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What does it mean to be an ally?
Several years ago I took a course at Shell on bias. It was the best and most life changing few days of my life that I credit it to the path I chose to take in the kind of work we do at Pink Petro.
We unpacked our biases. We talked about our backgrounds, how we were raised, and opened our minds to discussing how that upbringing shaped our views. We asked ourselves honest questions and opened doors and windows that were previously shut. It was a very deep discussion and one I will never forget. It taught me that as a white woman of privilege I should own it and become an ally.
A white ally acknowledges the limits of her/his/their knowledge about other people’s experiences but doesn’t use that as a reason not to think and/or act. You can think about things being wrong, but its a whole different level when you call out racism and injustice. It takes courage. A white ally does not remain silent but confronts racism as it comes up daily, but also seeks to deconstruct it institutionally and live in a way that challenges systemic oppression, at the risk of experiencing some of that oppression.
I’m not going to lie. Becoming an ally has afforded me some ridicule and hate. When you stand for others, you will stand with them and along side them and that means people in your life might not stand with you.
We’ve compiled some resources to help you explore becoming and advocate and ally, but the best tool is a conversation with someone who has been subjected to racism.
Resources to become an ally
- Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools, 2nd Edition (2015) Glenn Singleton
- NPR’s podcast, Code Switch, is always an incredible education.
- 15 Charts that Prove We’re Far From Post Racial, Loyette and Scheller
- How to Talk with Your Kids About Racism
- Keedron’s Song: I just want to Live
- Holy shit, being an ally isn’t about me!, Voices of WOC & Allies