Allyship….. what is it?
Well let’s start with what it isn’t – Well it isn’t an identity- nor do we want to fall into the trap of another label. Rather it is a continuous process in which someone with privilege and power seeks to first learn about the experiences of a marginalized group of people, and then ultimately empathize with their challenges and then build relationships with that group of people.
Allyship is about bridging the gap between those with privilege and those without it. A person doesn’t need to know everything about the group they’re supporting in order to be an ally. They just need to commit to standing up for others even if it costs them a few moments of social discomfort (Teaching Social Justice, 2016).
An Active Doing
Allyship is a verb…. an active doing- a lifelong process of building relationships based on trust, consistency, and accountability with marginalized individuals and/or groups of people. It, therefore, should be seen as an evolution from I…We…Us
To be an Ally is to……
- Take on the struggle as your own.
- Stand up, even when you feel scared.
- Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
The role of an ally includes:
- Being able to listen and shine a spotlight on those whose voices are often unheard.
- Recognizing your own privilege and power and using that privilege to lift others up.
- Being aware of implicit biases you might have.
- Supporting the group, you’re allying by letting them speak for themselves whenever possible.
- Not expecting special recognition for being an ally, and not taking credit for the ideas of the marginalized group.
It requires braveness, vulnerability, not always getting it right but always willing to learn.