The conversations I have about allyship are usually about the LGBT community – the one in which allies definitely belong, because the A stands for lots of things. Allies are important in the LGBT community because it gives space – for friends, for family, for people who aren’t ready to embrace any other label until after their situation has changed, for people with no plan for any other label but a value for equity. For people who vote.
But it’s different for race. Frequently, an LGBT identity is something you can choose to disclose; skin color isn’t. LGBT identity (particularly embracing it) isn’t definitively tied to anything heritable: our intergenerational ties and understandings and paths to self-knowledge are different. So I was really interested in how effective allyship works in a race context, both because of curiosity at the comparisons and because it’s something I want to do.
The reading for today centered on the idea that being an ally means taking up the struggle.
Oh, and the guide is hosted on Github. That’s perfect. The reason it’s perfect: it tracks and attributes contributions, while keeping a record of what’s gone before, how it’s changed, and why. Gits are a good way to make things better, while also keeping track of what didn’t work and why we changed it. Best metaphor/version tracking.
Another of the readings talked about how allyship is about showing up when it’s not trending, about reaching out as people magnifying marginalized voices. It’s also about voting. It’s always about voting.
I sent in my ballot for the primary already, but today’s action item wasn’t about that – it’s to seek out, listen, and build trust with someone you want to be an ally to. Which I need to do. My awkwardness about trying to increase conversations doesn’t trump trying to make very sure they’re included in the community I’ve been working on building for the last few months.