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Allyship & Advocacy

A Stand Up Speak Up Workshop Series

Inspired by our founders' own journeys

The Allyship Workshop Series was created in house at Stand Up Speak Up by a small team of writers and researchers with the consultation of several sensitivity readers. We present this information as an invitation to learn along with us and do not claim to be experts on the topic of allyship and advocacy. If you have any questions or concerns about anything you see in this workshop, please let us know. We hope this workshop will evolve as we continue to listen and become better allies.

Welcome from Karla

Throughout the different iterations of this company (and yes, there have been a few) the core message and purpose has always been the same: To create a site that allows us and our customers more opportunities to speak up about and support causes, organizations and groups we are passionate about and that could use additional support.

In the beginning, I have to admit I was a little naive about what that really meant. I didn’t know what the best ways to help and speak up really were, especially when it came to advocating for groups or organizations I didn’t have a direct connection to and was seeing from the outside. Before a few years ago, I’m not even sure I had really heard the term “ally” before.

I think the Black Lives Matter movement and several other groups advocating for marginalized communities have done a lot in the past few years to really educate us on what it means to be an ally and how we as outsiders can best support a movement or cause. I have done so much reading and learning in the last year and the more I have learned, the more I wanted to pass on that knowledge and amplify the voices of those I have learned from to others.

As I learn, I continue to make mistakes. Being an ally is not at all what I thought it was. I had to learn about vulnerability first:

I had to stop pretending I was an authentic ally for all causes that angered me but I had not yet done the research to truly understand the deep rooted impact it had on those affected.

I did not realize that I had to be free of my own demons of shame, guilt and failing to acknowledge my privilege before I could truly immerse myself in helping others.

I also had to recently accept that I hadn’t even been a vocal ally for a community I was a part of, because I was ashamed to be counted among its numbers. I recently came forward about my own story of sexual assault, something I don’t know if I could have done if not for this journey into allyship. 

Vulnerability at its deepest level only came about when I was truly ready to trust others and believe people at their core are kind, non-judgment and want to be supportive. It took me years on this journey even to be able to tell my own story. In telling it, I could better focus on giving back to sexual assault centres’ volunteers and staff – those that help women 24/7 every day of the year. They are needed to listen to women who are experiencing shock , denial, shame, anger, sadness, and confusion.

I also know that my learning is not over. As I continue to rethink systemic bias that has been ingrained in all of us in our culture and change my approach and behaviors, I know I will continue to make mistakes and will need to continue standing back to listen. I wanted to encourage members of this amazing Stand Up Speak Up community to come along and learn with me. So, along with my team, I created this workshop featuring videos, articles and exercises that have really helped me in my own journey to allyship.

I hope that you will approach it with an open heart and mind. This work is not easy. And you will not find all of the answers to being an ally here. I just hope we can all learn together and this will open you up to some amazing voices that are doing advocacy work everyday.

Thank you for taking this journey with me!

-Karla xo

Table of Contents

We have presented Allyship 101 in eight parts. We recommend taking them in order, as some of the information does build off previous parts. 

PART 1: ALLYSHIP SELF REFLECTION QUIZ (5 minutes)
  • One of the keys to effective allyship is self reflection and being able to assess your own feelings, actions and goals. Take this quiz to see where you are at right now in terms of your openness, excitement, hesitation or fear.
PART 2: WHAT IS AN ALLY? (10 minutes)
  • An intro into the concepts explored in this module
  • Intro to the Guide to Allyship
  • Video: 5 Tips for Being an Ally from Franchesca Ramsey
PART 3: EFFECTIVE LISTENING (15 minutes)
  • The tools and practices of effective listening
  • Video: What happens when I talk race with white people with Renni Eddo-Lodge
PART 4: WHAT IS PRIVILEGE? (10 minutes)
  • Explanation of privilege and intersectionality
  • Wheel of Power and Privilege
  • Video: What Is Privilege? from Buzzfeed
PART 5: ACKNOWLEDGING PRIVILEGE (15 minutes)
  • A look at why we commonly fail to acknowledge and accept our own privilege
  • Video: Dr. Joy DeGruy: Cracking the Codes 
  • Infographic: Kinds of Privilege
PART 6: BARRIERS TO ALLYSHIP (15 minutes)
  • 3 barriers you might encounter while being an ally
  • Video: Why Do You Think Stereotypes are True by Decoded
  • Video: Advice for White People from Anti-Racism Trainer by NowThis
  • Video: Prince Harry Didn’t Understand Unconscious Bias Until Living a Day in Megan’s Shoes by ET Canada
PART 7: AVOIDING PERFORMATIVE ALLYSHIP (10 minutes)
  • List of red flags for performative social media posts
  • Video: What Is Performative Allyship? by Seventeen Magazine
  • Video: Turn Performative Wokeness into Allyship by Jezebel
PART 8: YOUR ALLY STYLE QUIZ (5 minutes)
  • 4 results of different actionable allyship roles
NEXT STEPS
  • One reflection to take with you through your allyship work 
  • Some suggestions on next steps in your active allyship
  • Link to resources used as well as additional reading suggestions

Part One: Allyship Self-Reflection Quiz

One of the keys to effective allyship is self reflection and being able to assess your own feelings, actions and goals. When taking this quiz, try to remain open and be honest with yourself. This will help you to continue to learn and listen to your own needs and inner voice throughout this process.

Part Two: What Is An Ally?

What It Means to Be an Ally

In a 2016 tweet, Kayla Reed, co-founder and executive director of Action St. Louis (a grassroots racial justice organization that seeks to build political power for Black communities in the St. Louis, Missouri, region of the United States), laid out what it means to be an effective ally: 

Before we can use our own voice to speak out against injustice, we must centre those most impacted. We must listen and learn to make sure that we understand an issue from all sides before we speak. In many circumstances, we are called to use our position to allow members of marginalized communities to step forward and speak for themselves instead of us speaking for them.

The Guide to Allyship, an open source guide curated and created by Amélie Lamont, expands on this further:

To Be an Ally Is To...

  1. Take on the struggle as your own. 
  2. Stand up, even when you feel scared.
  3. Amplify voices of the oppressed before your own.
  4. Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
  5. Acknowledge that even though you feel pain, the conversation is not about you.
  6. Be willing to own your mistakes and de-center yourself.
  7. Understand that your education is up to you and no one else.

The following sections of these allyship modules will take you through exercises, videos, articles, and additional resources, to not only understand more of the fundamentals of being an effective ally for marginalized communities, but also how allyship can improve your own life and the lives of those around you.

Our first video comes from writer, actress and video blogger Franchesca Ramsey, who was a writer on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central and is currently the host of the MTV web series Impact (formally Decoded). In 2014, she created a video outlining some simple tips for being an ally.

To recap, Franchesca’s tips are:

  1. Understand Your Privilege
  2. Listen and Do Your Homework
  3. Speak Up, Not Over
  4. Make Your Mistakes! Apologize When You Do
  5. Ally Is a Verb

For the complete list of resources offered by Ramsey (including updated options for out-of-date selections), refer to our Resources section at the end of this workshop.

As you can see, the definition of Ally changes a little for everyone and your own definition might change over time. Right now, what does being an ally mean for you? Take a minute and write down your own list. Try to think about actionable things that allies do and what drives them, rather than vague descriptions. How are you already demonstrating allyship in your everyday life?

In the next section, we will talk about something that should be on everyone’s list of responsibilities as an ally: Effective Listening.

Part Three: Effective Listening

“Listening is the root of justice.”

Jamie Utt (from his article of the same name for The Good Man Project)

Before you can be an effective ally for any group, cause or movement, you first need to learn about it. And that involves a lot of listening, which might seem easy enough. What many of us don’t realize is that our listening skills are usually less developed than our speaking skills. This module is meant to help center you in the practice of listening when it comes to allyship and advocacy.

Seek Out Lived Experience

When you’re educating yourself on any cause, community, or platform seeking allies (usually sparked by an event or political action), you will find a variety of voices attempting to influence you and to provide you with “the right way” to help. The best sources are those with lived experience dealing with the issue long before it received media attention. These are people who come from the community that you wish to be an ally for. For example, if you’re looking for ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, support your local BLM chapter, follow and buy from Black artists and business owners, and take your cues from Black advocates and Black people in general. 

Believe and Acknowledge What You Hear

When you come from a different background and experience, your first reaction when hearing about others’ negative experiences may be shock, disbelief, and the desire to find a “reason” for why some people are not treated with the equality, respect, and love that they deserve. This is a natural impulse, as no one wants to believe the place they live is not safe for all. So, we try to convince ourselves that the new information is either not true or that we could prevent it from happening to us and those we care about.

If you’re gifted the opportunity to hear others express their truth and stories, resist the urge to question the truth of their experience, even if you feel it will help you understand further. Keep in mind that while the best way to learn can be through those with lived experience sharing their stories, it is no one’s responsibility to educate you on these matters. Most will be open to you asking some questions, but understand that these conversations can bring up trauma and pain. Do your best to allow them to lead the conversation forward without feeling pressure to continue. This can be done by simply acknowledging that you are grateful to hear their story and know that it could be difficult to tell.

Resist the Urge to Debate or Make Suggestions

While it’s important to challenge people when they display problematic, biased, or discriminatory behavior, there is no room for playing devil’s advocate when you’re actively listening to others’ experiences. As allies, we have the chance to view things as outsiders, without bringing up our own personal trauma. While you may feel that challenging someone is helping you learn, it could be adding to their suffering and the exhaustion of living with systemic injustices on a daily basis. You will learn more through practicing listening to understand, rather than focusing on how you will respond. 

When we’re trying to help someone else, we can also resort to trying to problem-solve. This can manifest as thoughts like: “Have you tried…”, “Maybe if you just…” or “We should…”, for example.  While this is usually done with the best of intentions, it can easily be interpreted as attempting to take the lead or minimizing a complex issue that does not have a single solution. As an ally, the best thing you can do is to offer support and truly listen to the experiences of others. From there, you can start to assess how you might be able to work towards change.

Practice Care and Control With Your Feelings

We are often taught that our emotions are always valid and that showing them freely is healthy and a practice of self-care. While this can be true, showing heightened emotion can also shift the focus away from the person you’re speaking as they attempt to sooth rather than continue to share their story. 

This is a good opportunity to use Ring Theory, a system developed by psychologist Susan Silk to help determine how to best support those in grief or trauma. It advises using a method of “Comfort In” and “Dump Out”. In any interaction, those closest to the trauma or pain are allowed to dump out – say anything, vent or show their full range of emotions. Those less directly affected should focus on comforting and providing support.

When you’re listening to someone share their experience of trauma and hardship, do your best to keep the focus on them and give them the space to experience things as emotionally or neutrally as they choose. It is the goal that you take in the emotion of the situation and empathize with them. 

This does not mean shutting off your emotions and reactions all together, which might result in you seeming closed or lacking empathy. Instead, express your feelings while centering back on them: “That sounds so scary.” “I’m sorry that happened to you.” “Thank you for sharing with me and I would like to help in any way I can.”

But we all do need to “dump out” every once in a while. It is part of processing what you have learned. In this situation, you simply need to seek out someone who is equally or less directly affected as you are. In terms of allyship, this might mean someone within your inner circle of family and friends or a fellow ally. This is why it is important to find a community of allies that you can discuss things with, rather than going it alone. 

To learn more about the Ring Theory, read about it here.

The following diagram was created by Namira Islam Anani, a human rights educator and trainer, in her article Modifying Ring Theory for Allyship for Medium. This article is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking to be a better ally.

Listening Exercise

What was your reaction to Renni Eddo-Lodge’s story? 

When listening, did you find yourself wanting to respond to anything Eddo-Lodge said? 

What sensations/emotions did you feel when you read/heard the title of her essay and now book? 

How do you think you would have reacted to her comments at the Women’s March? 

Active listening does not mean staying completely silent. It does not mean you are not allowed to have thoughts and opinions of your own. It means creating a space where the person you’re listening to feels not only comfortable, but in control and your main focus. If the speaker does feel comfortable, it creates an opening for this to turn into a dialogue where you can engage with your own questions and thoughts. It is a process that starts with simple judgement-free listening without turning focus back onto yourself. 

The next essential for any ally is understanding their own privilege, which we will discuss in the next two modules.

Mini Quiz: Test What You Have Learned So Far

Part Four: What Is Privilege?

Privilege, simply put, is societally granted, unearned advantages accorded to some people and not others. Generally, when we talk about privilege, we are referring to systemic or structural advantages that impact people based on identity factors such as race, gender, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexuality, class, and body type. We might also include level of education and other factors of social capital under the umbrella of privilege.”

– From An Instructor’s Guide to Understanding Privilege, University of Michigan Inclusive Teaching 

Privilege is intersectional, meaning that most of us experience some sort of privilege in our lives and have lived with the benefits that come with us while experiencing discrimination or prejudice because of a separate facet of our identity.

For example, a white woman in her 50s, who grew up and currently lives in a middle-class neighborhood, would have advantages of race and class but likely experiences barriers, ranging from discrimination at work to a higher risk of assault, because she is a woman. Factors like her appearance and size, her religion, her sexual orientation and her education status could also affect her in positive or negative ways.

Intersectionality is a term coined by professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 to describe how different characteristics, traits or identities can intersect or overlap. It was mostly used in legal settings until recently, and is often misunderstood in its intentions, as some feel it is being used to shift the hierarchy of privilege by allowing those who have been marginalized in the past to take a new position at the top. But, in reality, the goal of discussing concepts like this is to dismantle any systems of hierarchy and privilege all together, allowing us all to exist as equals. 

If you would like to learn more about intersectionality, Kimberlé Crenshaw and her continued work, read the intersectionality wars by Jane Coaston for Vox. Here is a short excerpt:

“Intersectionality was a prism to bring to light dynamics within discrimination law that weren’t being appreciated by the courts,” Crenshaw said. “In particular, courts seem to think that race discrimination was what happened to all black people across gender and sex discrimination was what happened to all women, and if that is your framework, of course, what happens to black women and other women of color is going to be difficult to see.”

The Wheel of Power and Privilege

To further understand how different identities can overlap, illustrator Sylvia Duckworth created this Wheel of Power and Privilege. This was developed from the Canadian Council for Refugee’s Power WheelWith this, you are able to see a number of different sectors of privilege and how you can experience a high level of privilege in one, but still experience the setbacks of another:

From this, the most important detail is to remember that privilege exists on a range of spectrums and is different for each person. Examining and discovering your own privilege will come for looking at your position within a number of different groups, systems and societal hierarchies. While you might be in the highest position of power in one, you might be in the lowest in another. Understanding your privileges and those areas where you lack privilege might help you navigate when you can use your position to achieve change and might ignite your passion and fight when it comes to deciding on areas of advocacy that are important to you.

Part Five: Acknowledging Your Privilege

Most of us understand and don’t deny that there is systematic inequality throughout the world. Throughout time, different groups have used their influence and power to put themselves at the top and built countries, governments and institutions around ideals meant to keep them there. As societies evolve, generations are raised to either ignore or embrace these imposed hierarchies as the “norm.” 

While most of us are able to recognize the concept of privilege as a concept, without realizing it, we can fail to understand and embody our own privileges and how they can impact us and those around us.  A common misconception is that privilege as finite – either you have it or you don’t. It is actually a spectrum where each person’s situation is unique and everyone will receive privilege in some areas and likely lack it in others.

A good way to better understand the concept of privilege is to visualize it. Compare it to running a race, where some factors allow us a free step forward while others are held back. This video by Buzzfeed shows a great exercise examining privilege in a visual way: 

Did you notice the change in mood from the beginning of this exercise to the end for the participants? Truly acknowledging and owning our privileges is not easily done. You may have feelings of guilt, anger, and defensiveness rise to the surface as you’re going through this process. 

Let’s look closer at some of the reasons that we commonly overlook our privileges:

Privilege is, by definition, something you are blind to as you go through life

In our section about active listening, we talk about the danger of expressing your disbelief and shock when listening to someone else’s perspective or story. But the truth is that it is difficult to believe something that you have never seen or experienced. Our brains want to revert back to what they know when they are presented with new information. This means you might be fighting against your own thoughts and those things you have believed to be true for your entire life. It can be easier to simply not believe that privilege exists, rather than acknowledge that you were blind to it and likely even contributed to the oppression of others. 

It feels like it erases personal struggles

There has always been a large link between the concept of privilege and struggle or trauma. This is because the lack of privilege often does lead to active discrimination, prejudice and even violence. With this, comes one word in the definition of privilege that can be triggering:

Privilege is an unearned advantage given to one set of people and not to another.

It is natural that when you read a word like unearned, you think of all of the work you have put in to get the things you have in life and achieve your position. As mentioned in our section on intersectionality, having a high level of privilege in one sector does not eliminate hardships you might face somewhere else. It simply means that one part of your identity could be an advantage you have limited control over. 

We all want to take complete ownership of our position and pride in our accomplishments and this can cause resistance at the concept that some successes might have been out of our control, just as some failures have likely been. If you are feeling this way, try to remember that privilege might have given you an advantage, but that can only take you so far. Your actions, choices and hard work are always going to be part of the equation of your success.

It’s important to remember that examining privilege means looking at the systems that close doors for people based on factors they cannot control and those that deny people rights that should be given to all equally. It is not a finite measure of difficulty someone has had in their life.

It feels like taking the blame for things outside of your control

When dealing with privilege, we are speaking of systemic beliefs and practices that have been in place for (at least) hundreds of years. It is the accumulation of dozens of generations uniformly elevating some lives and the rights of some over others.

If you’ve ever been in a discussion where the actions of people of the past have been cited as contributing to your own privilege, you can easily have the reaction of, “Well, that was them and not me. I would never do that and I shouldn’t be blamed or punished for their wrongdoings.” On the surface, this isn’t completely false. Just the act of reading this page and learning more about privilege, social justice, and allyship shows that you care about equality far more than many did in the past.

What is important to keep in mind is that a proper path forward, one where we can truly heal old wounds and create a system with equality, can only be achieved by fully acknowledging and accepting what occurred in the past. This requires both atonement and action, and since those who committed these acts are no longer here, it does require that our generations do the work to help marginalized groups to heal. 

This is by no means an easy task. It does mean accepting responsibility for attitudes and actions that came long before us, as well and consistently condoning and fighting against similar attitudes that still exist today. While no one can change the past, you can prove you are on the side of change right now.

It demands a shift in how you view your place in the world

In The Undefeated’s article Why do so many people deny the existence of white privilege? by Brando Simeo Starkey, the author references Arlie Russell Hochschild’s book Strangers in Their Own Land and says:

“[Arlie Russell] interviews working-class and middle-class white people in Louisiana and learns they’re disenchanted with their government and no longer recognize their country. They feel as if black folk, other minorities, immigrants, and refugees have cut ahead of them in line, meaning the government caters to others before them. The line-cutting angers them, although they never question why they should occupy the first position. That implicit assumption — I should be tended to before all others — encapsulates how they view white privilege as natural and invisible.”

We are conditioned to believe the systems in which we live fundamentally work and should continue functioning as they do now. But, for centuries, these systems have prioritized certain people above others. Examining our own privilege means pulling back the layers of what we believe we “deserve”. We also need to look at who the gatekeepers to different opportunities really are. This forces us to widen our scope to not only see how we have earned our position based on our own work and expertise, but also see all of the people who worked just as hard (and sometimes harder) who were not even let through the door to apply. 

We need to ask ourselves where we were given a head start or advantage over others in life because of the identities we hold. Doing this work is difficult. Once you realize your position within any constructed hierarchy, you can choose to use your position to advocate for those who have been denied the same opportunities. 

Using your privilege can be one of the greatest tools that you have in being an ally. Here is a short story of how someone stepping up and using their voice can affect change:

Acknowledging your own privilege is one of the most important but one of the most difficult things that an ally needs to do. It means examining your own life and position in a completely different way than you likely have before. It then means deciding how actively you are willing to speak up and and fight for those who currently lack privilege in our current system and how much you’re willing to fight for dismantling systemic bias and discrimination with our society on all levels. 

Next, we are going to continue looking at the barriers to allyship and why it has taken so long to make these systemic changes.

Mini Quiz: Test What You Have Learned So Far

Part Six: Barriers to Allyship

A variety of emotions, feelings and reactions are going to come up for you throughout your journey to becoming an ally and with each situation that you encounter within this space. It is important to remember that you will not always choose the best possible thing to say or do, no matter how much experience you have. Mistakes will be made. New things will be learned.

What is important, is to consistently assess your own behaviors and actions alongside those of others and our societies systems and practices as a whole. When you are feeling scared, defensive, angry, or confused, it can help to dig to find out where those feelings and responses are coming from. 

In this module, we will be looking at a few barriers that might come up for you along the way.

Your Comfort Zone

To be an effective ally, you will be asked to learn about your comfort zone on a regular basis. Are you afraid to speak up and ruin the family dinner when someone makes a racist comment?? Comfort zone. Choose your new home based on the “best” neighborhoods? Comfort zone. Rely on common stereotypes to form an opinion rather than getting to know the individual?Comfort zone. Only watch films and read books about characters that you personally identify with? Comfort zone.

Keep in mind the saying, “Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” It takes strength and courage to step outside of what is comfortable, but it needs to be done if you are going to achieve positive change within yourself as well as help contribute to change in the world around you.

A great place to start when examining your comfort zone is looking at how you respond to stereotypes. This video by Franchesca Ramsey for MTV’s Decoded is a great place to start:

The Need for a Personal Connection

Being an ally means being an active participant and working for change for the long-term. We all know that systemic change does not come quickly. So, there might be times when you become tired, disillusioned or lose hope that you can make a difference alongside others. There are likely going to be times when you question if this is even the right space for you.

For those working towards allyship, there is a risk of experiencing imposter’s syndrome. You might question if you really “belong” fighting for the rights of groups that you don’t belong to or speaking up about issues where you don’t have personal experience. Keep in mind that when it comes to creating more equality in the world, it is the majority, who currently hold the most power, who should hold the burden to change. This is something we are all involved in, even if you don’t have an inside look into the lives of those who have been oppressed or need your support. 

Flipping the burden of responsibility can change everything when it comes to finding that personal connection:

Racism is a problem white people need to fix.

Assault against women and sexism is a problem men need to fix.

Ableism is a problem able bodied people need to fix.

This video featuring Anti-Racism Trainer Matthew Kincaid for NowThis is a great beginning to shifting that focus when it comes to supporting Black communities. 

Personal Bias & the Limits of Perspective

Often, allyship calls for us to challenge bias, prejudice, and discrimination in the world. However, none of us are without bias within ourselves. We have lived in worlds filled with systemic biases and have been taught that these attitudes and values are the “norm” and even the “ideal.” When you’re starting your journey as an ally, it can feel hypocritical to call for an end to all bias and unjust behavior.

Keep in mind that being an ally does not erase past behavior or mean that you need to be “perfect” in your actions going forward. Being an ally means that you’re making a conscious effort every day to improve your own speech and actions to promote equal rights for all and to positively influence others as best you can. You will likely continue to make mistakes but are willing to grow with them.

Here is a great snippet of an interview with Prince Harry talking about his moment of realization of his unconscious bias and what that meant during an interview for British GQ with Patrick Hutchinson:

Examining your own barriers will not only make you a better ally, but it will also give you a better understanding of who you are as a person. You might find these barriers showing up in other elements of your life where they are holding you back. 

As you likely already know, being an ally is about more than just talk. It requires a lot of work and consistent assessment of your actions and what more you can do to listen, learn and grow. In our next module, we will talk a little about avoiding being a performative ally and how these practices can actually be counterproductive to the movement or group you are trying to support.

Part Seven: Avoiding Performative Allyship

A Performative Ally: Someone who professes support for a marginalized group in a way that is unhelpful or actively harmful. 

One common example of performative allyship is when someone posts about a cause online, but does not invest in the cause itself. This following quote from an article by Holliday Phillips called Performative Allyship Is Deadly (Here’s What to Do Instead) refers to this behavior as “public allyship”. Phillips is a sociologist, educator on racial justice and healing, integral coach and co-founder of Kula, a consultancy that helps organisations develop conscious leadership and inclusive cultures. 

I am not overlooking the fact that public allyship can help spur positive change. Voices can be heard, and some small version of justice may even be served as a result. But we must also not be lulled into believing that this kind of allyship is enough to dismantle the conditions that made it possible for an innocent black man to be lynched in broad daylight. And we must not let the kind of performative allyship that begins and ends with hashtags take center stage in the quest for equality.

In the article, Phillips also outlines some red flags for identifying performative posts on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook:

  1. “The post is usually simple—a few words, an image or whatever the going hashtag is (in the aesthetic of their personal brand, of course). Performative allyship refuses to engage with the complexity below the surface or say anything new.
  2. It almost always expresses itself as outrage, disbelief, or anger “at the injustice.” But your outrage isn’t useful — if anything, it’s a marker of your privilege, that to you racism is still surprising. Trust me when I say this is not so for black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) for whom racism is an everyday reality.
  3. It refuses to acknowledge any personal responsibility for the systemic issues that provided the context for the relevant tragedy. Instead, it looks at a villain “out there” — a crooked police officer or a heartless conservative. It separates you (good) from them (bad).
  4. Perhaps most noticeable, it’s usually met with praise, approval, or admiration for the person expressing it. That is its lifeblood.”

Performative allyship does not only exist online. Here is a short story from academic, writer, speaker and activist Rachel Cargle:

The following two videos show different perspectives on performative allyship and how it can be counterproductive to a movement:

The following Instagram graphic series does a great job of showcasing different incidences of performative allyship and how they can be shifted to offer real allyship. This series was created by Tyler Allen, a photographer and social media expert living in Detroit. She based it off the article What Is Performative Allyship? Making Sure Anti-Racism Effects Are Helpful by Monisha Rudhran.

Being an effective ally is not something that happens overnight with one decision or action. These modules are all about learning, listening and growing together as a community and we are so thankful you were willing to learn along with us. As the final part of this workshop, take our quiz on finding your Ally Style. This will not only help you see your strengths and areas of power when it comes to helping to push a movement forward, but might also help you better understand yourself.

Mini Quiz: Test What You Have Learned So Far

Part Eight: What's Your Ally Style?

There are many different ways that you can make a difference and be an effective ally. The right choice for you will combine your talents, interests and the needs of the community you are advocating for.

Next Steps

Congratulations on completing the Allyship 101 Workshop Series. Before moving on, we recommend that you take a moment to reflect on what you have learned with the following three questions. You can write down your answers to allow a free flow of thought or just use them to help with your internal reflection.

  1. What does being an effective ally now mean to you?
  2. Have you reflected on any past experiences that you now realize were problematic? How do you plan to improve in the future?
  3. What is your next step in your journey to allyship?

Looking for next steps? Continuing to work and listen is a great place to start. Here are some other suggestions for moving forward with action:

  • Follow advocates and creators from diverse backgrounds on social media.
  • Seek out videos, podcasts, articles and entertainment that show varied perspectives on the world.
  • Start conversations with your own community about allyship and equality on a local, state or provincial and national level.
  • Look into your elected representatives and stay up to date on policies and news that affect human rights and issues of equality and inclusion.
  • Start speaking up when you see discrimination or policies, actions and systems that promote oppression or fail to support everyone equally.

A Gift From Us

We at Stand Up Speak Up are so thankful to each person who is willing to learn alongside us on the topics of allyship and advocacy. As an acknowledgement of all of your hard work, we would like to send you a small gift to both show our appreciation and as a keepsake to remember all that you have learned. To receive your gift, simply fill out the form below. 

(Your mailing address will only be used to mail your gift and will not be used for any other promotional materials.)

Resources

Resource list created by Franchesca Ramsey and mentioned in her video:

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize

White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

(Franchesca’s link no longer works, but check this video out on the same topic by the same speaker)

The Angry Eye – Blue Eye Brown Eye experiment 

(Again Franchesca’s link no longer works, but this video is of the experiment. Be aware that the language is of the era in 1968 and not language we would use today.)

Managing Privilege: http://www.upworthy.com/shut-the-fck-…

10 Things Allies Need to Know: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/t…

Derailing for Dummies: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

White Anti-Racism: Living the Legacy: http://www.tolerance.org/supplement/w…

10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/09/n..

Resources for Straight or Cisgender People:

Queer 101: http://www.roostertailscomic.com/comi…

GLAAD’s Resources for Allies: http://www.glaad.org/resources/ally

Transwhat? Tips for Allyship: http://transwhat.org/allyship/

10 Reasons to Give Up Ableist Language: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-…

Colorlines: http://colorlines.com/

Melissa Harris Perry Black Feminism Syllabus: http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-p…

How to be a Male Feminist Ally: http://feministcurrent.com/7988/how-t…

An Instructor’s Guide to Understanding Privilege, created by the University of Michigan

https://transequality.org/issues/us-trans-survey 

If you know of any resources we should add to this list, please let us know at info@standupspeakup.ca

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