AU1.1 – Background to Allies

What is your understanding of being an Ally?

  • Do you know what an ally is?
  • Do you see yourself as an ally?
  • Have you ever been supported by an ally?
  • Have you ever supported as an ally?
  • Would you feel safe acting as an ally?

The Guide to Allyship

Below is a few snippets from Amélie Lamont’s Guide to Allyship. If you would like more information, please visit her page. Used here with permission.

To be an ally is to:

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

UWE Student video – Racism on Placement

A number of different accounts of student nurses talking about their problems with racism whilst working on placement at NHS Hospitals.

Being an Ally

Being an ally is hard work

Many would-be allies fear making mistakes that could have them labeled as “-ist” or “-ic” (racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, etc). But as an ally, you’re also affected by a system of oppression. This means that as an ally, there is much to unlearn and learn—mistakes are expected. You need to own this as fact and should be willing to embrace the daily work of doing better.

As an ally, you need to own your mistakes and be proactive in your education, every day.

The DosThe Don’ts
Own your comments and actionsMake assumptions about people
Understand we can all make mistakes Use stereotypes
Make a sincere apologyBlame the individual because they are upset
Get to know people before you start using one-linersGet angry and defensive
Treat people as you would want to be treated, if you were themLook for support from others in a group setting
Learn from mistakesIgnore the fact that you may have caused offence
If you’re not sure what to say…askLaugh off mistakes like nothing has happened
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