Allyship Is A Verb, Not A Noun
Start writing a post

Allyship Is A Verb, Not A Noun

And why the difference matters.

Allyship Is A Verb, Not A Noun

Allyship is many things. It's a call to action, it's a means of serving one's peers, and it is bettering one's community. It can prove therapeutic and exceptionally informative, but it is not a title. It is not a badge, nor an award, nor some pithy selection of community service hours to toss on your resume. It is an action, it is action itself, and its focus should be on others, not on yourself. One can be an ally in many capacities, can help spread awareness and support those of different ethnicities, genders, and other modalities of life. However, in supporting others, one cannot and should not attempt to center themselves amidst conflicts they have not experienced. Again, in essence, allyship is about supporting others, not raising ourselves.

I remember, some weeks ago, I was talking to a companion of mine, and they had asked me to define what LGBTQIAA stood for. Always eager to assist and educate, I went through each letter in the acronym. My acquaintance's face would contort from time to time, and for some parts of the acronym, I had to pause and explain in greater detail what exactly it entailed. When I reached ally, they perked up, got rather excited, and then proceeded to exclaim, "Oh, I like that one, they ought to put that one closer to the front!" I don't recall off the top of my head what I said in response, or if I even offered one. I do know that internally, their words, however light-hearted, did indeed sting. That said, I am at least thankful to that exchange for inspiring me to write this piece.

It is a common and polluted notion to treat being an ally as a form of identity, despite how pure the intention may be. Yes, being an ally is a choice, yet it is not simply a matter of declaring oneself a friend and supporter of others. Being "in support" of something doesn't necessarily mean you are actively working to support it. Shouting out to the heavens that you support equal rights for all people and decrying racism doesn't cause racism to up and poof away in a cloud of smoke. Claiming to support the homeless without every donating a penny certainly doesn't feed any mouths. Further, the less involved a person or willfully ignorant colleague is, the easier it can be to slide into this mentality, which for the sake of brevity I will label as armchair allyship.

Thankfully, as simple as it can be to fall into this lofty and ineffective framework, the solution is just as transparent. Attend meetings of different cultural groups. Flier for events. Host talks. Introduce new concepts to your friends and loved ones, and bring them with you to meetings and other demonstrations. Stay informed, volunteer your time, and offer your support with humility. We can achieve so much together, but it must be as a unit, united by a cause, and driven by sympathy in situations where we cannot personally emphasize or claim to have experienced the struggles of others. I myself have every intention to continue marching, attending, discussing, and being present for each and every opportunity available in support of those around me-- not for payment, nor for recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. Allyship is commitment, and it is something we must continually renew every minute of every day. It is an active action, and one that ceases to be when met with inertia and stagnation. To all those that perform allyship, I offer neither praise nor thanks, but three small words: keep at it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments