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Ally Basic Training Part 1: Stop

August 7, 2015

Stop typing. Stop talking. Stop tweeting. Stop booking face. Stop pushing your opinion, point-of-view or voice forward in any way.

Just stop.

The absolutely least that you can do as an ally is listen to the voices of those marginalized groups with whom you are trying to ally. That means you do not talk.

If you find yourself welling up with the urge to use any phrases that resemble “in my opinion,” or “from my point-of-view,” or “as a white person,” you should stifle that urge without compunction. Do not hesitate. Just stifle.

Especially if you are lucky enough to be invited into Black spaces, just stifle.

Instead of talking you should listen. You should take in the voices of the marginalized. Hear their stories and when something they say makes you uncomfortable or causes you to get defensive, good. That means they are challenging your entrenched thought process.

That’s the entire reason you are in the space; to listen, to learn, and to be challenged and challenge yourself. If you’re not doing those things then you are wrong and you need to go home until you get right.

“But I just want to help!”

That’s nice, but you cannot be helpful until you learn to listen.

The only time you take the mic is to pass it to one of the marginalized. Period.

The only time you put yourself forward is to body block for the marginalized or to create space for the marginalized to move forward. Then you step back.

If someone calls you on a mistake that you made, fucking apologize. Don’t make excuses or explain your intent. Just care that you caused pain or damage.

Practice both empathy and respect. You’ll need to practice because we are actively taught not to feel empathy or respect for the marginalized. Fight what you are taught.

Educate yourself. Before asking a question of a marginalized person fucking Google that shit. Because I’m tired of having these basic conversations over and over. If you hear a term you don’t know LOOK IT THE FUCK UP. Don’t look to us to educate you in the most basic aspects of being a good ally.

Or, you know, a decent human being.

Being an ally is not a label you can claim, it’s a process you undergo in order to improve yourself. It’s work.

Either do the work or don’t pretend that you’re an ally.

End of fucking file.

Ally Basic Training

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie Howard permalink
    August 7, 2015 12:11 PM

    thank you

  2. Belle El-Zubab permalink
    August 9, 2015 5:06 AM

    “Educate yourself. Before asking a question of a marginalized person fucking Google that shit.” Especially as many questions posed turn out to be concern trolling, rather than asked from a genuine wish to learn.

Trackbacks

  1. Ally Basic Training Part 2: Acknowledge | What a Witch
  2. Ally Basic Training Supplement: Don’t Be An Ass | What a Witch
  3. Ally Basic Training Part 3: Center | What a Witch
  4. Ally Basic Training Supplement: You Will Make Mistakes #BlackTransLiberationTuesday | What a Witch

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