touch ... you know how to find me. (If not, just ask around.)

Love one another.


A mural in Minneapolis by Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez from

It’s been ten months since Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis — in front of the whole world — with subzero indifference, lethal determination, and no shred of humanity. And frankly, I’m uneasy about the whole thing.

I’ve been Black a man for a long time and the way this country goes out of its way to deny Black people justice is well documented and soul-crushing. American’s penchant for heaping generous portions of justice and mercy with a side of “benefit of the doubt” for everyone except Black people is well-documented.

That people around the world…

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Earlier this week I teleconferenced—as a guest—with a group of white folks from my alma mater working through a curriculum about allyship.

In situations where I’m a guest, my approach to talking with white people about racism is pretty laid back. I give folks the opportunity to voice their opinions so I gain a little insight into where they might fall on the racist-anti-racist continuum. When the opportunity presents itself, I take the floor and then drop a few well-chosen words.

I’m not giving the group a pass, but I was rather impressed by the lot of them. During the…

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash


Another February has come and gone and with it another Black History Month. I don’t know about you, but this one will be penned in red in my journal, and not because of the harsh wake-up call that we live in an age in which the work of artists is routinely commodified in a race to the bottom. “Right this way. Tap dance on our stage—we pay. Thirty-five cents for your first five hours, and a little less after that, of course. Think of the ‘exposure.’”

Do they not know that people go deaf from the din false promises of…

Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash

Cooking. I enjoy it almost as much as I enjoy eating. For me, food, cooking, and breaking bread with friends and family are not the endgame, together they’re a means to an end: bringing people together to explore or deepen relationships through a shared experience. For me, food, cooking, and breaking bread with friends and family are not the endgame, together they’re a means to an end: bringing people together to explore or deepen relationships through a shared experience.

Most families have food traditions for holidays. Barbecued chicken and ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, and potato salad are staples for our…

Photo by Katrin Hauf on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking about the events mentioned in my first essay. If the purpose of the condensed bully-published version of this article was to give it exposure, I’m not buying that. The article was doing just fine in the Our Human Family publication. Cocoa Griot’s original Underground Railroad article garnered upward of 4,000 claps. Kelli María Korducki, senior Medium editor and writer of the truncated and hijacked version, failed to include a link to the publication and more important to the writer. That’s a major oversight if the purpose of absconding with the article was to “give it exposure.”


Clay Rivers

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