There’s stuff going on in the blogosphere about allies, based on some intense racist stuff that’s happened for some WOC bloggers in the US.
Links and back links are Angry Black Woman blog: The Seal Press racist fiasco
Racialicious: Learning your own biases
So now I’m thinking about allies, especially white anti-racist allies, what we all can do together, and how to keep up the energy when it seems like there are no allies out there.
There are many communities of allies in the progressive feminist circles I work, play and activist in (just made that verb up just now.). I might have to break this down into a few parts.
Part I. Know when to Shut the Fuck Up.
This is the starting place. When one has certain privilege, but one doesn’t know it, or doesn’t pay attention to it, one can make an ass out of oneself by yammering on and on when one knows sweet fuck all. If someone is willing to talk/share about an experience/lived reality/politic that you don’t share: Shut the fuck up!
Think about it. When we ask others to be allies to us, what’s one of the first things we ask them? To listen, right? As allies this is the very least you can do.
Part II. Don’t expect gratitude, or being noticed, when you shut the fuck up in an appropriate manner.
Angry Black Woman talks about this as getting “cookies”. This is hard ongoing work and you can’t expect everyone from the marginalized group to continually give you praise for “getting it”, for being “one of the good ones” or whatever. Doing so takes even more energy and we need to save that for our fights, not making our supposed allies “feel good”. Alliance work is not about feeling good, it’s about an ideal of how we all hope to be together, with each other.
Part III. This is never over, you will continue to fuck up and get it wrong for the rest of your life.
The heading kind of says it all. If you ever, EVER think that you finally understand now, have an aha! moment, or think, god those white folks are so clueless, lucky me that I’m so smart, or any such bullshit, stop and think again.
If you think you know it all, go read some more books, go learn more, go out and not talk and listen some more. Notice how you respond when you fuck up, because you will. It’s a lifelong commitment.