Ally duties

I am privileged.

I am white.

I am middle class.

I have never experienced not getting the things I rightfully deserve because of some facet of my identity, but many people have.

It’s no secret black people have been oppressed, stereotyped and underrepresented. The Black Lives Matter campaign began for this reason.

The Black Lives Matter website describes the organization as “an ideological and political intervention in a world where black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.

It is an affirmation of black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

It’s important to shed light on situations of oppression so people can get the equal rights and representation they deserve. However, as a white person, it is not my position to speak the story of a people group I am not a part of and therefore could never fully understand.

I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but it is my duty to speak up.

It is my duty to advocate for what is just in all situations.

It is my duty to be an ally.

Being an ally means supporting and accepting individuals in a people group  you do not belong to.

By being a straight person who supports gay rights, you are an LGBTQ ally. In the same manner, you can be a white person who supports equal rights and representation for people who are black, making you a Black Lives Matter ally.

This does not mean I or any other white person should try to save all the poor, oppressed black folks. That’s called the “white savior mentality,” and it’s another form of racism.

Don’t do that.

However, we have to advocate for all people because they are human beings and have basic rights, regardless of any identity characteristic they may have.

Let those who have felt the burn of systematic oppression speak their own stories. Listen to what they have to say. Let it affect you. Stand with those who have been oppressed and say “I am an ally. I support you.”