Allyship Is A Verb, Not A Noun

Allyship Is A Verb, Not A Noun

And why the difference matters.
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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.

Cover Image Credit: refinery29.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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