7 Unmistakable Signs Your Allyship Is Performative

As more people of privilege learn about systemic oppression, well-meaning folks–or those who find the idea of purposely contributing to injustice abhorrent– have increasingly shown an interest in becoming an “ally”. But being an ally is not just for show, it’s a lifestyle that requires ongoing labor and self-reflection. Here are seven unmistakable signs that you need to reroute your approach to being an ally.

1) Validation drives your work: If you feel slighted when your activism isn’t met by a “thank you” or “well done”, consider your ally card revoked, effective immediately. Furthermore, you’re not entitled to recognition as an “ally”, nor do you get to define whether or not you are one. It’s up to the people you advocate for to decide whether or not that title is suitable.

 2) You want to hijack the movement: Do you take up space that should be occupied by members of the communities you champion? If so, fall back. We don’t need non-black NAACP chapter presidents. Cough, cough *RACHEL DOLEZAL*, cough. There’s a fine line between being an ally and having a savior complex. Don’t cross it.

3) You don’t listen: Half of being an activist is using your voice to influence change. The other half is zipping your lip and listening to others’ needs and wishes. Oppression starts when privileged people decide they know what’s best for marginalized folks.

4) Respectability is a condition: If you only interact with the socially refined and educated folks from the communities you endorse, your allyship is a sham.

5) You never check yourself: None of us are perfect. Even the most well intentioned of us slip and fall into some problematic mess now and again. And when we get called on it, it can be embarrassing. But take it as an opportunity to learn something and unpack rather than bulldoze through others’ perspectives to defend your honor.

6) You act scary at the dinner table: If you show out at Black Lives Matter rallies with your “No Justice, No Peace” sign but let crickets sing when your uncle goes on a tirade about white genocide, your allyship is a sham. There’s no such thing as a part-time or seasonal ally.

7) You’re not willing to risk anything: If you’re not willing to sacrifice investments—both personal and professional— that conflict with the values you promote, you’re not an ally. Wearing safety pins and applying photo filters are not acts of solidarity. They’re merely ways for you to publicly signify your (performative) allyship, rather than do meaningful labor.

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49 thoughts on “7 Unmistakable Signs Your Allyship Is Performative

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  1. I totally agree with all of this I don’t understand what you mean by risks: like friendships, jobs, or what? (I would risk both of those I just don’t understand)

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      1. Right like sometimes calling out white supremacy can strain or even end friendships or professional relationships or even relationships with family members. In the past I have avoided these conversations with my father because I didn’t want to rock out already slightly contentious relationship. For me I’ve been lucky and have found these conversations have actually helped now that I’ve been bolstering the courage to have them.

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    1. Pretty sure the idea is that say you are in a service industry and a customer says something racist, you don’t just stay silent because the customer is always right, you say ‘no, that’s not okay, I won’t tolerate that’, even though your manager might get mad at you/write you up.

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      1. I actually got written up two weeks ago for refusing to serve a Neo Nazi with swastika and WHITE PRIDE tattoos as a cashier at a grocery store. Only reason I wasn’t fired was my bosses like me. I’m sure it’s my white privilege that got me out of serious consequences, but I was totally okay with being fired over it.

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      2. I mean, that might be part of it, but also if you are another customer in that line, or if that customer is your grandfather or friend.

        Showing up for all the protests only matters if you actively work on helping the people around you understand why racist/sexist/phobic behavior/mindsets are not okay.

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    2. My take on that question would be that if you want to be seen as an ally, you’ve got to be willing to put it all on the line — that’s what’s meant by a willingness to take risks. If you’re the type whose activism stops the moment it could cause you a hardship or discomfort then you’re not an ally, full stop.

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  2. I loved this so much! You’re absolutely right in every point. Being an ally requires time and dedication. No part time service! Two snaps love!

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  3. Guilty of at least #6. Will not consider myself an ally until I have the courage to confront and engage with problematic ideology 100% of the time even if it’s out of the mouth of my “favorite” uncle.

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    1. Yeah maybe they are stubborn and clearly choose this attitude out of trying to gain attention/show their adequacy/power – not because they have thought about the topic too much. Then engaging them in a constructive dialogue (in a form of a nasty argument perhaps) may reveal such reality. That when confronted by individuals from the groups he “hates” he is actually nice to them ..

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  4. First thing: “Oppression starts when privileged people decide they know what’s best for marginalized folks.” – What if the marginalized folks have internalized some of the privileged people’s believes? Like aspiration for high socio-economic status within the norms that have been constructed by whites? – What if the marginalized people believe something that their next generations would be happy not to believe (like that death of young children is inevitable because healthcare is bad in their country)?

    Second: “There’s no such thing as a part-time or seasonal ally.” But what if you know your genocide-loving uncle? – have questioned his believes, rebutted his arguments – and both of you are clear on why you think the way you do and simply agree on firm disagreement.

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    1. Not sure your ethnic background but it appears as though you have European ancestry based on your surname. With all due respect, it’s not your place to monitor any internalized classism or mistrust in the healthcare establishment–let us handle unpacking those intracultural issues. It’s your place only to dismantle the systemic racism that consequently contributes to POC internalizing white supremacy.

      Additionally, right is right and wrong is wrong. If you agree to disagree with your white nationalist uncle as though it’s simply a matter of having different politics, you’re an accomplice to white supremacy. And therefore, you have no business calling yourself an ally.

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  5. If you’ll humor me a moment, I’m honestly curious and would prefer an honest answer before being chased out with pitchforks for mansplaining from a place of privilege: Let’s say you hang out with a real community, don’t seek validation, are open to taking risks to stand up for truth and have been listening to the concerns and strategies from that community while sitting back without trying to micromanage those people’s lives with answers you think you have because you know you actually don’t understand the complicated differences that make the way you handle similar seeming problems vastly different in this community. Let’s say you’ve even swallowed your defensiveness on a number of occasions when you were checked for exhibiting your unconscious bias or culturally instilled hurtful diction, and you don’t shy away from arguing against the hateful from the white side, even when they are close family or old friends. In other words, you’re doing your best to be a good ally, but you can’t help but thinking that the movement or community you are supporting is wrong on a certain narrative or interpretation, or at the least wrong in its strategy of confronting the injustice it faces, can you really say nothing? Is it really out of the realm of good ally-ness to make a suggestion based on your life or professional experience that every fiber of your being tells you is better and will lead to more success for this community? I’m not saying having a hero complex, but I think a blanket rule that allies can’t have a constructive voice in the big pictures politics without automatically trying to instill patriarchal or oppressive value structures can result in strong community or the best ideas being formulated in the end. I think most allies who have come as far as I laid out would be aware of the possible negative reaction such an attempt might have and would consider very carefully which place an idea they want to suggest is coming from, and probably aren’t seeking everyone to shut up and listen to them only, but instead would like to enter their ideas into the discussion to hopefully point out a potential blind spot that the community may have been facing or at least hear a good reason why he is showing a blind spot he had. I guess my question is, in short, is whether this type of interaction is allowed in these communities, or if its actually a blanket rule, as it seems to be in this post, that the allies don’t make suggestions to the POC, and their only active responsibility is dealing with other white people. Thanks 🙂

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    1. Hi there! Thank you for reading and I appreciate you taking the time to seek more perspective on allyship. I’m going to get right to what I believe is the heart of your comment:

      “In other words, you’re doing your best to be a good ally, but you can’t help but thinking that the movement or community you are supporting is wrong on a certain narrative or interpretation, or at the least wrong in its strategy of confronting the injustice it faces, can you really say nothing? Is it really out of the realm of good ally-ness to make a suggestion based on your life or professional experience that every fiber of your being tells you is better and will lead to more success for this community.”

      It would help if I knew specifically which narratives and strategies you’re referring to. But as a general rule of thumb, an ally should not take it upon themselves to offer suggestions regarding intracultural issues, considering many of them are a consequence of hundreds of years worth of disenfranchisement.

      Secondly, if your hypothetical suggestion is rooted in thinking you have more answers and know what’s best for a community that you don’t belong to, the answer is yes–it will always be fundamentally problematic. Black folks who engage in activism are not a monolith, nor are our communities. We have enough of our own opinions, thoughts, and strategies on how to mobilize to go around the movement, without needing white input. Letting non-black folks script the narrative is counterproductive
      and actually dangerous. Furthermore, it is better use of ally time and energy to handle oppressive behaviors amongst your own.

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      1. As a white nurse in a pediatric office, I interacted with parents and kids all the time and have also helped with CASA and with parenting classes. There are parents of all shades who make me cringe in how they talk to or behave with their kids. But I am always concerned that it will backfire on me and the child involved if I offer suggestions to a black parent–always listening to them first of course. I have had some really bad responses. But my first concern is the well-being of the child and if I am the person there when something happens with a child,then I have to speak up. That child needs me on their side.

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  6. Regarding risk: there are some risks I won’t take. First and foremost, if my child is with me, I will not put myself or her in a spot where physical harm could occur. And I fully understand this IS a privilege!

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  7. You are right to point out that having a specific example would make the question easier to delve into, but not being an ally as you’ve defined it, just being what I consider a good person standing up against bigotry, racial discrimination and oppression in general where I face it, I can’t give you a specific place where I think a white voice might be helpful. My perspective on this issue is mostly informed by media, friends and blog-types, all of which I’m sure have their own subtle bias, so I don’t want to get polemical here by stating what appears to me to be the biggest issues with the movement from my (currently) very distant perspective. What I would like answered, if you’d be so kind, is how the fact that the intercultural issues between POC and white people have been entrenched over hundreds of years of oppression (which I admit creates a real, perhaps uncrossable, divide in understanding) can render a true white ally’s opinion mute. The point being, just because the history is made up of white’s oppressing non-whites, does that mean that a young white person today cannot grow up seeking the same reconciliation and equality as a POC? I agree that the amount they want this or the reason they want this are most likely not the same, but can we agree that its possible for them to have the same goals, and if so that the white person might have some good ideas to offer toward those goals? Your language here, using words like “if” and “general rule of thumb” make me think that there is some room for this kind of “outlier” if you will, but I’d like to hear from you if this has ever happened or if it could feasibly happen within your community’s current worldview. As to your second point, I wasn’t speaking to a white person who thinks he has more ideas or answers, but rather an ally who is part of the community, both socially and as an activist, who sits around listening to political/social/artistic/organizational talk and maybe hears something that sounds misled, or different from what he thought the stated purposes of the communities goals were, would he have the right to bring it up without being shut down for being white? The key to my question I guess is that I have come to understand the knee jerk reaction, that white opinions or direction are not helpful, to be mostly in defense against outsiders or trolls trying to win quick gotcha points or even people who have their hearts in the right place, but are so detached from the community they are supporting that they come of as patronizing. So I’m hoping you, feeling you are authoritative enough to write a general article defining good ally-ship, could clarify if this is truly a defense against an outsider type of thing, which would allow for individual distinction among the closer white allies as to whether their input is actually helpful or just a product of their cultural conditioning, or is it an across the board belief that white people can’t add to your community in more ways than through solidarity and confronting other white people. Sorry if this is kinda long winded. I’m trying to be as clear as I can, because I really can’t understand this way of thinking and am hoping you can give me a clearer picture. As far as what I think, it seems that any movement for substantial social change would benefit from input from all segments of society, especially if that input diverges from the norm while still seeking the same goal, and it can then take or leave whatever it deems worthy. I understand that there are plenty of POC from all different segments of society who can offer great input, but there is no doubt that in fighting against oppression and bias in a society more inclusion rather than less would be a virtue. Please help me understand. Thanks for your time.

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    1. There’s a lot to digest here but I’m going to keep my response as brief as possible. There are a couple reasons why it is not appropriate for white allies to hand out suggestions. For one, there’s an extreme power differential at play. White people have literally dictated every facet of black life for as long as both of us have been in this country–whether it’s economic mobility or outright denying us bodily autonomy in extremely violent and institutionalized ways. To put it simply, you guys have been telling us what to do for centuries with very little insight into what really goes on in our communities.

      And while I appreciate you feel a connection through your media consumption and attendance at community organizing events, I have a question for you: how much time have you spent embedded in black spaces outside of rallies and forums? Have you spent any substantial amount of time in black households? Black social gatherings? Any non-activism-centered black space?

      Here’s the thing–often times, white people with answers and suggestions really only have a surface level understanding of the dynamics within black communities. You may have a handful of black friends but how many of you have spent time actually observing our everyday lives and experiences? On the other hand, black people spend a good portion of their lives embedded in white spaces –work environments, educational institutions, and even your homes. Our great grannies and ancestors past spent a significant portion of their lives doing day’s work and nannying white children. I personally spent my adolescence being the token black girl and thus, spent most of my spare time in raw, unfiltered, white spaces. How many allies have done the reverse?

      And again, black communities are not a monolith, nor am I a spokesperson. If your advice or opinion is specifically requested by someone, knock yourself out. But don’t offer unsolicited consultations on how black folks can make better progress.

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      1. The first paragraph we covered and I get that I can’t get that. That’s fine, but it doesn’t explain why a white person couldn’t have ideas to contribute towards an imagined better future. You still haven’t directly addressed my one and only question. I thought I made it pretty clear that I’m not in black communities and I don’t feign to be an ally as you define it. What I am is curious about the nature of denying white opinion or insight, whether its rhetorical or actually dogmatic practice. And I know black communities are not a monolith, which is why I’m asking a person who might be more comfortable speaking in generalities. Not describing in terms of all, but in terms of most, or at least as far as you’ve experienced. I’m asking if it has ever happened, in your experience within this community, that a white person’s ideas have been accepted or at least listened too, and would that be encouraged of certain individual white people who have earned enough trust in your community to not be though of as all those things that you stated are “often times” the case. Again, this is not me asking for permission to advise black people. I know this is not my place, nor anyones. I’m just wondering if it could possibly be the place of some white allies to discuss and confer with black communities about these issues?

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      2. I’ve answered your question quite thoroughly, I just don’t think you like my answer. As your white counterpart mentioned, you being white (and male) are inherently an oppressor in the year 2017. That was what I meant when I said there was still a “power differential”. The fact that you think something about modern times would make it more appropriate for white folks to interject opinions where they aren’t welcome than in times past suggests that part of you believes we are living in a post-racial society. As I’ve said before, white input is only appropriate when it has been explicitly requested. If you need anymore evidence of how damaging white opinions on black organizing can be to a movement, go visit the comment sections of videos and articles about racial violence and discrimination and see what white people at large are saying. This is all for the emotional and intellectual labor I’m going to do to answer your question. I think you’re in need of some literature outside of my listicle so I will kindly provide you with this link: http://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/carmichael-black-power-speech-text/

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    2. Hey,

      1. You said you were a distant observer of white allyship. If that is the case, why wouldn’t you take the author at her word, even after she’s gone out of her way to explain and expound additional emotional labor for you ?

      2. What are you hoping to get out of this clarification? If the author concedes that there MIGHT be some time in some hypothetical situation where a white mans opinion should be given on how to make the movement better? Then what? Only then will you decide it’s “ok” or “worth it” to work toward true allyship? What if the author does not concede the point and (rightfully) maintains that there is never an appropriate time for such opinions? Then you’ll write the idea of allyship off because it’s too constrictive?

      3. To try to clarify the point further, no, a white person growing up today is still implicitly an oppressor, no matter their level of allyship, and therefore any opinion on how POCs can gain equality is pretty irrelevant . Not to mention the history white people have of hijacking these movements to be all about themselves. If you don’t understand this concept you have some more reading to do before coming here and asking the author to (twice over) exert emotional labor explaining it to you.

      You seem focused on the wrong things here. This is the exact defenition of not listening.

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  8. Hey,

    1. You said you were a distant observer of white allyship. If that is the case, why wouldn’t you take the author at her word, even after she’s gone out of her way to explain and exert additional emotional labor for you ?

    2. What are you hoping to get out of this clarification? If the author concedes that there MIGHT be some time in some hypothetical situation where a white mans opinion should be given on how to make the movement better? Then what? Only then will you decide it’s “ok” or “worth it” to work toward true allyship? What if the author does not concede the point and (rightfully) maintains that there is never an appropriate time for such opinions? Then you’ll write the idea of allyship off because it’s too constrictive?

    3. To try to clarify the point further, no, a white person growing up today is still implicitly an oppressor, no matter their level of allyship, and therefore any opinion on how POCs can gain equality is pretty irrelevant . Not to mention the history white people have of hijacking these movements to be all about themselves. If you don’t understand this concept you have some more reading to do before coming here and asking the author to (twice over) exert emotional labor explaining it to you.

    You seem focused on the wrong things here. This is the exact defenition of not listening.

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    1. Hi Samantha, thanks for your response. First of all, this isn’t personal, I just figured since she put herself out there by writing a blog directing people on how to behave in this context then she wouldn’t mind answering some genuine questions I have. I didn’t expect it to take three attempts to get to my question, so I’m sorry if it seems like I’m hounding her. There was nothing I didn’t take her word on, but saying “often times” or most is directly in opposition to the question I tried painstakingly to make clear. I guess I didn’t do a good enough job.

      As for my motives, no I don’t work in the zero-sum game that you so clearly laid out and which I agree is all too prevalent in our current political discourse. This is not some plot to launch into an oppressive tirade, even if you very much want to believe that it is. I just thought since I am quite a distance from living in the issues in the U.S. right now (I’ve been living in China since 2014), and I see a lot of non-sense in the media regarding both sides, that someone invested in the community and in articulating the positions of that community, might help me form a clearer picture of what these ideas are all about. And whether she said yes or no or possibly but I haven’t seen it happen, that would help me (and presumably others reading this thread) understand one data-point in the present day civil rights movement, which we can add to other points we might stumble upon in our travels and investigations. This is not the only time I’d ask the question. It’s all about coming closer to the truth of the situation so we’re not just relying on media to form our opinions. Opinions matter, and to not seek first hand information or to refuse to share first hand information through civil discourse due to assumptions we make about the other is the basis for our society’s current sickness.

      As far as all white people being implicit oppressors, this is where you lose me, but that’s ok. I know a lot about the history of black rights movements, although I could certainly read more (feel free to suggest some you think would help), but I was asking about now. There are no history books about now. I didn’t ask about the history of oppression or theories of social change. If someone wants to share that, fine, I’d be more than interested in listening, but out of respect for the author’s time I only asked the question I thought only she and people currently in her position could answer. So please don’t accuse me of dragging her through the emotional mud. Is that a good reason for white and black people to not talk about these things? All the points about the history of white people hijacking movements are instructive in how to be wary of white people trying to infiltrate movements, but in no way, in my estimation, is it an excuse to blanket white people’s efforts and opinions toward the cause as useless due to the taint of being assumed an implicit oppressor. I’m merely trying to ascertain, which concept the author and her community represent.

      As for your final point… the article was about how to be a good ally, and I pointed out that I agreed with all but one point and was interested in clarification on that one point. I didn’t even ask for the author’s clarification specifically, though I’m happy she took her time to try. So, in this case, I don’t think the problem was listening. Just because you don’t agree with my focus doesn’t mean that I’m either focused on the wrong things or that I wasn’t listening. It actually means that I was actively listening, which usual produces follow up questions, and there was only one point I wanted clarification on. The rest seems pretty standard.

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      1. “This isn’t personal”…I think that illuminates the issue here. For you, this is just a concept. For POCs it is reality. Even for the most committed white activist, they can at any time recuse themselves from putting any or all part of themselves at risk. For POCs that is figuratively and literally impossible. This is one of the main reasons that the white viewpoint can never carry as much weight as its counterpart.

        If you really have read and listened to the black experience in America, there is no way that you could come to the conclusion that there are a select number of white people in America who are somehow exempt from being oppressors. America as a system and a society is racist. Therefore, every white person is in the group of the oppressors. Yes, there are things we can (and 100% must) do to dismantle this system and balance the scales. But that doesn’t change reality. I challenge you to really think about what I’m saying here. It’s common and natural to get defensive and say “oh no not me I’m here learning about black oppression! how could I be an oppressor?”. But until you accept the idea and understand the inevitability of it, most of these ideas will indeed seem dissonant to you.

        It’s interesting that you say that there are no history books “for now”. As if what is happening now is any different than what has been happening in the past. I encourage you to watch the film I Am Not Your Negro. It’s an examination on the words of James Baldwin on the black experience in America. It’s incredibly moving, and will elucidate some of what I’ve said here in a far more eloquent fashion.

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  9. Thanks Liz. I just saw your reply after responding to Samantha. Not sure why. China…

    “white input is only appropriate when it has been explicitly requested.” This is much clearer, thanks. Maybe you were just being more casual before, but I wasn’t sure if that was non-committal or leaving room for possibility, so this clears it up for me.

    I don’t think it’s fair to equate youtube commenters to what I was proposing, but whatever, I won’t take any more of your time. Also, thanks for the link.

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    1. I think you’re finally grasping the core of the issue here. And this is a message that can be applied to other situations as well.
      You may have perfectly valid, workable solutions to the issues at hand. Even if you fully see and understand a problem, have worked through all of the parameters and have a workable solution, you *still* need to ask if the other party wants your advice.

      I will fully own getting caught up sometimes when someone tells me about a problem in solving it. But sometimes people don’t want you to come in and solve their problems for them. Sometimes they want to do it themselves. Often there is more to a situation than you see, and so while you may think that a solution is perfectly good, it’s missing crucial pieces. Maybe the problem that seems most pressing to you isn’t the one that is most important to others, so your efforts are an attempt to solve the wrong problem.

      I’ve taken to asking friends when they start telling me about a problem, “Do you want listening help or fixing help?” Then I know whether I should be finding and offering solutions, or if they need me to hear them and be with them. And if they need something specific, or if they decide later that they want my fixing help, they will tell me.

      The root of this is that your ideas may be perfectly good, your solutions may be perfectly fine, AND ALSO people are perfectly within their rights not to consent to hear or follow your advice. It doesn’t mean your ideas aren’t valid, it doesn’t mean YOU aren’t valid. It means that when you are relating to one or more other people, they have control over what they want their experience to be, and if they are looking for a specific kind of help or idea, or NOT looking for a specific kind of help or idea, it’s up to you to respect that decision. If what you want is to find a group to listen to you, that’s fine, they are out there. But in spaces where that is specifically not what people are looking for in your participation, you have to decide if you want to modify your expectations and contributions to meet what the group has consented to, or if you need to step back and find some other experience.

      tl;dr, you can be clear, people can understand you, and they still don’t have to listen to or follow your advice. And that’s ok. It’s up to you to decide if you accept the conditions that other people have for your participation, and if it’s not what you’re looking for, it’s your responsibility to step out of that space, NOT to keep pushing.

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  10. Thanks so much for this great post. I know I’m going to be linking back to this a lot!

    For my work, as a white dude who actively works with other white people on recognizing and intervening into white supremacy, I would like to add a friendly footnote to #1. I have no disagreement with you’ve written. I do think it’s important for aspiring white allies to know that they can and should share emotional support (including some validation) with each other. Yes – no one’s activism should *depend* on external validation, and it’s both unworkable and unjust when white folks look to POC for emotional support around issues of white supremacy. And, it’s easy for aspiring allies and accomplices, grappling with their own shame, to read discussions on this topic as saying “No validation allowed – if you ever even want to feel good doing about this work, that’s just your white supremacy talking.” I think that’s a trick of white supremacy – whispering in the ears of white folks that they wont get to feel fully human unless the maintain their privilege and complicity.

    My thinking is still evolving, and I’m very open to pushback on this!

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    1. Hello! Thanks for reading. For some reason, your comment was initially censored as spam so I’m just seeing this. When I mentioned that validation should not drive your work, I meant that your allyship should not be conditional on the basis of whether or not you receive praise. Most human beings need to feel that their work is meaningful and that their efforts are having an impact, so no shame there. I simply am referring to “allies” who get indignant when they aren’t put on a pedestal for their outstanding ability to display basic human decency.

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  11. A white ally attending a meeting on social justice hears discussion of using the organization’s funds to buy ad space in a local newspaper. The white ally happens to know that competing paper offers free ad space to non-profits. May white ally speak that suggestion or is that crossing a line?

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    1. Take a closer look at my conversation with Trent. The comments are long winded but for all intents and purposes, my take on white allies offering suggestions was specifically tailored to the context of his comment: “you can’t help but thinking that the movement or community you are supporting is wrong on a certain narrative or interpretation, or at the least wrong in its strategy of confronting the injustice it faces, can you really say nothing?”

      Perhaps I should’ve been more specific. It is never an ally’s place to correct a marginalized community on whether or not they have properly constructed their narrative and/or approach to confronting injustices. Activism is about undoing oppressive systems that benefit some, while disenfranchising others. And unless you’ve been marginalized by said systems, it’s not your place to critique a community’s presentation of how they have been. Privilege tends to create blind spots.

      Now, your hypothetical scenario does not demonstrate an attempt to correct anyone’s approach to activism. You speak of an ally merely facilitating access to a resource, which is exactly what allies should be doing.

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  12. Thank you Liz. This is really helpful and a great resource to continually check ourselves as activism and allyship can become cyclical, seasonal, or just timely when it should be a a devotion.
    Also, Tyler, please stop. It will not kill us to have thoughts or opinions that we keep to ourselves. You asked everyone to suspend their disbelief on the beginning because you had an honest query. It was honestly answered and then you became what you implied you weren’t. Please reference points 1, 2, 3, and 5 from the post above.

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  13. I’m just baffled as to why, Trent, you are so very wedded to this notion that white people MUST be allowed to offer this kind of input.. seemingly (from what I could gather of your lengthy comments – my apologies, I have a sensory processing issue that inhibits me from grasping details within long paragraphs like these, so I admit to often missing key points) in any context? I mean, far as I can tell, the only time a white person – ‘ally’ or not – should contribute opinions or suggestions to the discussions among POC about problems of systemic racism, is when asked. Why is it so painful for you to grasp that you simply.. well.. hun, you really don’t NEED to put your 2c in. Because if you were willing to examine yourself more deeply, I think you’d find that possibly a lot of your motivation is not to ‘help’, but rather to control the situation. It’s hard to see those things about ourselves; I struggle with it plenty myself, in similar situations, so please know I’m not picking on you at all. I’m really being sincere. Just asking you to consider the very real probability that you don’t actually need to hand out these suggestions, just because YOU think they are needed.

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  14. For me personally? All I feel I need to do is show up, as aware of my privileges as I can be and willing to use those privileges to actually help if at all possible and ask: “What can I do?” And then be prepared to put aside my pride and ego, and hear some painful suggestions. And further then have the willingness to put my money and my other resources where my ‘ally’ mouth is. I cringe at applying that label to myself, tbh; it always feels very self serving to me.

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  15. Liz Brazile, thank you for your clear thinking and writing. Trent, There is so very much anti-racist work for white people to do with white people. That is a main way to be an ally. White folks started this sickness. White folks need to work hard at curing this disease amongst ourselves. I think to focus on wanting to somehow give input into the work that black folks are doing – or questioning this – is a way of facing in the wrong direction. White folks have our work cut out for us.

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  16. Recently I thought it was a good idea to give ‘well-intended advice’ to a activist WOC on her tactics. Another reader commented with what I perceived an insult – her suggestion of the concept that I seem to be experiencing ‘white fragility’. I took that as an affront to my allyship yet, after my drama and taking time to learn more, this concept has been sinking in, more slowly than I would prefer but, sinking in nonetheless.

    A few links. I’d definitely suggest any white readers check this out and see if it doesn’t strike a chord.

    The Sugarcoated Language of White Fragility – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anna-kegler/the-sugarcoated-language-of-white-fragility_b_10909350.html

    White Fragility, Overcoming Racism — academic paper by Robin DiAngelo https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjnypL5jODVAhVG5mMKHT5gDoQQFggoMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.overcomingracism.org%2Fresources%2FWhite-Fragility.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHi1nnBBPPUlFnRu_50pTvuEosxyA

    White Fragility: Why it’s so hard to talk to white people about racism https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/

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  17. I went through many of the comments and would like to say to Trent (I know, chances are you’ll not see this) that in any relationship trust/allyship is earned. And any attempts to offer any help out of the goodness of your heart will happen spontaneously and organically. You cannot be judge and jury on what it is you offer and define it as good. This perspective is a one way street without consideration of the other person and their life experiences and how they define goodness. Having this discussion seems a bit like you’re looking for a loop hole to expose. If that is what you’re good at, please do the work at a level that will make everyday living for POC similar to your own. For example, if you’re a lawyer give your work to make laws better…fight for it. I’m not a POC, but am Muslim and over my lifetime I have inserted myself to white world. I started to retreat a little in the past 10 + years as I wanted to remember my own voice because being in white world is a moving target. Being understood in white world was never in the cards for me. And I really believe the author here gives a fantastic list on how on a daily basis you can earn allyship. And if you’re practicing all of the above… you’ll be rewarded without asking for that validation. And chances are you will have offered help as authentically as you can and I’d be willing to bet it will be accepted. But if you start to have these internal conversations in exploring the loop holes… it may be better spent asking yourself which one of the 7 you are not practicing. I know being called out is an embarrassing event but keep reminding yourself what kind of world you wish to be a part of.

    I hope I offered more depth to the author’s perspective. Her words truly resonated with me.

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