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So you want to be an ally? That’s nice. More specifically, you want to be my ally? Well, that’s even better. Before I send you off to your designated live training seminars, please review the following Quick Reference Guide that I’ve created to assist you in times of social justice discussions, should you ever get confused or suffer the inevitable foot-in-mouth moment. This Quick Reference Guide has been formatted to fit nicely in your wallet or on your smart device for easy retrieval, so here are my 7 simple rules for being my* intersectional ally.

1.   SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN

I don’t know how else to expound on this rule. It seems pretty simple and straightforward, but you would be surprised at the number of people who have difficulty performing these two rather instinctive functions. If you find yourself opening your mouth before taking the time to let the other person’s words roll around in your frontal cortex, I would suggest repeating the following mantra:

“This is not about me. This is not about me. This is not about me.”

If this does not work, please extricate yourself from the conversation and proceed to smash cranial cavity against wall until concept has penetrated your psyche or consciousness is lost.**

2.   Educate Yourself
Yes, reading is required. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that one can become familiar with the complexities of the kyriarchy through osmosis. If evidence to suggest otherwise surfaces, please attire yourself with your Orientation Kit’s safety gear as volumes of Crenshaw, Smith, Collins and Fiorenza may be propelled at your person at unpredictable speeds. ***

3.   Recognize Your Own Privilege
This is the foundation of Intersectionality – being privileged in some ways and, at the same time, marginalized in others. For example: I am a queer black woman; thus I have experienced discrimination in the arenas of race, gender and sexual orientation. However, I am also a cisgender, able-bodied, upper-middle class person; thus I have simultaneously experienced privilege in the terms of gender identity, class and physical ability. In short, each human has a different experience, so don’t assume that the person to whom you are speaking shares yours. Speaking of which…

4.  Assumption Is The Self-Propagating Parent Of All Fuck-Ups
I learned about this rule from the Burner Community and it stands as a great modus operandi in other aspects of life: ASK FIRST. We are human beings, not lesson plans or NBC PSAs; we are also not obligated to teach you [refer to Rule No. 2]. We may not be up to explaining ourselves to you at any given moment because we’re busy humans with many, many spoons to juggle, so please respect our boundaries and our wishes.

5.   Practice, Practice, Practice
Being an ally isn’t a 9 to 5 gig; it’s a 24/7/365 gig, and YES, that includes moments when marginalized people are not around. Practice being the privileged person who says, “Yo, that’s not OK” in your own social circles as well as social justice ones [if they happen to be separate ones]. See Rule No. 7 for further explanation. In conjunction with this particular rule…

6.   Stop Looking For The Leprechaun – We Ain’t General Mills
Being an ally isn’t a race. There is no prize at the bottom of the Ally Charms box. Allyship is an ongoing responsibility to make the world a better place than you found it because you have the privilege and power to do so.

7.   You Will Make Mistakes – It’s How You Rectify Them That Matters
We are human; humans make mistakes. Mistakes are valuable because that is how the human race learns and evolves. Remember, I am not your teachable moment; however your mistake is. How you handle yourself and the situation after your mistake will be the defining characteristic of your allyship. Learn how to apologize; this is critical. I recommend staying away from conjunctions in your apology, especially those conjunctions that are the homophone of a particular part of the mammalian anatomy that you have more than likely been told to kiss on numerous occasions.

I hope that this QRG has been insightful. If you are interested in further reading on being a better ally, we have spent hours of our own time and energy, ignoring many of our own commitments and significant others, to compile this very detailed and nuanced reading list for you so you may continue to perpetuate your deep-seeded, fallacious beliefs of moral superiority.

Take care now!

* This is a simplified list that speaks for me and me alone. I am not the voice for all black women. Please do not look to me as such.

** This is satire, Privileged People. I am disavowing myself of any accountability of any and all injuries suffered by you, self-inflicted or otherwise, in conjunction with this rule or the remaining contents of this post.

*** Sorry, you don’t get to call yourself an “Intersectional” Feminist or Ally if you don’t recognize any of these names. You also don’t get to hold me accountable for any of the asinine back-peddling that may or may not dribble from your piehole when you are called out on your ignorance, or any repercussions resulting from said asinine back-peddling. In other words, I am disavowing myself of any accountability of any and all injuries suffered by you, self-inflicted or otherwise, in conjunction with this rule or the remaining contents of this post.

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4 Comments

  1. Hi! Would it be alright to translate your guide from English to Swedish? And of course I will credit you and link back to your blog! Thank you!

      • Confused Black Girl
      • Posted June 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm
      • Permalink
      • Reply

      I would be honored! Please go ahead and translate it. Thank you for asking.

      • Thank you so much! Do you want me to mention you by your personal name (in which case, is it Jennai or do you have another name you want me to use?) or by the name of your blog (notyourexpectation)? I will upload it on my instagram account called cabinfeverray (it’s an open account) – thank you again!

        • Confused Black Girl
        • Posted June 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm
        • Permalink

        If you could just use the name of my blog, which is actually called “Outside The Box”, that would be great.


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