Yesterday I talked about allyship and I wasn't as clear as I could have been. People have asked questions and said they didn't understand, so I'm going to try again.
If you are just recognizing how prevalent how racism is or just waking up to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is tempting to call yourself an ally because you believe that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated justly. But be careful with the way you present yourself to others.
As a newcomer to the movement, you are a supporter of #BlackLivesMatter. To be an ally the following things need to happen:
1. You recognize that racism is a system. Racism in America was legislated. It was created. You understand that it's bigger than any one individual being a bigot.
2. You recognize individual acts of racism when they occur. You know when someone's actions are upholding or disrupting the racist system.
3. You take anti racist actions to disrupt the system. You call in your family, friends and coworkers for racist remarks and actions. You stand up for marginalized communities and use your privilege to protect and advocate for us.
4. You do #3 consistently. Over and over.
5. When you make a mistake (and you will because everyone makes mistakes as they learn), you own it. You acknowledge it and apologize to whomever was harmed WITHOUT MAKING EXCUSES. No excuses is key. If you say you didn't mean it, or cry, or otherwise turn yourself into the victim, you are not behaving as an ally. You are expecting the person who was harmed to console or absolve you of your mistake, and that puts your privilege to be comfortable above the actual harm done.
6. You clarify your mistake, ask how to repair the damage, and follow through. Do this every time you get called in.
7. When you behave this way consistently, people will notice, and you will earn the title of ally.
8. One note of caution: If you do this consistently and you consistently make a show of it so people will notice, that is performative allyship. That's doing it for personal benefit, so you can look good in front of others. That is not true allyship. When you do the right things for your own benefit, that's performative allyship.
I hope this helps clear up what I was trying to say yesterday.#FierceLove