JENNIFER BALLERINI

Therapist Blog

How to Be a Better Ally

whitesilence

This is a really powerful article on being a better white ally to people of color. I appreciate it because it matches my experience as a relationship expert. Both in the absolute necessity of undoing the aloneness of our fellow Americans who are traumatized and suffering, and in the clarity that using shame to "call out" racism will likely shut people down and keep them from learning. While we want to avoid "tone policing" marginalized groups, we who are privileged need to speak up in a way that cultivates understanding and openness. As satisfying as it might be to lash out at your racist aunt or co-worker, you're not doing the work of opening minds and changing behaviors. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "You have little persuasive power over people who can feel your contempt." Staying regulated, curious, empathic, and humble in the face of racist speech is a much more effective approach—not unlike "deep canvassing." This article clearly and eloquently outlines the work white people have in communicating with fellow white people about racism…and I see no reason it couldn't apply to allies in tackling sexism, homophobia, or any other civil rights issue.