Posts tagged allies
Getting Shit Done: How The Cannibal Left Is Actually A Good Thing

But if your “friends” are unwilling to listen to you, are unable to recenter your feelings even just once in awhile, they aren’t exactly friends. If your friend or your ally insists on ignoring or fighting any kind of pushback or criticism because “infighting hurts the movement” then the movement isn’t actually going to go anywhere. Indeed, the push and pull of criticism and discussion is actually the only way anything has ever actually gotten done. Critiquing our allies – like Sojourner Truth critiquing the whitness of the suffragette movement or transgender people critiquing the cisnormative nature of the LGBT rights movement – is precisely how progress is made. Ignoring those call outs, ignoring that criticism, only works to keep privileged power structures in place.

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I Don't Really Care How You Feel About My Life

Pity, rather than empathy, doesn’t actually add to a discussion of oppression. Instead, it recenters the discussion on the oppressor who now feels bad for oppressing. It’s a subtle, unconscious way of re-establishing dominance in spaces that exist for the oppressed. The man who feels the need to tell women that he feels sad is a man who cannot bear being quiet long enough to allow women to direct the discussion. Your feelings about our lives are useful in that they may motivate you to work within the oppressive class to change things. But your feelings about our lives are only useful if you don’t make them into our problem.

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Stepping Off the Elevator: Being a Better Ally Means Being Teachable

I really hate to call myself an ally, because I firmly believe that “ally” is an action, not a label, nor a position you can earn through “years of good work.” If I am going to dedicate myself to being for justice, and therefore being against systems which perpetuate injustice, part of that means being faithful to justice in the small things as well as the big. It means that I have to check myself, internally and externally with friends, and allow them to check me. Microaggressions can happen in seconds, but last for a long time. I must show myself trustworthy to the marginalized by correcting my mistakes quickly and by being teachable about my own errors.

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I'm Not Your Ally: The Problem of Ally-As-Identity

“Ally” as an identity – as a label you declare for yourself – is problematic because it centers you and your privileged identities within a discussion that should center marginalized folk.* It is the inability to set aside the limits of your own experience in order to listen to others. This is a problem that plagues identity labels of all sorts – “I am Christian, therefore I must respond to a situation this way,” which leads to people trying to guess what religious platitudes people want to hear rather than actually listening. “I am a woman, therefore I like X,” which leads people to condemn those who do not like those things or measure up to their centered identity of womanhood.

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