White Ally FAQ

Over the years we’ve received messages of support from white folks who’ve reached out to us for a number of reasons.

Since the proportion of support has been far greater than the percentage of those who are well-intentioned but come off in offensive ways, we’ve decided to provide this FAQ for white folks who found POC Zine Project and want to be involved.


Q #1: “Hi, I am making a zine and I want to be sure that it doesn’t come off as racist or exclusionary since I forgot to do outreach with POC in my community and in many online networks readily available through a simple web search it’s “diverse.” Can you promote my call for submissions within the POC Zine community?

A #1: Thank you for considering the value that you, as a white person with privilege, can bring to DIY/punk/zine communities by collaborating with more people of color in your projects.

We’re highly conscious of the ways that well-intentioned white folks (often without being conscious of it) hastily do “outreach” within communities of color, with the Internet often being the “easiest” was to accomplish this.

Often this “outreach” and proposed “community-building” begins and ends with a call for submissions, with no follow up. This is not the type of intentional community building we’re interested in supporting.

We do not organize to make it easier for white people to find zinesters of color. We organize with POC (and white allies) to celebrate POC zinesters of color and to help them thrive.

If you, as a white person, want POC Zine Project to help you promote your call for submissions, you must understand that without additional information about your intentions and past history of working with communities color, we cannot and will not help you.

We definitely want to promote calls for submissions from white allies with a history of community building with POC. So if you feel confident that you are indeed a white ally, submit away!

If you’re ready, as a white person, to submit your call for submissions for your zine, here’s how:

1. Go to the “Ask Us Anything" form.

2. Do not use the “SUBMIT A POC ZINE” form: that is not for you - It is a method for people of color to submit information about zines by people of color and calls for submissions.

3. From “Ask Us Anything,” share the following details:

- Zine title and author/editor name w/ link to their bio or other legit homepage

- Zine topic/s

- If this zine is being created by a collective or other org, state which one and include a link

- Why do you want POC zinesters to submit to your zine?

- What will POC zinesters get out of submitting to your zine?

- How will you make this zine available to POC once its released?

- Who are you already working with in your community to find other zinesters of color for this call for submissions?

This info should be enough for us to assess whether or not it’s appropriate for us to promote your call for submissions within communities of color and on poczineproject.tumblr.com.

We do NOT accept submissions from anonymous white folks.

Q #2: I’m a white person wanting POC Zine Project to help me find a certain category of zines by POC. I have not attempted to search this Tumblr for items first before contacting POCZP, or really done any other research on my own. Why are you taking so long to get back to me?

A #2: We are not, and will never be, the “Easiest-way-for-white-people-to-research-zines-by-poc-for-school-assignments” Project. We must state this bluntly because this is an ongoing problem. Feel free to reach out with questions, but please do your own research as well … and have patience with us. If we don’t get back to you right away, it is most certainly because we are working on affirming projects/needs for other POC, and that is our primary focus: serving communities of color. Thank you.

Q #3: Why does a people of color zine project have to exist? Why can’t you just work with existing zine collectives to make their collections more diverse? I can help you help white people do this.

A #3: POC Zine Project exists because we want it to. We already work with (after a lot of evaluating and discussion) white allies in multiple ways, however, we are not - and never will be - the “help white people learn how to be more inclusive” project.

Please learn more about how to be a white ally because this question is the opposite of what’s needed in communities of color.

Q #4: I think this project is really cool and wish I had known about it a long time ago. How can I help?

A #4: Thank you for your message and question! <3 Here are some ways you can help today:

- Share our social accounts with your network:

@poczineproject, facebook.com/poczineproject, poczineproject.tumblr.com

- Buy zines made by people of color (you can find suggestions on our Tumblr and all over the web)

- Donate $ to POC Zine Project. We are going on tour in the fall of 2012 and also need financial support covering the costs of events, grants and our archiving project.

- Donate resources and volunteer time to POC Zine Project (email daniela AT dcapmedia DOT com for info)

- Reblog/email/tweet/etc. zines and zine info by people of color!

Q #5: I want to be a “good” and “real” white ally*. How do I do that?

A #5: Thank you for thinking about what it means to be an ally. However, we cannot and will not answer this question for you. Here are some examples of what NOT to do:

- Don’t expect everyone of color to educate you on how to be a white ally. That is not our job (and there is plenty of info out there and on the web).

- Don’t use excuses like “I don’t want to patronize” or “I won’t feel comfortable” to avoid supporting your POC friends’ events by attending and donating funds. POC attend your events all the time and put up with music we may not like, food that may be bland and people who may annoy us in locations that aren’t convenient - but we do it anyway to support YOU. POC always have to adjust to fit what makes white people feel comfortable in their particular scenes and at events. In fact, many of your events function in a way that only makes it possible for some POC to attend, which is exclusionary.

You are not being an ally if you don’t attend and/or contribute to events organized by POC. Period. Examine why you think it’s OK to invite POC to your events but rarely or never go to POC-led events where the music, food and location may not be your cup of tea.

- Don’t say your event is “inclusive” and then make event promotional materials that imply everyone attending is white. If all your stylized characters have “white hair” - even if everyone is clear - you’re still erasing the presence of POC. White privilege plays into why you think that this isn’t a big deal.

*White Ally: Calling yourself an ally is not the same as actually being one. Here are 10 ways to be an ally.