On this last day of the Week of Solidarity with Peoples Struggling Against Racism and Racial Discrimination, we want to share our thoughts on two things: first, the importance of being an ally and second, how to be a good one.
An ally is a person of relative privilege who concerns themselves with the trials of lesser-privileged people. This person may use their privilege as a platform for others, and they may also demand equality on the behalf of others. Here at Shout Mouse our essential allyship is to provide and pass the megaphone to those who too rarely are heard. Here’s how you might practice being an ally in your own life:
Know the Issues. Stay up-to-date on contemporary issues faced by people of color and other marginalized populations. Don’t trust everything you see on social media. If you can, try to verify what you read. Better yet, learn which news sources cater to which agendas. The further to either of the Conservative-Liberal spectrum the news site, the more likely the information is either editorialized or inaccurate. Read more about that here and here.
Know your history, too; history almost always impacts the present.
Show up. Don’t just post and share your beliefs; be present for the issues that matter. According to some recent reports, only black people showed up to the recent town hall meeting in DC concerning the alleged rise in kidnappings of black and hispanic girls in the are
Sadly, studies show that issues don’t become issues until it effects or outrages the majority. If you are a member of the majority, you can make a difference. There are a lot of things you can do: volunteer, attend rallies, show support at town halls, etc. Read more about that here.
Speak up. Stand up for your beliefs in ways that are productive and purposeful. Beware of “call- out culture,” which can involve public shaming that leads to people doubling down because they feel attacked. You can and should hold others accountable for their offensive words or actions, but there are ways to respectfully and effectively bring up concerns with family members, friends, and colleagues. Also, know when speaking up might cause problems for those you’re speaking up for. This goes for racism, discrimination, and also domestic violence.
Listen. Here at Shout Mouse, we think the most important thing you can do is give someone else the space and dignity to be heard. In a society that has managed to silence entire populations, we think it is important to make an effort to hear those unheard voices. Listening breeds understanding and understanding brings collaboration and with collaboration comes action.
If you’re following and supporting our work, we know you already care about being an ally and understand its importance. Thank you for that. We’re grateful for you and we challenge you--as we challenge ourselves--to continue to not just talk the talk, but most importantly, to walk that walk. Evaluate your actions as an ally recently in our increasingly tumultuous world: how are you doing, and what more can you do?