Posts tagged ally-as-identity
Fauxgressivism Or Yet Another Post About Why I Don't Care If You Call Yourself An Ally

Simply put: I don’t care what you’ve done in the past. If you’re messing up now, I expect you to own up to it, now. My theology degree doesn’t erase the fact that I’m still learning and still reading about many different types of theology. The more I learn about the subjects I care about, the more I realize that I still have a long way to go. It should function similarly in being an ally – the longer you are an ally, the more it should be impressed upon you that you will screw up, you will be blinded by your privilege, and you will need to allow other people’s experiences and lives to take precedence over your status as an “ally.”

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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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Binary Thinking, Perfectionism, and the Magic of White Feminism

But the thing about being on the “same side” is that it’s binary thinking. It assumes the enemy is an Other, something obviously identifiable. Such rhetoric flattens any discussion of microaggressions and what “helping” and “allyship” actually look like. If merely pledging oneself to be an ally is what made someone an ally, perhaps things would be easier. But such declarations forget the power dynamics at play.

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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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