HOW TO // Be a Responsible White Ally

Maybe you’ve asked yourself: As a white person, how can I best be an ally to marginalized communities?

I am by no means an expert on the subject of intercultural relations, but I’ve learned a lot and observed a lot and I’m going to share those observations with you. Here’s just three ways that you can try to be a better ally.

SPEAK UP

The first thing that we have to do is make sure that people around us know that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, and intolerance are no longer ideals that we as a society accept as “the norm.” That means speaking up to other white people when they do things that can cause harm. You have to, have to, have to speak up to your family, friends, strangers, neighbors when you hear them saying racist or discriminatory things. This can be hard. It’s like watching an episode of “What Would You Do,” and thinking to yourself, I would totally (insert action here) if I were in that situation. Odds are, you have the opportunity to do that every day.

FIND OUT WHAT THE MARGINALIZED VOICES AROUND YOU ARE SAYING

Depending on where you live, attend school, work etc. etc., you might not interact with people who are that different from you. Diversity is important. Listening to what other people are saying can shape your worldview so incredibly. But, we all have to take that first step. Start paying attention to people who are different from you, whether that’s people of color, LGBTQ people, Muslims, people with disabilities etc. etc., you will begin to find other new voices that you’ll appreciate. But you have to take that first step.

CONFRONT YOUR RACISM

Here’s the deal. Once you start listening to the marginalized voices around you, you’re gonna run in to some opinions you don’t like. You might run in to some opinions that might make you feel discriminated against. Don’t run away! Listen to it. Acknowledge it. Try to understand it. Don’t be fragile. Only by listening can we begin to understand.

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