When i was looking for an image to reflect the idea of becoming an Ally i found this poster and really liked it. Because the question that i am wrestling with at the moment is just that: How to Be a Better Ally, specifically when it comes to matters of Race.
And possibly one of the biggest pieces of this puzzle is that the answer should not have to come from people of colour. Which is a little confusing to me, but also is starting to make more and more sense. How typically privileged and entitled of me to expect that my friends of colour must do the hard work of figuring out the answer so they can tell me and i can just do it.
i represent the consequence of the problem [apartheid and the attached mindsets and systems that empowered it] and so it makes sense that i do some of the hard work and face getting uncomfortable and things being a little awkward [or a lot] and for there to be some kind of cost involved and so i am committing to doing just that and trying to figure out and share some helpful ways of how we can be better allies.
At the same time, the white guy coming up with the solution is also not helpful. So balancing those two, while tricky, feels doable. i am going to need help and advice and sounding boards and maybe a nudge in the right direction from my friends of colour, i am going to need grace and patience and perseverance and kindness. So please feel free to tell me where i am getting it wrong. i don’t easily take that kind of information from anyone, but i am sure it will happen and i hope you will help me out.
Thank you to so many people who have helped me on this journey. And continue to. i have so much hope for South Africa. And refuse to give up on it now. Let’s figure this out together…
Starting with this helpful chart i found on the internets:
Part 3: On being a non-black Ally in Africa [guest post by Alexa Matthews]