Author Topic: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally  (Read 23789 times)

Offline Defend the Sacred

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The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« on: October 01, 2009, 08:09:16 pm »
Thanks to karnythia for writing this.
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Original post: http://karnythia.livejournal.com/1387435.html

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

1. Don't derail a discussion. Even if it makes you personally uncomfortable to discuss X issue...it's really not about you or your comfort. It's about X issue, and you are absolutely free to not engage rather than try to keep other people from continuing their conversation.

2. Do read links/books referenced in discussions. Again, even if the things being said make you uncomfortable, part of being a good ally is not looking for someone to provide a 101 class midstream. Do your own heavy lifting.

3. Don't expect your feelings to be a priority in a discussion about X issue. Oftentimes people get off onto the tone argument because their feelings are hurt by the way a message was delivered. If you stand on someone's foot and they tell you to get off? The correct response is not "Ask nicely" when you were in the wrong in the first place.

4. Do shut up and listen. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of listening to the people actually living X experience. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone (however well intentioned) coming into the spaces of a marginalized group and insisting that they absolutely have the solution even though they've never had X experience. You can certainly make suggestions, but don't be surprised if those ideas aren't well received because you've got the wrong end of the stick somewhere.

5. Don't play Oppression Olympics. Really, if you're in the middle of a conversation about racism? Now is not the time to talk about how hard it is to be a white woman and deal with sexism. Being oppressed in one area does not mean you have no privilege in another area. Terms like intersectionality and kyriarchy exist for a reason. Also...that's derailing. Stop it.

6. Do check your privilege. It's hard and often unpleasant, but it's really necessary. And you're going to get things wrong. Because no one is perfect. But part of being an ally is being willing to hear that you're doing it wrong.

7. Don't expect a pass into safe spaces because you call yourself an ally. You're not entitled to access as a result of not being an asshole. Sometimes it just isn't going to be about you or what you think you should happen. Your privilege didn't fall away when you became an ally, and there are intra-community conversations that need to take place away from the gaze of the privileged.

8. Do be willing to stand up to bigots. Even if all you do is tell a friend that the thing they just said about X marginalized group is unacceptable, you're doing some of the actual work of being an ally.

9. Don't treat people like accessories or game tokens. Really, you get no cool points for having a diverse group of friends. Especially when you try to use that as license to act like an asshole.

10. Do keep trying. Fighting bigotry is a war, not a battle and it's generational. So, keep your goals realistic, your spirits up (taking a break to recoup emotional, financial, physical reserves is a-okay), and your heart in the right place. Eventually we'll get it right.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2012, 08:08:36 pm »
Additional helpful pages for learning to navigate the waters of racial discussions and discussions about appropriation:

The Ally's ToolKit  https://web.archive.org/web/20130626030246/http://allystoolkit.tumblr.com/
"Here you will find practical guidelines on how to support survivors of abuse and oppression, as well as informative insights on what support means and can look like."  Understanding the role of intent, tone arguments, intersectionality and accountability.

And if you read the "Dos and Don'ts" links above, you'll eventually get to this, but I'm adding a direct link here, as well:

White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack http://www.antiracistalliance.com/Unpacking.html
"Daily effects of white privilege.  Elusive and fugitive.  Earned strength, unearned power."
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 10:29:39 pm by Defend the Sacred »

Offline snail

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2012, 07:28:12 pm »
These are great, thank you!

Offline Cedar Tree

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2013, 04:13:27 am »
Was'te, Miigwetch, Gracias, Thank you for all the information and protocols for the NAFPS forum.
Cedar Tree

Offline BlueTick

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 10:52:59 pm »
I understand.
Thank you

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 04:41:37 pm »
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).

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 05:39:45 pm »
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.

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2015, 09:49:28 pm »
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.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2016, 06:36:51 pm by Yells At Pretendians »

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2016, 06:35:08 pm »
"Accomplices Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex"  from Indigenous Action Media

http://www.indigenousaction.org/accomplices-not-allies-abolishing-the-ally-industrial-complex/

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2016, 06:17:30 pm »
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.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/indiganon/helpful-hints-for-would-be-accomplices-of-marginalized-oppressed-people/1173746819313416
___________________________________________________________

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.

IndigAnon2016
____________________________________________________________

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2016, 06:20:18 pm »
Having problems with attachments again. The poster version is linked at the FB page.

Let's try again.



 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2016, 06:50:48 pm by Yells At Pretendians »

Offline In Solidarity

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2016, 11:38:33 am »
Thank you for this information.

I will do my very best to learn it and let it it inform my behaviour.

In Solidarity.

Offline ExcelGuy

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 07:34:59 pm »
...

The Ally's ToolKit  http://allystoolkit.tumblr.com/
"Here you will find practical guidelines on how to support survivors of abuse and oppression, as well as informative insights on what support means and can look like."  Understanding the role of intent, tone arguments, intersectionality and accountability.
...

I don't know where else to do this, but it looks like the Ally's toolkit has either been moved or hacked. I checked out the link to read the information. The result was not what I expected :)

Offline Defend the Sacred

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 10:14:46 pm »
Oh my. Yes. That link should be updated. Here's an archived version: https://web.archive.org/web/20130626030246/http://allystoolkit.tumblr.com/

A lot of this needs to be updated, anyway. The accomplices article and the poster address some of it... but what we've seen, especially in the  Frauds and Exploiters Profiting or Promoting Themselves off NoDAPL Thread, is that the Self-Declared Ally thing has become a huge problem, with people from an oppressor class declaring themselves allies to an oppressed people, rather than realizing that oppressed people are the only ones who can name who is doing the work of an actual ally or accomplice to their community.

It's also not all linear or black and white. Most of us are oppressed in some ways, and privileged in some others. It's rarely simple, and bullies looking for an excuse to push people around are not helpful, especially when they barge into communities they have no history with, and whose members have no reason to trust them. Entitled, wannabe white saviors are continuing to cause more harm than good.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 10:28:58 pm by Defend the Sacred »

Offline WINative

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Re: The Do's and Don'ts of Being a Good Ally
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2018, 05:28:13 am »
Very good info I think all "allies" should ready and even if you do everything above there is No reward. You won't get an adopted or an Indian name or eagle feather or be invited to ceremonies or honored in any way. One ally I know and trust said it's about being humble with no expectations and accepting the fact you will always be an ally.
It is getting harder to spot these true allies because many come with the look of just helping out but eventually their true motives come out. That's why I'll never bring another ally into the inner circles I take part in. You have to learn from your mistakes and they just don't belong there.