HOW TO BECOME AN ALLY
The widespread protests at the killing of George Floyd by a white policeman in the early summer of 2020 has cast the glare of attention on systemic racism across the nation. Racism is not just acts of violence or hate against Black people or other people of color in higher education. The statistics on health, education, employment and income show that racial inequality permeates many local communities. That lack of experience can make it difficult to properly understand racism or to be fully supportive of those who endure its impacts – large and small – every day. For example, the day to day experiences of Black colleagues frequently involve micro-aggressions (i.e., questions like “where are you really from?”). These are less obvious and often unintentional, but have the cumulative effect of creating an environment which is more challenging and draining.
We all can help by being allies to one another. The resources and suggestions below can help us to understand what it means to be an ally and give examples of positive actions that we can take to combat racism; in its explicit or subtle forms. They are drawn from various sources. Although they focus on ways to support our colleagues and students of color within the WCSU community and equally they can help us to support all people of color. Allyship is part of understanding and celebrating the fact that people are different, and the resources and suggestions below are open to all.
Being an ally does not start and stop during moments of convenience and inconvenience. Being an ally is a journey of commitment to understanding the dynamic realities marginalized people face, while confronting the role the privileges you may enjoy which has played in creating those realities.
If you have found a book, article or any other kind of resource particularly helpful as an ally, please contact by either email and/or telephone a member of the Division of Academic Affairs by phone: (203) 837-8487 and/or the Office of Diversity and Equity by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (203) 837-8444 and the resource(s) will be added to this page to share with the WCSU community.
Sample Office/Academic Department Ally Statement
You are welcome to adopt and incorporate the below sample ally statement to your front webpage, office/school materials and/or in your syllabi/course curricula as a sign of solidarity and support.
We affirm the dignity inherent in all of us
We confront and reject all manifestations of discrimination
We reject violence in all forms
As part of the WCSU community, we recognize the obligation to stand up and speak out.
*NOTE: The above-noted can be tailored to fit the values and standards of your respective office/academic department. Please take a moment to create an ally statement that reflects your wish to support and recognize your position on this matter as an ally.
Daring Discussion Guide
The goal of “daring discussions” is for individuals on different sides of a given issue to learn about one another’s personal experiences and perspectives as a starting place to gain compassion, respect and stronger relationships. You are advised to commit to avoiding judgment, defensiveness and anger and to try to express any negative feelings and different views constructively from a place of giving as opposed to being oppositional or needing to be right.
To become an ally, you must seek understanding of the lived experiences of a particular person or group of people. Please click here to review the daring discussions toolkit to help guide you through meaningful conversations with someone about a topic or set of topics that will help you build empathy and compassion for marginalized people.
Ally General Resources
WEBINAR Powerpoint: Allies in the Struggle: Intersectional Work As Trauma-Informed Response and Prevention
Allyship and Anti-Oppression: A Resource Guide
Ally Video Resources
Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers
Dr. Robin DiAngelo discusses ‘White Fragility’
“How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion” | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools
How to Build an Anti-Racist World | Dr. Ibram X. Kendi at TED2020
Ally Books and Publications (suggested reading)
Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Dr. Brittney Cooper
Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
How To Be An Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America by Ira Katznelson
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Other Anti-Racist (Ally) Resources
Showing Up For Racial Justice’s Educational Toolkits
“Why is this Happening?” — An Introduction to Police Brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
Zinn Education Project’s Teaching Materials
Becoming Anti-Racist – Diagram
Justice in June – Daily activities that one can take to increase knowledge and awareness
Scaffolded Anti-Racism Resources – Curated list of resources organized along lines of one’s “Stage of White Identity Development”
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