I am not offended. I also do not subscribe to the notion of “ally,” in the sense of how it is used here.
Ally implies partnerships, agreements to combine or unite as a force, to receive mutual benefits. One group can still dominate, or receive unequal benefits, though both may receive “mutual” benefits. Mutual and equal do not mean the same thing. Mutual can still leave the aggrieved party (in the context of your question, this would be black/brown people) lacking, though both parties “got something,” (a mutual benefit).
As such, “allies” fail to realize that even when mutual benefits are received, the dominant culture can, and often does, benefit MORE. In this sense, I just don’t use the term “ally.” It simply does not represent a complete tearing asunder of racist systems of oppression. People are either willing to do the necessary anti-racism work, or they are not. The word “ally” does not fit into this for me. Don’t misunderstand; I don’t have a “problem” with the word. I just do not use it this way. If you are doing the work, and “doing it right,” you are anti-racist (not my ally). You do it because it is the right thing to do and not because of any benefits you may receive. In actuality, if you are “doing it right,” you will probably LOSE benefits, and this is why so many people do not seriously try to eradicate racism.
Things you can do: Speak up, no matter how uncomfortable you are, no matter where you are, and call out racist crap when you see it. Educate yourself about oppression and racism. This means READ… a LOT. Boost (amplify) the voices of those black and brown people who talk about racism. Amplifying doesn’t mean you add your thoughts to what you amplify. Just share the material. When you read about someone who made racist comments, take the time to call or email their school, employer, etc, and voice your outrage. Hold these cretins accountable. Perhaps, most importantly, remember these conversations and actions need to start with you… in YOUR spaces… at home, school, work, relationships, circles, etc. In the USA, racism started with white people, so address it at its root.
I want to apologize to you because I am dealing with a dying grandmother, and I will not be able to respond to any further inquiries you may have in the coming days. In fact, this is the last thing I saw before leaving the house. Feel free to ask further questions in a week or so. It took a lot of brain power to respond to you, but I didn’t want to leave you waiting. I’m headed to the hospice center now.
Thank you for dropping by my inbox.