Post-pourri, Ally Edition

I found myself writing another post about structure and time management, which please god why, so we’re doing this instead.

I can’t figure out if my brain is scattered lately or the thoughts that usually end up as blog posts are going other places.

Actual useful thing: there’s a conference call re: white people organizing around racial justice tonight. If you’re into that, you can sign up here.

There have been a lot of posts about not centering ourselves as an allies–making the conversation about our needs and concerns instead of what needs to be done. These are good. But I am genuinely bemused about the idea of going into a public space with strangers and making anything about our emotions anyway.

Read: I do not doubt at all that it happens. I am confused by people who do it. Not even that someone might think it’s okay or that they might not know why it’s not helpful, but that they would want to do it at all.

I am not all about the sharing. I mean, I’ll share with y’all. I’ll share with my Twitter followers and Facebook friends. You are here consensually (I assume). But the idea of accosting strangers and trying to make them care about my feelings is weird to me.

The idea of accosting strangers in general. Why. Just why.

I have stuff to work on and think about, but I generally like to do that in the privacy of my own head or with people I trust. Or at least in my own space. My little space right here.

Someone pointed out on my Facebook that most of the behaviors we talk about as being necessary for allies is just treating others empathetically. At root, this is certainly true, but I think the other problem is not speaking or behaving consciously. Sometimes we just react or just say something and it is very much the wrong thing. We might not even know it’s the wrong thing, but if we paired some knowledge with some consideration, we would definitely know it’s the wrong thing. Racism is a default a lot of the time–the point is to turn off the default. Ignorance is not a good excuse in the Information Age.

(I’ve been trying to use the word “we” more when referring to white-identified people, because I don’t mean to imply I am separate.)

Ally has become a very loaded word lately so I’ve been thinking about whether I want to keep using it. Some people say it’s not enough to be an ally. Others say it implies an equality where there is none. Or that it is not equal enough. I’ve said before that I find it too passive because it’s just a label we give ourselves after signing one petition. I like ally-in-progress in part because it means I’m always working on it. I’ll never get there, but it will always be a process I’m actively engaging in.

The point is obviously to be less concerned with the name and more concerned with the behaviors in this case. I’m in it for the long game, so I don’t really give a fuck what anybody calls me. I’m just going to 1) keep trying and 2) not make my identity/issues/questions someone else’s problem and 3) focus on making my own community not shitty. Otherwise, I have fingers and WiFi; I can fucking Google.

I get annoyed when people are to lazy to Google. (About anything, actually.) I mean, come on. We have the power. Use it.


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