7 Tips To Being A Better Ally To Minorities On A College Campus

Here's how to start being a better ally to people of color or minority groups on college campuses. 

1. Listen

If your friend tells you something you are doing makes them feel uncomfortable–from cultural appropriation to using certain language–listen to them. It took guts for them to confront you, and they are being vulnerable with you about what is upsetting them. Listen and learn from what they tell you.

2. Make an effort to educate yourself

It’s taxing for minorities to always explain why blackface is wrong and why the word “gay” is not a slur–especially if it’s pretty common to see on the internet. If you have questions about these complex current debates, try doing your own research before approaching the topic in person. 

3. Don’t speak over minorities

When a person of color is talking about their experience, don’t equate it to your own. Instead, acknowledge their problems. Trying to equalize your struggles can belittle the unique struggles minorities face.

4. Don’t "play devil’s advocate"

We get enough of that from people who genuinely don’t support or agree with minority issues. We don’t need even more of that from our friends, no matter what your intention is– it’s tiring.

5. Accept that all spaces do not include you

Certain clubs and organizations, like student unions or LGBTQ+ resource centers are meant to be safe spaces for students of that marginalized group to talk and feel comfortable. While there are some inclusive events for allies, minorities need a space and time for themselves that may not involve you.

6. Stand up for your minority friends

Don’t let racist jokes slide and call your friends out on when they exhibit sexist behavior even if there are no minorities present. It might be uncomfortable, but you can help others around you relearn their internalized racism by doing so.

7. Acknowledge your privilege

In some way or another, we all have some amount of privilege–whether it’s from our race, gender, sexuality or economic status. While it may be difficult for some, we all have to understand what we gain from that privilege and what it costs the minorities around us. Until we do that, we cannot work towards having a more equal society.