by Mia McKenzie
People like to throw around the term “ally”. White people who claim to be anti-racist, non-disabled folks who claim to be invested in challenging ableist norms, cis queers who claim to understand the importance of trans* visibility. People claim “ally” for themselves regularly and with ease. But the truth is that being an ally takes more work than most of us imagine. In fact, it takes constant vigilance. And there are many ways we fail at it everyday. Frankly, some of us are just totally doing it wrong.
To help sort it out, I’ve compiled this list of “8 Ways Not To Be An Ally” and I hope it’s useful.
1. Assume one act of solidarity makes you an ally forever.
Remember that time your uncle said that fucked-up stuff about “illegal” Mexican immigrants and you were all, “Actually, Uncle, California is Mexico, so you need to read your history cuz that’s hella racist!” That shit rocked, bruh. And it totally means that you are an Ally with a capital A for, like, ever! Done and done. Let’s go get a celebratory slurpee. But you know what else? Nope. Being an ally takes waaaay more practice than that. It is a constantly active and evolving thing. I mean, imagine labeling yourself a great lover after you ate pussy once. That would be cray, wouldn’t it?
2. Make everything about your feelings.
The hurt feelings that resulted when you were called out on racism/transphobia/ableism/etc. are totally more important than the impact of the actions you are being called out for in the first place. Really. I’m not even being facetious. Psych! I mean, I know it feels like your feelings are Consideration #1, but they’re not. I have been guilty of this ridiculousness myself in the past. I think everybody is guilty of it sometimes. But that still doesn’t make it okay. Try to remember that people who have been impacted by your racist/transphobic/ableist/etc. words or actions are the ones whose feelings need attention right then. Not yours…