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5 Tips for Being an Ally

(Transcript from video:

Hey friends, so I’m trying something different with my setup, and I don’t know if its working, but you will deal.

Imagine your friend is building a house, and they ask you to help, but you’ve never built a house before. So it would probably be a good idea for you to put on some protective gear, and listen to the person in charge, otherwise, someone’s going to get seriously hurt.

Look, I’m helping!

It’s the exact same idea when it comes to being an ally. An ally is a person that wants to fight for the equality of a marginalized group that they’re not a part of.

We need your help building this house, but you probably should listen so you know what to do first.

Let’s do this!

So, here are my 5 tips for being a good ally!

Understand your privilege.

A lot of people get hung up on the word “privilege,” so let me break it down for you, nice and easy. Privilege does not mean that you are rich. It does not mean that you’ve had an easy life, that everything has been handed to you, and you’ve never had to struggle or work hard. All it means is that there are some things in life that you will not experience or ever have to think about just because of who you are. It’s kind of like those horses that have those blinders on. They can see just fine, there’s just a whole bunch of stuff on the side that they don’t even know exists.

So, for example, there are currently 29 states where you can legally be fired for being gay, and there are 34 states where you can legally be fired for being trans. Now, as a straight, cis woman, those are things I don’t ever have to think about if I don’t want to. I’m not going to be fired because I’m straight and I’m not going to be fired because I’m cis. So, it makes sense that before I can fight for the rights of others, I have to understand what rights I have, and what others don’t. That’s privilege.

Listen, and do your homework.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not possible for you to learn if you aren’t willing to listen. So, you gotta know when to zippa-the-lippa. I don’t know, you get what I mean.

That’s the thing that’s so cool about social media. There are so many people sharing their stories all around the world and connecting with people that they normally would never get a chance to without the power of the internet. So do your homework! Start reading blogs, tweets, news articles, and stories so that you can get caught up on the issues that are important to the communities that you want to support.

Speak up, but not over.

If the fight for equality was a girl group, the ally wouldn’t be the lead singer or the second lead singer. They’d be Michelle. An ally’s job is to support. You want to make sure you use your privilege and your voice to educate others, but make sure to do it in such a way that does not speak over the community members that you’re trying to support, or take credit for things that they are already saying. This isn’t Mario Kart. Stay in your lane.

Realize that you’re going to make mistakes, and apologize when you do.

Nobody’s perfect. Unlearning problematic things takes time and work, so you’re bound to mess up, and trip and fall. But don’t worry, you can brush yourself off, and get right back up. I’m back up!

Just remember that it’s not about your intent, it’s about your impact. So when you get called out, make sure to listen, apologize, and commit to changing your behavior, and move forward.

Last, but certainly not least, actually the most important thing on this list, is to remember that ally is a verb.

Saying you’re an ally is not enough. You’ve gotta do the work. One through four, one through four.

As always, there are links in the video description box, some of the things I mentioned in this video, along with some resources that have been really helpful for me as I’ve gone along in my journey to be more conscious. So I want to hear from you in the comments. What are some sites you suggest checking out, and what are some things that have helped you become a better ally. Let me know in the comments below! Don’t forget to subscribe, and I’ll see you when I see you.)

Check out more of Franchesca’s content on her Youtube Channel!

-Your Friends at Undoing Racism