This Feminist's POV: Imperfect Allyship
Hola out there! It’s JUNE, which means a host of things, like:
The summer is half way through even though its official first day was only last week.
It’s about to be as hot as Satan’s ass crack with Spanx on.
My face will be 10x darker than my chest no matter how much I attempt to even them out.
My sister will tan on vacation, on average, 2.13 times a month.
The nation is celebrating these holidays -
Let’s get Captain Obvious honest here, I’m a black woman. (Shocking, right?!) It’s obvious, beautiful, and I hope it’s one of the first things people notice about me INSTEAD of assuming the contrary task of “not seeing color” that some people like to adopt. Our differences are what color this world and give us all our unique blueprints as we navigate this Earth. There’s no reason to condemn, censure, attack, abuse, chastise, or ignore those that deviate from the “norm”, and I even struggle to say that since the “norm” generally lines up with what is white, heteronormative, cisgendered, patriarchal, and misogynstic. (Look ‘em up. I did.)
I consider myself a FEMINIST. If you don’t consider yourself the same or find fault with my proclamation, you can hit that X next to my logo in your browser right now. I’ll save you the trouble from experiencing increased blood pressure. I also like to consider myself an ALLY, although admittedly, I don’t feel as confident with claiming this title. I don’t march. I’m not well-versed on all issues that affect the LGBTQIA+ community. I don’t necessarily find myself in their social settings, BUT I do have friends who are in that community. I do care about people who are affected by society’s bullshit, even if I don’t know them personally. I do believe that any group of people, specifically those identifying as LGBTQ, should be able to live, play, love, and work in peace and safety. Belonging to a group, existing in an identity (beautiful BLACK WOMAN) that I would NEVER change, I understand what it’s like to maneuver through a space that was specifically created for me to stay put and hushed. I get what it’s like to have to negotiate my existance in places that didn’t send me an invite.
I’m not the perfect ally, although I’ll never be the “perfect” anything, but I do believe that people deserve for others to stand up for them if they’re being mistreated. I’d want someone to do the same for me.
I harp on my personal mantra - Do good. Be good. Show gratitude. Love one another. With it being PRIDE MONTH, how do I Do good? I’m not afraid to call out friends, family, and sometimes strangers on the internet (if they seem genuinely stupid and not trolling). I confront comments that are made or ideas of thinking that 1-upset me, but 2- have no real influence on the perpetrator’s life, which is important because the way we as a society feel and view groups of people gets played out in how those groups are treated. Here are examples of things that drive me up wall:
Negatively calling to attention every non-conforming person you see. (It’s fucking weird! Stop doing it. No one says anything about those ugly ass X you decide to step out in. Let people exist in peace!)
Saying “it” or “Is it a boy or girl/ he or she?” (Not sure? Just use “they”! If you’re really curious, just ask what pronouns they prefer.)
Asking which is the man and woman in the relationship… (Hmm, both of them, I guess? Neither of them? Maybe they've decided to be a unicorn and beaver. Mind your business.)
Mentioning someone’s “gayness” or orientation as a handicap, disability, impairment, amusement, or confusion. Popular examples among the black community: He got sugar in his tank. He’s gayer than a $2 bill. He don’t know what he wanna do. -_- (No one questions your awful relationship decisions OR attributes your less-than-stellar life status to the fact that you’re heterosexual. LEAVE LGBTQ PEOPLE ALONE!)
I’m not perfect, BUT I try. I am open to being called out on my biases and exploring them. I seek out people who know more than me, so I can learn from them. I am CONSTANTLY learning from this wonderful business owner and many others in spaces that I may not belong to. Listen to people who have experiences outside of your own. I have first hand experience in what it’s like being a black woman in America, but not what it’s like being a black lesbian in London. I can’t dismiss or assume things because my experience is X or because I’ve heard or read a little bit about Y. It does not equate to an actual human sharing and teaching you things, which they DON’T have to do. It’s not any one marginalized group’s job to educate you. Knowledge is limitless these days. Seek it out without wasting people’s time and emotional energy.
So, I’ll ask you this - when you hear or see something that’s not right - What do you do? What do you say? Your efforts don’t have to be colossal in nature. Simply not laughing at an inappropriate joke or questioning why it’s funny can be a step in the right direction.
Again, I’m not perfect, but I’m trying. Maybe you can try too. 🌈HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!
P.S. Here are two resources that you might enjoy:
- - - What is Allyship? Read more here.
- - - What are some common words you’ve heard but don’t know what they mean? Start here.
*Feature Photo by Mick De Paola on Unsplash