Day One: Allyship

Not enough.

Since the election, a lot of people have been posting about wearing safety pins as an outward indication that you’re an ally. For some, it’s the first step they’ve ever taken towards allyship, which is cool. But a symbol without action, is no longer enough. It may have been co-opted as a symbol of solidarity per this Facebook post. If you wear one, make a plan about how you will react when (not if, when) you see injustice. Isobel Debrujah has a lot of information on how to get started.

If you want to be an ally, please don’t ask your People of Color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, people of faith, people of no faith, and Othered communities. And for the love of everything holy, don’t tone police them, especially not in this time of grief.

One tough thing to keep in mind: Being an ally isn’t about you. It’s not about shouting your views from the rooftops, it’s about your actions. And yes, I recognize my privilege and the irony in posting on my personal blog about how to be an ally. There’s not much more I can say on that end, so on to the resources:

  • If you see something happening, this video has a great plan of action for how to reaction.
  • Everyday Feminism has a tag on how to be an ally or a better ally. This page is updated regularly. They also published an article on How To Be A Proactive Ally.
  • Christopher Keelty does some good work on Medium about easy ways to become an ally to non-White groups. Spoiler alert: speak the hell up.
  • For a hard read on how not to treat Women of Color, check out Shannon Barber‘s “Dear White Ladies.”
  • Need some ways to start working on racial justice? Showing Up For Racial Justice has resources for you.
  • Scared for your Muslim friends? Follow CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They’ll be featured separately soon.
  • Check out the Trans* Ally Workbook to challenge what you know about gender.
  • For a heaping dose of body positivity, check out Beautiful Bodies of Birmingham.
  • If you feel alone, join the Facebook group White Nonsense RoundupThis group was founded “by white people to address our inherently racist society and stand up against racism in our own families, work spaces, and communities. We believe it is our responsibility to call out white friends, relatives, contacts, speakers, and authors who are contributing to structural racism and harming our friends of color.”
  • Call your representatives’ offices. Let them know that the civil rights of every human in their district are a priority in how you’ll vote. When election day comes around, get to your polling place and cast your ballot.

Edited at 19:30 CST on 11/13/16 to include a link on making a plan for how to be an ally. Thanks to Anna Lisa Ciaccio for the link! Edit: 11/13/16 21:43 CST to include calling representatives. Edit: 11/14/16 20:21 CST to include 5 Ways To Combat Racism video. 23:37 CST first graf edited for tone.

5 Comments

Filed under BlogLikeCrazy, Social Justice

5 responses to “Day One: Allyship

  1. I understand the frustration people have with the safety pin activism, but at the same time, I will continue to wear mine. It’s something small. It’s something I have to think about every day. When I take it off today’s shirt and put it on tomorrow’s it’s a promise to myself.
    It makes me visible. Maybe people will roll their eyes, but maybe someone who need it will see it.
    And if I do see a situation where I should step up to be a better ally, the pin is there to remind me that I’ve promised not to stay silent, to let it slide this one time.
    I’m very privileged. The things that would make me a target (outside of being a woman) are generally invisible. No one can tell my sexual preference or religion just by looking. So this is a reminder to myself maybe more than a signal to someone else.

    • Heard. I respect that and will likely wear one when I leave the house for the same reason. But many are touting it as an outward facing symbol (e.g., an advertisement of allyship) rather than as a personal reminder, and that’s my biggest problem with it. ❤

  2. Reblogged this on Medusa's Library and commented:
    My friend Clair posted this today and it seems to be consistent with some feelings I’ve also seen on Twitter. And I can’t argue with any of it. But…
    And that’s the thing. I always have a “but.”
    Here is the comment I left on Clair’s post:
    I understand the frustration people have with the safety pin activism, but at the same time, I will continue to wear mine. It’s something small. It’s something I have to think about every day. When I take it off today’s shirt and put it on tomorrow’s it’s a promise to myself.
    It makes me visible. Maybe people will roll their eyes, but maybe someone who need it will see it.
    And if I do see a situation where I should step up to be a better ally, the pin is there to remind me that I’ve promised not to stay silent, to let it slide this one time.
    I’m very privileged. The things that would make me a target (outside of being a woman) are generally invisible. No one can tell my sexual preference or religion just by looking. So this is a reminder to myself maybe more than a signal to someone else.

    So, I guess that’s where I stand. I’ll keep wearing my pin. And I absolutely LOVE the images that children’s book authors & illustrators have been doing. Because, yeah, kids need to know that the characters they love are there for them. So, I think that’s amazing too.
    Author Anne Leonard commented on a thread where I was discussing this issue over on Twitter.
    She said, “Any sort of organized resistance is going to have infiltrators. They’ll wear safety pins.” And that’s totally true.
    But, that doesn’t mean we don’t organize. And I know that there are better ways to do it than to wear safety pins. And I’m positive people who are much more competent than I am are working on it (which doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it too.) But for now, a safety pin is what I’ve got to make my promise. So, I’ll be wearing it.

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