You Can’t Be The Perfect Ally And That’s OK
Early this year, I had one of those epiphany things.
Those are really awesome, aren’t they?
It’s like an out of body experience. You can literally see yourself growing as person. I believe smart people call this self awareness or something. Or realizing stuff, word to Kylie.
I’m nowhere near as problematic as I was at 16, but every now and again, I say these really wild things in my head. Makes me think if I’m truly an ally or I’ve simply conformed to decency. Makes me think about our patriarchal, cishet, any-other-term-I’m-missing society and my role in it.
There’s the eternal struggle between being paternalistic and accepting the agency of the affected party that comes with being an ally. I have this friend who was a victim of sexual assault. Naturally, she takes no prisoners when it comes to the subject and for a while, I wondered if she’d get through to the other side. At points, I wanted her to “tone it down” a little.
One day, it really hit me: Do I get to make that call?
Who am I to dictate how she expresses herself.
That paternalism is a bastard child of your privilege. But while you’re really not trying to be like Issa Rae’s coworkwers on Insecure or Van’s stepdad on Atlanta, you also don’t want to sit on sidelines and indirectly encourage inequality/injustice.
At what point are you doing too much or are you doing too little.
You might think you’re getting this “ally” thing right, until the day you do too much and find yourself outside with your dick in your hand. Look at this male ally over here, for instance:
He’s done it right, yeah?
My man probably thought he was doing to the right thing.
And it probably came from a truly honest place.
But, then life comes at you fast and shit.
So where does that leave you, my dear young ally?
Shit, I don’t know. I thought this Medium was going to to be about Lagos gossip and here I am talking about being an ally.
As for me and my house, “shutting the fuck up” is still undefeated. Only come in when you’re invited.