The Seven A’s to becoming an Authentic Ally
The question that I most frequently come across when working with people on the
impact of race inequality on the lives of people of colour is what can I do to help?
People frequently say, I’d like to do more to help improve race equality but don’t
know where to start. This quick and easy guide tells you how to get started and what
to do to become a genuine and authentic ally.
This A is the first and probably the most important, you must
ask yourself, do I really have the appetite to immerse myself in
the world of race equality, a world that I know little about,
have no experience of and appears to be complex, convoluted
and fraught with difficulty and high emotion. Spend some time
thinking about and reflecting on whether you are prepared to
be in for the long haul. Be honest with yourself, is this just a fad
based on the George Floyd and Covid19 issues. Ally ship is
forever not just during crises.
This is where you must be brave and actually ask questions
about race, your own race included, be curious, find out what
race equality and inequality means by looking things up,
reading, questioning all your received wisdom about your race
and others. Be prepared to be surprised and even shocked at
what you hear.
Having done your homework on the issue and spent time
reflecting on what you have learned, it’s now time to accept,
really accept that there is an issue for people of colour in our
society. The acceptance is an internal process and one that
brings you to a place of understanding.
Acknowledgement is external, here people will now know
where you stand on race inequality because you will openly
acknowledge that there is an issue that needs to be dealt with,
you will speak up and speak out about the unfairness of a
system that ensures that people with more melanin in their
skins have poorer experiences of life.
The apology is not about saying you are sorry for any individual
wrong doings but saying you are sorry this is happening
globally to people of certain races and that apology needs to
come from the heart and be authentic. It is not about
empathising because you genuinely cannot walk in another
mans shoes but you can show sympathy and caring about the
situation in which they find themselves
Don’t make assumptions, too many plans and ambitions -
personal or corporate- are driven by assumptions that are
wrong and they fail. Full and informed views are critical prior to
making any plans and the right moves. Never assume, it is
dangerous but always seek the views of others and understand
the implications of your actions across all interested parties, by
doing so you will be better informed and you will have
gathered the intelligence and ownership of individuals or
groups for whom you endeavours have implications and you
will significantly enhance your chances of success
The final A is taking demonstrable action on the race equality
agenda. It can be sponsoring someone, it can be making a
difference via policy changes, it can be any action that shows
that you are indeed a true committed and authentic Ally.