By: Kennedy Calise
Unfortunately, during history, minorities had to go through discrimination because of other’s ignorance and lack of understanding. According to opseu.org, “being an ally means is willing to act with and for others in pursuit of fighting oppression and creating equality.”
If we don’t learn or listen when needed, then we won’t grow to be better allies. Learn more about marginalized people by doing more research, learn about their culture or their history and issues today. Understand who you are being an ally for and why you want to do it. Especially, learn ways to support to fight against oppression against marginalized communities. You could also learn by listening to them when they are speaking about certain issues when it comes to their identity. Give them a chance to speak their mind and do not interrupt them while doing so.
Watch out for things you say or do. Learn more about what might be offensive against marginalized communities and take that into mind when it comes to being an ally. Find out what is offensive against the community you are being an ally for. Whenever you catch yourself saying or doing something you know you shouldn’t have done or maybe you’ve have been called out by someone, apologize, move on, and learn from it. If you cannot learn from certain mistakes and continue to do it then you will not be an ally to certain communities.
Understand your privilege
Most people have their privileges or something that makes us less privileged. You as an ally needs to know in what things make you privileged. For example, let’s say a straight person understands they’ve always had certain rights the LGBT+ community have never gotten. Being privileged does not mean you don’t have certain struggles, it means that because of your identity, you don’t have the same struggles others had because of their identity. You need to respectfully know in what ways you have a privilege and use that to help others who don’t have the same privileges as you.
Listening can be a huge part of being an ally. But, you also need to speak up when the time is right. Whenever you hear someone saying something either offensive, discriminatory or someone bullying another you should speak up and defend others. Teach them why it is wrong to say certain things. Staying quiet and letting it all pass by is not the best idea. Allies need to speak up. Speaking up is another way to show your support for other communities you are not apart of.
Being an ally may not be the easiest thing, but it is worth it. Another part of being an ally means you love that certain community and are willing to help them get the fights they deserve as people. Everyone should be an ally, it’s the best way to show people you have empathy for other kinds of people.