Tami has a great guide for members of marginalized groups to work with allies. It’s a nice reminder to those of us who do social justice work from both sides — as members of communities that face various -isms, and as allies. It can be tough in a space like this one, where sometimes it feels like the same 101 or 102 conversation is happening again and again. But as Tami points out, it is often (though not always) worth the time to work with allies, to recognize that slip-ups and mistakes happen, to educate and to share ideas — not because have to or because we’re obligated to, but because, as she says:
We have a responsibility to treat our allies with respect and humanity. It is the same responsibility that every person has to another. This notion of human regard is the very foundation of equality movements. We cannot demand justice while mirroring injustice. We definitely should not feel a need to “wear the mask” in our own safe spaces in order to make privileged people more comfortable. But we can act with compassion. When we do not, we fail at maintaining alliances. And allied relationships are too important to lose.
Now, I kind of bristled reading her opening, and I’m sure many people are bristling and reading my summary — I know many of us are dead tired of being told we have to coddle our allies and help them understand. But go read her whole post. That is far, far from what she’s talking about. Her piece really is a necessary and helpful reminder about extending basic kindness, when we can (and knowing when and where to draw the line when we just can’t).
- Sleeping with the Enemy, Part 2 by Jaclyn August 9, 2007
- On absence and what it represents by Chally June 14, 2010
- Recollecting and collecting ourselves by Chally November 18, 2009
- The Jill Question: What is the Role of Privileged White Women in the Reproductive Justice Movement? by Aimee September 13, 2009
- We Are Not Your Afterthought: responding to LGBT Soup by Guest Blogger April 2, 2013