As Black History Month came to an end, it is still important to remember that the work does not stop here. Because I am a cis, white woman, I believe I should try and use my privilege to help those who aren’t in a position where they can help themselves. This past week, I have been reflecting back on what I can do to become a better ally, how I can educate myself on systems of oppression, and how I’m still learning how to best amplify voices within the Black community. I consider myself to be an ally, but I still recognize there is more room for me to grow. Along with this self-reflection, I have also been in tune with what other people around me have been doing, too. One thing I have noticed is some people post about issues concerning race, gender, discrimination, etc. on their Instagram story as a way to spread awareness about these issues. However, if you are sharing a post without doing any other work, this is performative activism at its core.
Admittedly so, I have been guilty of doing this. I thought I was doing my part simply by reposting images, but this could not be farther from the truth. Allyship is not performative, and it is not showing up for the fun, easy work while disappearing for the hard work. It is not going out of your way so you can be seen as one of “the good ones.” It is not acting nicely in public but not behind closed doors. Allyship is a continuum of being aware, staying active, and advocating for those less privileged than you.
However, allyship is taking in someone else’s struggle as your own, standing up when you feel scared, and transferring the benefits of your privilege onto those who lack it. Most importantly, it’s acknowledging that while we can feel the pain of others, the conversation is not about you.
While it can be uncomfortable, I highly encourage everyone to do some self-reflection about their allyship since this can keep you accountable. What you are going to do to make a genuine, impactful change?