HOW TO BE AN ALLY
What is an ally?
An ally is someone who speaks up for a marginalized community and speaks out against hate. To be an ally is to be actively fighting for justice (simply cheering from the sidelines is performative and does nothing for change!). It takes learning, and sometimes even more importantly, unlearning. Being an ally is more than just a title, it is a choice, and it is a commitment to doing the work. Some people prefer the terms accomplice or co-conspirator because they imply a greater investment in the cause, but whichever label you adopt, the work remains the same – it is in what you do.
Black women continue to fight every day as they stand at the intersection of racism and sexism. Allies can support these women by helping to dismantle the ways in which our institutions and culture are deeply rooted in oppression. Though you might not fully understand what it feels like to be oppressed, being an ally means taking on the struggle as your own. One of the first steps towards being an effective ally is understanding white privilege.
What is white privilege?
White privilege exists because of historic and enduring racism. Privilege, particularly white, is hard to see for those who were born with access to power and resources. It is, however, very visible for those to whom privilege was not granted.
White privilege is an institutional (rather than personal) set of benefits granted to those who, by race, resemble the people who dominate the powerful positions in our institutions. White privilege is the notion that purely on the basis of your skin colour, doors will be open to you that are not open to other people.
White privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of
income or effort. White privilege doesn't mean that your life can’t be hard; rather, it is that your skin tone isn't one of the factors making it harder.
Why are allies necessary?
Though allies are not members of the underserved and oppressed communities, they can make a concerted effort to better understand the struggle every single day. As an ally, you can use your privilege as a powerful voice alongside those of the oppressed. Your privilege is the biggest benefit you can bring.
Your privilege can grant you access to people and places inaccessible to those who are Black. Your actions against racism carry less risk. You can ask your office why there are no managers of colour without worrying about losing your job. You can talk to fellow white people about why life is often more difficult for Black people without being dismissed as someone constantly playing “the race card”. You can speak out and question cops who are racial profiling without fear of getting shot.
As an ally, you can make a measurable impact in the fight against racism so long as you are willing to take on the uncomfortable truths of your privilege.
Though being an ally extends far beyond this organization, here are some ways you can support Odihi specifically as we stand up against the marginalization of Black women:
Donate: Organizations need funding to turn their missions into realities and Odihi is no exception. Check out our donations page if you have the means.
Spread the word: Share Odihi’s story with your friends, co-workers, and family. Help us expand our reach and allow us to be a resource for the Black community worldwide.
Get involved: You might not be eligible for our programs but that doesn’t mean you aren’t valued – help is always appreciated! Consider volunteering your time, partnering with us, or following us on social media.
Stay educated: Read about systemic racism. Consider the intersectionality of race and gender. Identify your own biases. Recognize your privileges. (Check out Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad, or How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi)
Continue to grow as an active ally. Remember, it is okay to be corrected throughout this process! Allow new information to shape your perspective and change your opinion.