Conversations centered around diversity, equity and inclusion are becoming more prevalent, and it’s important for those who have privilege to recognize it. More than that, it’s about continuously educating yourself on the inequalities and challenges that disadvantaged communities face.
What is allyship?
We all have probably heard the word ally be used once or twice in our lives, but what does it mean? The Director of Diversity Programs at Mayo Clinic defined allyship as “when a person of privilege works in solidarity and partnership with a marginalized group of people to help take down the systems that challenge that group’s basic rights, equal access, and ability to thrive in our society.” ¹ Simply put, being an ally is anyone who supports or stands up for another person or group of people.
Becoming a better ally
Becoming a better ally does not happen overnight. Sometimes it can be a long and challenging process, but if you are genuinely committed, you will be willing to put the work in. Here are a few things we recommend that you remember while working towards becoming a better ally.
“Ally” is not some self-proclaimed identity.
Being an ally is not something you can simply decide to be overnight, and ultimately it isn’t up to you to decide if you are an ally. At the end of the day, it is the person you are trying to be an ally for who decides if you are an ally or not.
You can’t be an ally only when it’s convenient.
You need to acknowledge that allyship is also a constant choice between hiding behind your privilege or standing up for something/someone. Those in marginalized or oppressed groups do not get breaks. So why should being an ally only happen when you feel like it?
Being an ally means being educated on the issues that a group is facing. There are countless ways to educate yourself, from having open conversations to reading literature. Either way, staying up to date on relevant topics will help you become a better ally.
As you go forward and become a better ally, remember to use your new skills. Being aware of the power and privilege differences in groups is just the beginning. Real change starts when you actively work towards changing the conversation.
Contact us to change the way your organization thinks about diversity, equity and inclusion.