Do You Have the Heart of An Ally?
We believe that becoming a white ally is a role we aspire to, not a goal we ever attain. We will always be learning and growing, always be in training.
We also believe that the most important aspect of white allyship is the posture of our heart. How do you know if you have the heart of an ally? Answer the following questions:
Are you willing to listen?
To train as a white ally is to continually open ourselves to ideas and concepts we didn’t even know existed before. For those of us accustomed to being an expert, this can feel quite disconcerting, especially at first. The problem is, we have no idea how much we don’t know. The most essential component of our training is to position ourselves as humble learners and to actively listen to voices of color.
Are you open to being wrong?
Our lack of knowledge has led us to wrong conclusions about race, people, life, government, God…well, just about everything. It requires great humility to admit we’re wrong, sometimes about fundamental life issues. But realizing we are wrong can open up our lives to exciting possibilities. As Dr. Kathryn Schulz shares in her awesome TED talk, “If we really want to rediscover wonder, we need to step outside of that tiny, terrified space of ‘rightness’. We need to be able to look around us…and say, Wow, I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.”
Are you able to get over yourself?
As we enter into the race conversation and take action, we will inevitably make mistakes. There’s just no way around it. We’ll say stupid things. We won’t say something when we should have. We’ll unwittingly invoke our privilege or take up too much space. To become effective allies, we need to get used to failing. We must learn to receive feedback and not get defensive. We need to stay in the ring, even when our feelings get bruised. Simply put, we have to get over ourselves.