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The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally

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Defend the Sacred:
I am adding some links to other threads here that illustrate some of the Do's and Don'ts as they have manifested on this forum.

APOLOGIES - http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3750.0

This was pretty much the last thread in what some of us have come to call, The NAFPS Race War of 2012. It took place over a few threads, most of them linked below. While it was stressful and exasperating, I think we also had some good discussion of white privilege, along with some illustrative examples. Here's how it started:

Member Intros - Gwaewael - http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3739.0

The word "Indian" is much maligned. - http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3741.0

Do I have this right? - http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3744.0

I think non-Natives who are new to the forum, and who may be baffled by our culture here, may find this helpful (if at times cringe-inducing).

Defend the Sacred:
Four years on, there's something I would like to add to #7 ("Don't expect a pass into safe spaces because you call yourself an ally.").

It's the community that one is desiring to be an ally to who gets to decide who is really an ally, who is really on board with the work and not doing it from some hidden agenda. Sometimes non-Natives show up here, or in other milieu, and think that, simply by declaring that they are an ally, they now are one. Sometimes they even seem to think that this proclamation means they no longer have privilege, or that they now know as much as the people who have lived this experience, or the people who've been on board for decades. This can be really offensive to the rest of us; especially if the new person starts trying to "educate" others about NDN issues from a place of relative ignorance. And especially if they spread misinformation this way, while claiming to be a member of this group, and in the process making messes for the rest of us to clean up.

I think it again comes back to white people's issues around impatience. Everyone makes mistakes. It is an inevitable part of the process. It's how people respond to the feedback that tells us a lot about their character - does someone learn and make amends? Or just get defensive and waste people's time with derailing? Not everyone speaks up when they see this happening, but everyone sees it.

Defend the Sacred:
Posts about individuals who already have their own threads here have been moved to those threads.

Attempts by self-proclaimed "allies" to own Indigenous people who barely know them have been addressed or deleted and those who have misrepresented themselves have been blocked. Some of these issues are addressed in the type of fake "allies" described in the essay linked below.

Defend the Sacred:
"Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex"  from Indigenous Action Media


Defend the Sacred:
This poster has been going around during some Black Lives Matter and Indigenous demos this spring and summer. It speaks to so many of the issues we've had to face here. Thanks to the crew at IndigAnon. I think you have to be logged in to see it, but maybe the Facebook post is public.

As the stated priority is to spread this info around, I'm going to copy the text here, too.


Helpful Hints for Would-Be Accomplices of Marginalized & Oppressed People

Please don't colonize us. Don't be a scene tourist.

Dear cishet white people, or others with privilege over us,

We are not your photo op or SJW brownie point. It's Not. About. You.

1. You cannot declare yourself an ally.
If members of a marginalized, oppressed group take you in and claim you as an ally or accomplice, that's good... For those particular people. It's up to them, not you, and they don't speak for all others of their race, community, orientation or nation.

2. You cannot declare you are here to make us feel safe.
It is actually oppressive for you to show up and announce you are our "security team" when we don’t know you, when we never chose you to be on our team, and when you look, sound, and often act just like the people who have harmed us, and who are statistically most likely to harm us in the future. 

3. Do not colonize us.
LGBT, Two Spirit, Black Lives Matter, Indigenous, and our other in-community events are where we feel safe. Outsiders, no matter how well-meaning, announcing that you are going to come and make us feel safe, just shows that you know nothing about us. Most likely, you are the people we are here to take a break from.

4. You have to be invited.
Call your friends from that marginalized/oppressed community and ask how you can help. Do not dictate. Listen. Then listen some more. Then some more. Think about it. Think carefully.

5. If you DO NOT have any close friends from these communities...
who will call you out if you make a mistake, maybe you need to sit this one out. Maybe you need to do more reading and check in on social media and find a way you can literally sit on the sidelines just to witness and hold a sign in support.

6. If you are invited, by people from the oppressed community in question,
Listen to them. Follow their lead. Remember again that it is not about you. Signal boost and support in the ways they tell you. Hopefully, you know more than one person from that marginalized community so that person does not become burdened by racist expectations that they speak for all members of their race/orientation/community.

7. Make a commitment to ongoing learning, support and accountability.
This goes back to not being a scene tourist. Do not jump in, cause disruption and then leave. That harms communities and resistance efforts. Make a long-term, lifetime commitment to the real people in the community and the struggle, not just to vague principles. Be accountable to real people and demonstrate this commitment over the years and decades. Earn trust, don’t expect it. Be patient. Do the work. Keep listening.



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