Being An Ally
How Can I...
I have titled this blog series “How Can I?” The idea is that as I offer information and share my experiences about racism, readers might feel motivated into taking action steps to further their education. Today’s blog is entitled “How can I be an ally?”
An ally is a member of the majority group, who works to end oppression in his or her personal life through support of, and as an advocate for, the oppressed population. In plainer words, an ally is someone who sees that oppression exists for others and does all they can to stop it.
Allies know that they are not part of the community being oppressed. I, as a Turkish-Cypriot woman, who is not part of the BIPOC community, cannot know the experiences this oppressed community has faced, but I can make an effort to better understand the oppression they face. Allies may have more privilege and can use their voices alongside oppressed ones.
Why is being an ally important? Being an ally or aspiring to be one is important because we all need to unite and fight the oppression that the BIPOC community face in this country.
What can you do to be an ally?
- Be open to listening. The goal here is to learn from what others want to share.
- Be aware of implicit biases. People may have attitudes toward certain things and might not even realize it.
- Research the real history of America. What you learned in school is not exactly accurate.
- Figure out how you participate in oppressive systems. Many of us act in ways that perpetuate oppression without understanding what we are doing.
- Play your part in changing oppressive systems and behaviors. Use your voice to demand change.
- Amplify historically suppressed voices. Choose to read about BIPOC experiences.
- Put a stop to racist comments. Learn how to respond when you hear something offensive.
We are all a work in progress, and progress takes time. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips. If something is confusing, or we don’t understand, Google is always available. Not knowing is not an excuse anymore. Do what you can.
For more information on being a better ally, read this Guide to Allyship.
The next blog of this series will be about how to educate ourselves and what resources to use.