Uncertainty and Allyship

When you’ve spent your whole life trying to find your authentic voice, only to realize there are so many others whose voices have been systematically repressed, what do you do? Even writing on this topic gives me pause.

I don’t like using the word ally. It feels like a badge I’m giving myself for being a thoughtful, decent human being. But right now it’s the best word I have for the process of recognizing and calling out injustice that others experience.

Every day I think about the inequality that dictates our lives. I work at a community youth center, with a “majority minority” population. I love our kids. This is my dream job. But, every day I have to examine my motives and my actions. Am I joyfully celebrating your unique experience of living in the world? Did I say something that presumes a non-existent cultural difference? Am I falling into the savior trap?

Maybe being an “ally” means staying with that uncertainty day in and day out. Maybe it means accepting that even as I try my best to lift others up, that I might misstep.

I probably sound utterly neurotic. I don’t have a caveat to that. It’s the way our world makes me feel. But I will continue to handle it if that means I am coming closer to making things better.

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