Being A Better Ally
In times such as these, it is important to be aware of the various situations that are happening around the world. Whilst restrictions are easing and we are slowly returning to the ‘normal’, feelings of helplessness and frustration can arise when learning about injustices committed against minority communities. It is normal to ask ourselves, “what can I do?” and “am I doing enough?”. The answer to this is simply using the tools we have access to, to bring light these injustices to others and petition against them. The following tips are designed to help you become a firm and better ally.
Sharing blogs and information via social media has been very effective and supportive. However, there is a lot of fake news and altered information that circulates the internet. This can lead to negative narratives towards communities and hidden accurate information. The best way to avoid this is to do adequate research before you share and comment on situations. Inform yourself of the right resources. Research the state and history of the country and communities that you are allying with, and address the social issue with an informed approach.
Learn from your mistakes
As humans, we make mistakes. It is very easy to listen to one narrative and form a strict judgement. This leads to biased posts and news that cause further harm to communities that may be suffering. Be mindful of what you share and how certain issues can be perceived by others. Allow yourself to listen to those who are experiencing injustices first-hand.
Be prepared to change your ideas
Invoke active listening and engage in conversations with an open mind. Take on board areas for improvement, and be okay with the idea that you may be wrong. Being an ally is about being supportive and validating other’s experiences. Leaping in with ideas on how you think you can fix things before you’ve researched and listened will not help.
Every online platform is a platform worth creating awareness. Using your platform to share the experiences of others allow communities to feel heard and supported. When amplifying their voices, create a safe space that allows for comfortability and listening. Many communities that suffer injustices are tired, frustrated and angry. It’s important to help them share their experiences and give them that support. Try not to feel discouraged by the opinions of others. Instead of enabling negative narratives, unite towards alternative solutions.
Avoid ‘performative allyship’
Performative allyship can be defined as “the practice of words, posts and gestures that do more to promote an individual’s own virtuous moral compass than actually helping the causes that they’re intending to showcase”. You have to have the right intentions when being an ally, and posting solely for personal or commercial gain is toxic and does not prove to be authentic.
Stand your ground
When being an ally, you may be faced with other opinions that are discriminatory or offensive. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, but also to know what you can do about it. If someone makes a comment that is offensive, it is okay to try and educate them. However, this can turn nasty and if that is the case- make sure to report the user and the comment. Remember- you do not have to put up with online harassment. Make sure to keep in contact with loved ones as a support and safety net also.
If you are able to provide protection and safety to others, do so! Let your actions match your words. Make it your responsibility to educate and inform others, whilst also being a supportive person to fall back on. By using these steps, we become a more effective and supportive ally to those who need us.
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