Happy Monday everyone. This is Monday Musings, posts in which I talk about things that are not books (but are sometimes related to books). Today, though, is not about books, so if that’s not of interest to you, it won’t hurt my feelings if you stop reading here.
Today’s is about an exchange I was involved in on Twitter about allyship.
It began with this tweet.
I just don’t have it in me to try and teach those who self-identify as “allies” but really aren’t. You annoy the hell out of me & I’m tired.
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 22, 2017
And this response:
@ReignOfApril Yes Yes way to limit your appeal by tongue lashing those who may be making a first step across a bridge
— Ronald Suber (@ronaldfsuber) January 22, 2017
To which I said, “I think you may have missed the point.” He disagreed.
I thought about a presentation I went to last week where a transman, who does education around issues facing transgender people, said that there are certain people in certain situations he doesn’t feel like he should have to educate. Like his doctors when he goes in for an appointment, for example.
There are plenty of opportunities for people to educate themselves. I suggested utilizing Google, though a healthy amount of media literacy is also required for this particular method. But there are trainings, too. Find non-profit organizations that do community outreach and connect with them. There are people who are willing do the educational piece. But that doesn’t mean individuals cannot use their own agency to get started, rather than waiting on someone from the marginalized group to tell them what to do.
I imagine that for some, it’s exhausting to have to both fight and educate at the same time.
And if an individual wants to be an ally, great! We need more allies. There are groups for which I am an ally, and it’s my responsibility to educate myself, and ask meaningful questions. I think it’s unreasonable to expect people who are fighting for equal treatment under the law to stop their fight to answer the questions that it would be easy for me to answer myself using a Google search and reading a number of responses.
So the point is agency and initiative. Sounds simple. In reality, it’s much more nuanced and complicated that I expressed here.
Tomorrow, back to our regularly scheduled book stuff. I hope you’ll stay with me.
Honestly, I feel like part of being an ally is making it so marginalized people don’t have to use their time and energy to educate everyone. Expecting a marginalized person to educate you when there are so many resources out there literally negates your job as an ally. A true ally understands that marginalized people have been educating people their whole lives and it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting.
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That’s how I feel, too. It’s why I so adamantly go to bat for the Somalian students in my school who people sometimes pick on because they never met anyone who wears a hijab. I think, too, that people who are part of marginalized groups need to remember that they’re not the only marginalized group, and they could do to be good allies to other groups as well. Thanks for chiming in. 🙂
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