Dear White, Male Allies: I have a job for you.
I know you. I’ve dated you. I’ve seen that your allyship is more than performative, and I’ve watched you traverse the emotional labor necessary to be a productive, meaningful voice in conversations ranging from White Privilege to instersectional Feminism.
And I’m frankly baffled.
I don’t understand what it is that makes you able to listen, to set aside your defensiveness or hurt feelings, and to keep an open mind about these issues, when it seems impossible for so many others who live in the same society and benefit from the same privilege that you do. Is it a function of character? Intellect? Empathy?
So here’s your job. I’d first like to know why you think you got past the ‘not all men’ phase when others don’t, and I’d like you to use that perspective to try and find ways to make these conversations possible. And then go have as many as you can.
Because allyship is work. And frankly minorities and women don’t need to waste time trying to sanitize their oppression to make it palatable for those in society who benefit from that oppression. We have other things we need to be talking about.
This is what allies do. Much like why I do the same with white racists, because minorities shouldn’t be responsible for the emotional labor of placating white people so they don’t feel too bad about the centuries of slavery, oppression, discrimination, and inhuman treatment white people subjected people of color to. Does that make sense?
I’m interested in whether or not you think you have the possibility of getting through to anyone. I don’t, but I’m a minority several times over, so my opinions are often summarily dismissed by the people I’m trying to talk to.
That is also why this is your job.