Everyday we have the opportunity to do better when we know better. I am constantly learning how to be a better ally and actively dismantle colonialist structures.
Things we can do to be better allies:
- LISTEN to people’s lived experience. And I mean actually *listen*. None of this waiting for your turn to talk, or invalidating others’ experience by forcing your own narrative. Listen more, and talk less.
- READ and read and read. And when you think you have read enough, keep reading. Read about other cultures FROM people in those cultures. Read about other identities FROM people with those identities. Read about systemic racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, etc. FROM people who actually experience these things.
- Search out opportunities where you can support marginalized groups. There are so many ways to be an ally—volunteering time, making monetary contributions, or spreading awareness in daily conversation, just to name a few. (When it comes to volunteering time or giving money, be sure to check if the organization you’re working with actually benefits the community and represents its needs. It’s great you want to help, but make sure it’s the right help.)
- Challenge your biases and speak up when others act in harmful ways out of theirs. There is no space for casual racism (or any “ism” or “phobia”), as that is the gateway to overt acts. You, as an ally, have so much power to stop microaggressions in their tracks.
- Understand intent is not the same as impact. You can still be harmful even when your intent is to help or relate. Acknowledge the harm you cause when people bring it up. Internalize, apologize, then do better next time. We are all learning!
- BE WILLING. Willing to ask, willing to acknowledge, willing to learn, willing to change. Also be willing to do the work before you ask. We have SO much information at our fingertips because of the internet. If you Google something, I can near guarantee you you’ll find useful info. If you find something that’s conflicting, or it still isn’t clear on how to proceed, then it’s appropriate to reach out. And when you do reach out, see if other folks who aren’t affected know the 411, then reach out to those you know who are affected. It is not the job of the oppressed to educate the oppressor.
- Diversify your media! Buy books from queer disabled, and/or BIPOC owned bookstores. Seek out podcasts, movies, and shows that exemplify queer, disabled, and/or BIPOC life. Immerse yourself in queer, disabled, and/or BIPOC art and music. Follow content creators of diverse, marginalized identities. And I’m talking about media that isn’t just trauma-focused or restricted to the past. It’s important to witness joy in the now within these communities too.
Disclaimer: If you read *any* of my material and feel I’m misguided and have resources you’d like to share to have me edit my content, PLEASE reach out through the “contact” tab on the main menu. Like I said, I am learning everyday, and I am always willing to change for the better.