14 Ways Privileged Allies Can Support Marginalized Communities

14 Ways Privileged Allies Can Support Marginalized Communities

An extensive how-to for privileged allies wanting to take action
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We're at a tense crossroads in the history of the United States. People are unsure what a Trump presidency will look like; even people in his own party don't really seem to know what will happen (does anybody? *eyeballs across the planet widen in fear and realization*).

Last week I wrote about the need for people with greater privilege to support those with marginalized identities who will be potentially targeted by the new administration. Here is a list of various perspectives on the importance of active, intersectional allyship and what allies can actually do in this uncertain time in our nation's history.

1. Truly understand privilege

Essentially, your privileged identities are the ones that society prioritizes as preferable or more deserving of power.

2. If you're not afraid for your life right now, you have privilege.

In the words of @erabrand "If you’re someone who knows you can survive the next four years, the rest of us need you to join us in the work we’ve already been doing. Our lives depend on it."

3. DO NOT burden marginalized communities with your privileged guilt or tears.

They have their own emotions and oppression to process. It's actions not tearful guilt that will dismantle systemic societal oppression. Here's some suggestions for processing your emotions.

4. Small actions are a starting place...

5. But please NO safety pins!

Allyship isn't the latest liberal fashion accessory, it's a commitment to a lifestyle of working for social justice and equality for every marginalized community.

6. Don't be oppressive in the process of educating yourself.


7. ADVOCATE for marginalized communities.

Espicially listen to marginalized people themselves on how to best help them, their families and communities. Here's some perspectives on supporting the disabled community, queer Women of Color and undocumented immigrants.

8. Check on your neighbors

9. Donate

Here's a short list to give you a few ideas.

10. Report discrimination on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

This is crucial to keep people accountable for their racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, classist, ableist language and to prevent misconceptions and propaganda from infecting the whole Internet and people's minds.

11. Intervene

This fabulous comic works for other marginalized identities as well. And it doesn't just have to be public transport; harassers exists in workplaces, schools, stores, and online and nobody should have to face that alone.

12. Actions speak louder than lovey sentiments of support.

13. Recognize and own our mistakes as allies.

Apologize, try to right the wrong and keep moving forward, the work doesn't end with your first privileged mistake.

14. Work to fight unjust words and actions of our own privileged peers.

Marginalized communities have myriad forms of oppression they face, they don't need to defend and explain themselves to every ignorant privileged person they meet. This is where you come in as an ally.


Being a good intersectional ally to marginalized communities is a journey. And while you may have hung back before; there's no more time to wait, the United States is at a critical juncture and needs your help. The rights and liberties of your friends, co-workers and neighbors is at stake. Will you walk with them as a ally?

Cover Image Credit: Public Domain

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Why Growing Up In Lynn Massachussetts Made Me Racially Color Blind

One girl's story about how her city made her realize how important diversity truly is.
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When I was in second grade at Hood Elementary School our teacher asked us to look at our classmates next to us and write down something that we all have in common. While everyone seemed to be writing down the same basic ideas, such as parents, clothes, fingers, toes, etc.., I wrote down "We all have hearts." As the teacher read my answer aloud, she was blown away and all my classmates sitting next to me came up and hugged me. Even at such a young age in such a diverse classroom, we all recognized the inside of a person's heart is way more important than how they look on the outside.

The city of Lynn, Massachusetts is known for its rare, beautiful diversity. I had the privilege of growing up there and honestly I would not have wanted to be raised anywhere else. The unique acceptance of such diversity in a big city is the reason I am the woman I am today. When I first meet someone, I see no color. If I am judging someone, I am not judging their race, their clothes, or how they look but I am judging how they talk to me and how they treat others around them.

Growing up in Lynn gives you the advantage of viewing people inside out, race having no value in how you see a person. The melting pot that is my group of friends has truly given me such insight on how different cultures live and celebrate their lives. Yes, I am a white girl who knows how to Bachata, a specific Spanish dance, and I thank diversity for that. Even at only 20 years old, I feel like I have lived a lifetime due to all of the different cultures I have been able to embrace while living in Lynn. I have seen strangers, and even friends my age experience all different walks of life. From the bottom end of the spectrum on Union and Essex street, to the highest end moving toward Ward 1, I have seen it all.

As I moved away from Lynn and into the spectacular city of Boston, I realized something. Making roommates with strangers from towns I had never heard of before made me realize how much I missed Lynn. I have met people here in the city who never even had a black person in their school and when I try to converse with them about race or politics they are so one-sided because they have only ever seen one side. I feel sorry for them because they were never able to experience all the amazing people and cultures I have been able to experience. They have never gone to a party with Spanish, Cambodian and Jamaican music playing all at the same time. They have never tried a pastellito. They have never danced Bachata. They have never seen how truly beautiful diversity really is.

In the wake of everything going on in our country lately between Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, I ask you to stop, take a second and picture the other side. Take your one-sided mind and open your eyes because the only way we can save ourselves from this is to be unified. Diversity is beautiful, and you are, too.

Cover Image Credit: ushersnewlook

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My White Privilege Vs. My Friend's Black Oppression

WE NEED TO USE OUR VOICE AND TAKE A STAND!

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Now, I know many of you are going to read this article and scoff at the term "white privilege." Well, let me just be blunt and say that you are an ignorant person that needs to wake up and see the world for what it truly is. It is not all rainbows and butterflies for everyone out there because not everyone in this world is given the same opportunities and the same treatment as us.

When I say "us," I am referring to white people and yes, I am including myself.

I am going to get real and for you ignorant people, if you do not get the message after this, then I feel sorry for you and I will pray that one day your stupidity is swallowed by the truth: white privilege, racism and oppression is REAL.

Breyonna Miller is a 21-year-old African American female that attends the College of Charleston with me. I, Lyric Richardson, am a 21-year-old white female. We are both majoring in special education and plan to graduate in the spring of 2019. Our dreams consist of teaching in our own classrooms and helping children with disabilities work towards independence.

We have a ton in common with each other, but our lives are so different just because of our skin color. This is evident with just a few experiences between us being compared.

1. Interactions With Law Enforcement

I was pulled over once for speeding. I was pretty mad about getting pulled over because I really did not think that I had been speeding. Naturally, I got quite an attitude with the officer. I even threw my license and registration at him when he asked for it. In the end, I received a ticket that was dropped in court when I chose to appeal it.

Breyonna and some of her friends were leaving a party two summers ago when she was pulled over. Her car was suspected to be the car of people who were shooting guns in a parking lot. The girls in the car were dressed exactly as you would think girls coming from a party would be dressed. It was clear they were not the people who had been shooting up a parking lot. However, the police refused to allow Breyonna to say a word in defending herself. Instead, they held the girls at gun point and told them to "keep their f***ing hands up before they shoot."

After Breyonna and her friends were forced to sit there and fear for their lives, the police told them to leave after discovering the girls were not who they were looking for. Breyonna drove away with no apology from the officers, and an emotional and mental scar permanently etched into her life.

2. The Educational System

I soared through school with high grades and all the support I could possibly get from elementary school all the way to high school. My teachers constantly reminded how successful I would be in my future. My high school guidance counselor spoke with me once a month to make sure I was applying for college and thriving in my academics.

All in all, I was put on a track that set me up to be successful. To top it off, I was encouraged to apply for all types of scholarships to help me pay for a college education. I was also rewarded these scholarships and three years later, I am still receiving them.

Breyonna was considered the "token black child." Yes, she was placed in classes that were considered honors and even though she deserved to be there, the teachers did not see it that way. In the teacher's eyes, they now had to "accommodate" for this black child that was placed in the classroom because the school needed some way to show that there is diversity among the academic achievers.

Breyonna was motivated enough that she pushed through and fought her way to college. Like most students, she needed some financial assistance. Breyonna applied for ROAR in which she would receive a grant to help her continue pursuing a degree. However, the College chose to discontinue this program, so Breyonna was forced to make up the difference by pulling out of her own pocket.

3. Blunt Oppression and Racism

I can honestly say that no one has ever truly insulted me based on my skin color, age, gender, intelligence, or any other aspect of my life that hurt me. Every now and then I hear a blonde joke or my male friends try to intimidate me in sports. However, none of these things cut me so deep that I could not recover.

In contrast, Breyonna has been left speechless at some words that have been thrown at her. She works in a fine dining restaurant which can be automatically associated with wealthy white people. She once had customers tell her to clear their table "like the servant she is." We all are raised and taught to defend ourselves when such hurtful things are said to us, but when someone says something so blunt and casually like that, you are left with no words to defend yourself with.

This is the sad world we live in today and the unfortunate news is that this type of hatred and oppression is not going anywhere anytime soon.

We cannot force people to change their hearts that are full of hate, but we can certainly educate them on the matter. I know this article will not change how some people see the world and it will not make them want to be a better person, but my hope is that for those of you it did reach, do something about it

Actions speak louder than words.

Do not just apologize for being unaware of white privilege. Do not just recognize that racism and oppression exist. Be aware, use your voice, and take a stand!

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