By: Crystal Lum
As a cisgender woman of color, I’ve experienced my fair share of racism and sexism in my 22 years of life. If we’re being honest here, it would be surprising if I DIDN’T experience that. People will pick on what you wear, what you look like, what you eat, how you speak. If it’s different, they don’t like it. Unfortunately, I identified most of it as jokes and brushed them off, not really thinking it was serious. Most young women of color may react the same way, and generally that needs to be addressed. But before diving into that, we need to address why that women of color NEED to react that way. Cis, white, and male; the three identifying features that can make minorities feel a bit uneasy are all due to the power imbalance that looms over the world to this day. Now, we are in an aging modern society where patriarchy is slowly being dismantled through laws and intelligent, developed opinions.
How do I become an ally?
– Do your research. This is the most basic and first step to being an ally. Educate yourself on issues that have affected minorities.
– Be quiet. Whenever a minority speaks about their experiences, listen to them, don’t belittle their experiences.
– Amplify their voices. When a concern arises, listen to them, then share what they have said. It can be as easy as sharing a post on your social media.
– Don’t be a white savior. We get it, you want to help, but don’t make it your whole personality. All we are asking for is your support. Do not go out of your way to help others solely to brag about it. A good ally would do something without asking to be praised.
– Speak up in your own circles. If any of your friends are being disrespectful to a community that they don’t belong to, call them out on it. After all, whoever you are surrounded with says a lot about your character.
– Be held accountable for your mistakes. We understand that nobody is perfect. We’re all human after all. But know that what you have said or did has offended a community. Take that as an opportunity to recognize your mistake and apologize.