The following thoughts about being an ally are adapted from the wonderful book Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice edited by Maurianne Adams, Lee Anne Bell and Pat Griffin (Routledge Press, 1997).
An ally is a member of a dominant group who rejects the dominant ideology and takes action against oppression out of a belief that eliminating oppression benefits everyone. But that is only a small part of the rich and diverse contribution that allies offer. An ally is a person who takes a stand against social injustice directed at target groups.
- men who speak out against sexism
- white people who speak out against racism
- heterosexual people who speak out against heterosexism and homophobia
An ally works to be an agent of social change rather than an agent of oppression. They are confident in their own social group membership, and comfortable and proud of their own identify. They take responsibility for learning how oppression works in everyday life, and listen to and respect the perspectives of those who are oppressed.
Allies acknowledge unearned privilege and status, and work to eliminate or change privileges into rights that all people enjoy. Allies recognize that unlearning oppressive believes and actions are a lifelong process, not a single event, and they welcome opportunities to learn.