It’s a divided world out there, and you might be wondering how you can make a difference for your favorite organizations and causes. One of the easiest things to do is become a better ally. With small, everyday acts of tolerance, you can make the world a better place for marginalized people. Here are just a few ways to get started on your journey of self-improvement.
This is the best thing that you can do when it comes to marginalized groups. Don’t assume that you know more than them, and don’t try to educate them about their own history or struggle. Instead, open your ears and listen. What do they think about the issues of today? What actions do they recommend taking? An ally, you should be taking a supporting role to their leading one.
2. Know Thyself
No one’s perfect. Even if you’re a dedicated ally to the cause, you probably have a few ideas or behaviors that could do with pruning. The most important thing is that you don’t brush off any criticisms that you receive about yourself. If someone has a problem with how you’re viewing or approaching a certain issue, listen to them with an open mind and ask yourself if they’re right.
3. Understand the Laws
This is especially helpful if you see or hear about something illegal taking place. For example, if your cousin has been denied housing based on her disability, you can help her fight back with anti-discrimination laws. If your friend isn’t getting retail service because of her race, you can email the company with some pointed information about racial equality laws.
4. Speak Up Against Intolerance
It’s easy to pretend like you didn’t hear someone making an offensive joke. But is that the action of a true ally? Jokes can normalize stereotypes and preconceptions about people of a certain race, religion, gender or sexuality. If you’re serious about being a better ally to these groups, it’s time to speak up when someone makes fun of them. Don’t let intolerance be a normal thing within your personal or professional groups.
These are just a few ways to turn yourself into an ally for equality. Whether you’re protesting racism, sexism or homophobia, it’s important to seek harmony with other people in the cause. Use these tips to get started.