What does it mean to be an ally?
Over the last few weeks, The Bossy Bees have been talking about some heavy topics related to race and bias, and today we tackle allyship. As we depart this body of work, for now, know that our journey is not finished. We continue, in our own ways to unlearn, learn, and find ways to create equality and justice in our work, relationships, and communities. Be sure to check out our show notes for this episode!
Stacy Whitenight 0:00
Hey bossy bees listeners. Before we get started with today’s podcast, we wanted to talk to you about one of our favorite podcasts that we subscribe to the lost crimes library. Created and hosted by Mesa Henderson. The buzzy bees have talked quite a bit on our podcast about equity, diversity and justice for bipoc. These inequities and gaps often surface in our justice system. So our curiosity on how these injustices unfold led us to the true crimes library and a sea of podcasts on true crime. neysa stands out with her beautiful storytelling style of forgotten crimes committed against black people in a way that’s truly unforgettable. Stay tuned for a preview of naces lost crimes library. And don’t forget to check her out anywhere you find and listen to podcasts.
Thank you for joining us the bossy bees. We are grateful to have you here with us today for our ninth episode of our bossy bees podcast. Today’s episode, we’ll be closing out our short series on anti racism, we fully acknowledge that these are difficult topics to talk about. And we hope that you felt at home here with us as we’ve created a brave space to start surfacing some of these important ideas. As we close out the series, we’ll highlight some of the important skills and steps you can take to find your own way and make time and space in your life to fight for justice and inclusion.
Hey, by seabees listeners, I’m so glad you’re here with me today. This is Stacey, I will be your host for the day, it’ll be a shorter episode. for a couple of reasons. One, you know where we’re going. You know, I’ll talk a bit about where we’ve been with this podcast series on anti racism. But we wanted to give it a little short today because we’ll be getting into ally ship. And, and that really is a very personal journey. So there’s not an in my humble opinion, there’s really not a whole lot i can tell you what to do what’s right, because it looks different for everybody. So we’ll talk a little bit about what it could look like some great resources that are out there, and models of ally ship and accomplish and how to be an accomplice. So let’s just go ahead and dive right into it.
And this is gonna be awkward, because it’s just me talking today. So bear with me.
First, you know, we’ve we’ve talked for the past couple of weeks about, we started with bias. And then we moved right into talking about race and racism, as Kim and I have experienced those things both personally, and the workplace, you know, and in different relationships. And while you know, I want to really hit on this, because while we’ve experienced those things, that sometimes they’re similar, but they’re very different. And so that’s why I think that ally ship looks so different for people, some people can move in between, you know, being an ally and accomplice and we’ll talk a little bit about that in a minute. But the underlying the underlying desire here is is you know, to be an anti racist and what is an anti racist? You know, we talked about what racism was in our lab last episode. But one definition or one person’s perspective, ie brown candy, uses anti racism and analogy comparing it to a cancer that he experienced as a child and he said, this is what he said that I’m quoting him to be an anti racist is to think nothing is behaviourally wrong or right, inferior or superior with any of the racial groups whenever the anti racist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the anti racist sees exactly that. Individuals behaving positively or negatively not representatives of whole races to be anti racist is to D racialized behavior to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body behavior is something humans do not races and so that makes me think okay, as an anti racist, we you know, the word anti racist and ally ship I think are thrown around a little bit together. And and they’re not always the same but underlying
I think being an anti racist follows you through, as you pursue diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and ensuring your representation, I think that’s the the underlying driver for all of this is to be a better ancestor to correct de racialized behavior as a whole, throughout all of that.
What is Ally ship and ways that you can show up as an ally? To me, my work as an ally, started as a perspective, and a choice really use a choice, you know, do I want to love or just exist in this life, am I going to challenge or go with status quo. It’s about adopting a growth mindset and all areas of your life, including making a conscious effort to pursue action, and that starts with yourself. Ally ship starts with yourself. And it’s not about patting yourself on the back, but rather coming to the understanding that we’re all tied up in oppression together. And I really like to refer to Malcolm X as model. It’s actually something that Kim introduced me to, it creates a great baseline understanding of what it means to be an actor. Basically, you know, going back to what I just said, is to just exist to remain in status quo, that’s me is an actor. And then when you make the choice to love, or to challenge that status quo, then you start to move into ally ship. If we look at Malcolm X’s model, he divides the work into three categories, being an actor, an ally, or an accomplice. And like I just said, actors pretty simple. It’s just about remaining in the status quo. They don’t challenge white supremacy, there’s really no meaningful progress made for social racial justice for anybody in the actor category. But as soon as you make the decision, to act, to pursue action, to change, and that includes changing your mindset, you start to become an ally and allies, we’re using this as a verb. And you you act as an ally, and you don’t, it’s not a title. Again, not about patting ourselves on the back. It’s not a title, it is your actions that define who you are. It’s your mindset that defines who you are. And as you become more familiar with yourself in this space, in this mindset, you start to disrupt in those spaces dominated by whiteness, what at its core, is its to be an ally, I want to be really clear here because it’s about being in the white spaces and disrupting there and not feeling like you can show up like a free invitation into bipoc spaces. So being an ally is not it’s not again, not patting yourselves on the back.
It’s not taking over. There’s a lot of things about being an ally, I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it here because there’s so many people that have talked about this so many resources or resources online.
That will help you understand it in a way that makes sense to you. Whether it’s a YouTube video, if you’re a checklist person, or certainly checklists out there, their books, read them, explore them, do that with a curious mind. And and then, all of a sudden, when you start to show up in places, you’re going to start seeing how you can show up in a productive helpful way that doesn’t harm others and as a result yourself because you’re not moving backwards. Okay, Hey boss TVs listeners. As promised, here is a quick preview of naces the last crimes library podcast, available anywhere you listen to your favorite podcast, enjoy
it the evening of Thursday, January 10 2013. The second day since Lowrance high school students returned from winter break, and Kendra Johnson’s mother is expecting her 17 year old son to be home soon. The students of Lance high school were laid out a few hours ago, and Kendrick isn’t home yet. But Kendricks mother expected this because Kendrick already told his mom that he would be going to a basketball game after school. As hours pass and Kendrick is still not home. His mother begins to worry. So she tries calling his cell phone. It rings and rings and rings. That Kendrick never picks up the call with Kendrick not being home when he said he would and with Kendrick not answering his phone. Kendricks mother decides to take action. She jumps in her car drives by the school a few times hoping and maybe even expecting her son to be there. But after driving around the school, she doesn’t see Kendrick, she doesn’t even see anyone there. The school appeared close for the night. So she returns home and waits until after midnight to see if her son returns home to. But he never does.
Alright, so what is it about diversity, equity, or equality, anti racism, these words, tie together their actions, there are activities that we do in each one of those spaces. But it really doesn’t mean anything unless you tie justice into it into the conversation. So lets you know, diversity. We’re talking about celebrating people’s differences, celebrating people’s experiences, and perspectives that are different from our own. Different than anything, we may even know, equity, we’re addressing biases within our spaces, our organizations, our work, or churches, or schools that either dominate or make people invisible. The members of those spaces inclusion, we’re saying, Alright, we’re going to create an environment of respect and inclusiveness for everyone to be able to express their concerns, like diverse voices to surface to the top, you know, so often in organizations, b, c, d, e, i diversified equity inclusion effort, I just haven’t seen it yet. The Justice needs to be tied in there by word by action. And that’s about the active engagement of those things, the research that’s required to address the disparities to call out unjust policies and procedures, the actions that follow through those things, the complex with a shared mission, like all of those things, create a shared mission that are dynamic, almost academic,
in our workforces, and our schools and our justice system, we have to be actively pursuing justice as we talk about equality, equity, justice, you know, if we think about people watching a game, I love this, you know, what does it sound like in conversation, or if we’re talking about a visual, that there’s one that always sticks out? In my mind, if there’s a, there’s a group of people of bipoc different diverse groups watching a game over a fence, you know, equality, and some people can’t see over the fence, everyone has, you know, and everyone’s standing on the same size box, that’s equality. Still, shorter people still like me, like, allow me like five, three, I can’t see over that fence. Even though you’ve given me the same size box to stand on, that’s a quality, you’ve given everybody the same size box to stand on to see over the fence to watch the soccer game or the football game. equity is what happens when you give someone on the actual support that they need. So you’ve given me and the short person in the room, you know, the two boxes, the tallest person doesn’t need a box. So he’s given you know, they, they’re distributing the boxes to create an equitable situation. And then this is like the concept behind affirmative action. Essentially, justice, Justice is when you completely take down the fence, or you replaced it with a different fence that you can see through because the cause of the inequities have been addressed. The barriers have been removed, systemic racism has been removed. In other words, that’s justice. The last and most important part of becoming an ally, as you go out after this podcast and Google ally, how to be a good ally, as you look through our resources that we’ve shared with you, you think about the books that you want to read the different perspectives you want to take in as you start your journey and ally ship. There are two things here. One is it’s a lonely journey. And just be prepared for that because being an ally, is owning your own education. owning your own journey. Nobody can do this for you. This is why I’m not spending a whole lot of time here today telling you how to be an ally because you need to own it for yourself how it looks for me looks different for you. The other part of that something
I want to pass on as a small wisdom, something that I didn’t take caution to is the importance of self care as an activist and we’ve talked about self care in another podcast, we’ll be talking about it in the future because self care is so important, especially for an activist. There are no breaks, if you’re an ally, like I told you before, this is a mindset change. And this is about embracing a growth mindset. embracing a vision, or liberation from oppression means freedom for all, including yourself. We’re not all created equal in the eyes of society, laws, institutions all around us. And that’s why we have to acknowledge them for what they are in order to actually achieve equality for all. That’s what I mean by oppression is freedom for all. So when you’re taking a break, you’re harming herself, my breaks as an accomplice, or an ally, whichever space I tend to be in that particular day, any breaks that I take, you know, when I burned myself out that I’m losing ground, when I’m taking that break. And self care looks a little different for everybody. But what it’s not, it’s not fleeting or temporary, it is not a pedicure, or a manicure, as much as I love to get those done myself. That’s not how you recharge your batteries. So as you think about this work, and you and you become interested and you feel vested, you’re going to be drawn in really intensely. And, as I said before, it’s a lonely journey, it’s a hard journey, there are when you first start your journey, as an ally, you might feel a lot of guilt and shame, and that wears down your ability to keep going. And that is why self care is so important. It keeps us going. It’s our ability to keep doing this together, that will slowly erode the systems of racism, not just in America, but throughout the world. So for me, my self care looks like spending time outside with my family, spending time, time outside by myself, even taking my time outside to meditate. You know, practice meditation, there’s so many different techniques there. For me, I like to learn new skills. You know, I play chess for the first time ever in my life the other night with my husband, it might be my last time, but it was exciting, and it took my mind out of the moment into something new. So taking up new hobbies. I’m, I am notorious for taking up new hobbies, you should see how many plants I have in my house. I also and backyard chickens want to do an episode on backyard chickens, backyard chicken farming is a lovely hobby for me. And taking a few minutes every day to go outside and talk with my little latest in the backyard is incredibly comforting for me. And it takes me out of the moment and into something greater than myself. So for me, my self care looks like reconnecting with the earth. And that is so important to me. This journey is different for everybody. Self Care is different for everybody. Being an ally looks different for everybody. We all show up in different ways. And there’s a plethora of options out there. And I hope that part of our conversation today gets you thinking about where you might be able to find where you could thrive as an ally, or you can show up as an ally, and hopefully one day as an accomplice.
We are honored that you’ve decided to spend some time with us here today. There’s a lot to either unpack or discover with us. Keeping an honest connection and figuring out who we are and how we’ve changed over the years is what you’ll find here. If you’re enjoying this as much as we are, we’d be delighted if you left us a review. And don’t be shy and over to the bossy bees calm to drop us a personal note, find more podcast episodes and read our blog. And our next podcast. The bossy bees will be welcoming our first guest Sabrina as a certified holistic wellness coach. We’re excited to sit down and learn more about how to create a realistic and whole experience for self care and wellness in our own lives.