How to Easily be a White Ally to Marginalized Communities
Christopher Keelty
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Thanks Christopher — I think you did a good job. We can always pick and find the points that separate us if we want (for instance I live in a tiny village so lots of these things don’t go) — but we live on the edge of a large indigenous reservation. Sometimes it is difficult for us elders to change our terms as they might seem to us as very fleeting and incomprehensible as to why one is preferred over the other. For instance, here in Canada we used to use the terms First Nations for the peoples you may call Native or Indian in the States. We called and still call the people from the far north — Inuit. Now, instead of for instance the term Aboriginal — which we used up until about four months ago for both First Nations and the Inuit— we use the term Indigenous. Because I work with Indigenous people I picked it up fairly quickly, but other terms become more difficult to unravel. LGBT group is particularly fickle in their nomenclature and I become tongue tied around that term in fear I will get it wrong. See…that’s the thing — we don’t want to get stuff wrong and yet we do so easily. Here you are — doing a lovely service by pointing this stuff out clearly and generously — and yet every second comment is about some little or big thing you missed. I find, for the most part, that the people from the marginalized groups are not the ones to jump down my throat for mistakes. So I continue, as I have since I was a Gay and Black loving young teen, to stumble my way the best I can — to avoid feeling self-conscious about my white, hetero, abled self. Because the worst thing of all is isolation. Sometimes I cringe and well-meaning people who miss the subtleties of what they are aiming for — but you know what — they are kind and their hearts are working overtime. Most men don’t know what it is like to be a female but that’s okay — I don’t hold it against you. And I will leap in and tell you something if it is true for me and kind enough to you. For instance — don’t call me ‘lady’ — it makes my skin crawl. But you can call me ‘bitch’ or ‘babe’ or ‘my darling ducky’ depending on where you are from. Enough — thanks again.

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