Allyship is the lifelong process in which people with privilege and power work to develop empathy towards another marginalized group’s challenges or issues. The goal of allyship is to create a culture in which the marginalized group feels valued, supported, and heard. Being an ally is not a label — it is a verb.
What Does Allyship Mean?
Allyship is the continuous process in which someone with privilege and power seeks to first learn about the experiences of a marginalized group of people, and then ultimately empathize with their challenges and build relationships with that group of people.
The role of an ally includes:
- Being able to listen, and shine a spotlight on those whose voices are often unheard.
- Recognizing your own privilege and power, and using that privilege to lift others up.
- Being aware of implicit biases you might have.
- Supporting the group you’re allying by letting them speak for themselves whenever possible.
- Not expecting special recognition for being an ally, and not taking credit for the ideas of the marginalized group.
Additionally, Corey Ponder, who published How To Challenge Ourselves to Grow As Allies on Medium, writes, “Allies recognize their privilege and status within the in-crowd but support others that are outsiders or lack a voice in the in-crowd. This requires challenging accepted group dynamics and recognizing that being part of the in-crowd should not supersede the importance of supporting individuals that are outsiders or that lack a voice in the in-crowd.”
Ultimately, it’s critical you remember being an ally is not a part-time role.
For a complete list of resources on allyship, check out How to Be an Ally: 23 Resources That Can Help.
Originally published Dec 31, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated December 31 2018