Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Being an Ally (under construction)

Let me preface this by saying I don't feel 100% qualified to teach anybody on how to be an ally.  I still make mistakes and piss off the people I love.  If you're coming to a place where you realize things are messed up and are starting to see for yourself that "privilege" isn't just an insult people are hurling at you, but a real, personal obstacle you're facing in fighting for a more just society, it's a great time to start reading the basics of being an ally.

"How to Be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege"

"How to Be an Ally"

Or a quick check-list from http://www.uua.org/lgbt/witness/26942.shtml:

How to Be a Strong Ally to People with Marginalized Identities

  • Assume that oppression in some form is everywhere, everyday.
  • Notice how oppressions are denied, minimized, and justified.
  • Read books and articles to increase your understanding of, and sensitivity to, the needs, aspirations, and concerns of others.
  • Understand and learn from the history of racism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc.
  • Understand the connections between oppressions, economic issues, and other forms of injustice.
  • Take a stand against injustice.
  • Be strategic. Decide what is important to challenge and what is not.
  • Intervene when someone disrespects or demeans another because of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, economic status, etc.
  • Support the leadership of people who have historically been oppressed.
  • Don’t do it alone. Build coalitions and networks, work with already established groups.
  • Talk with your children and other young people about oppression.
  • Work to bridge differences rather than insist on similarity of views.
  • Learn as much as you can about the shifting tactics of hate groups.
  • Don’t assume you know what’s best for an individual or group.
  • Listen to the stories, experiences, and voices of others.
  • Reflect on the impact of your own background and challenge your own cultural assumptions.
  • Notice who is the center of attention and who is the center of power.
  • Eliminate outdated and unhelpful terms such as “minority, oriental, handicapped, homo, etc.”
  • Write letters to the editors and management of newspapers, television and radio stations expressing support for efforts to reduce prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.
  • Notice and name dynamics of privilege and oppression that occur in coalitions.
  • Form partnerships with communities and congregations of color.
  • Work with advocacy groups for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people’s rights.
  • Connect service efforts with advocacy for economic justice.
  • Create accessible spaces and communities.

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