Allies that practice bravery are able to center the most marginalized voices in the conversation by actively decentering themselves. In this video, learn why it is important to center marginalized voices and reflect on situations that require bravery in doing so.
- So I know you're excited about the opportunity to be brave as part of your allyship, but there's something else we need to consider, being humble. This is such an important part of the allyship journey. And as part of an inclusive mindset, we want to consider a special frame for our humility. Doctors Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia did an experiment at Children's Hospital in Oakland. They were trying to investigate the question of why is it that patients don't always listen to their doctors' medical advice, and in their research, they found something kind of interesting. Patients weren't listening to doctors because doctors weren't listening to patients. They gave the advice to doctors to start being more interested in the life experiences and culture of their patients to be more effective in working with them. They coined this term cultural humility, and it differs a lot from the prior movements of cultural competence. Think about it this way. If you look at allyship as a destination, and you think, well, if I take this course and I read this book, then I'll be competent in learning and knowing about other people's culture. It's not going to really work that way because the journey is everlasting. But if you practice cultural humility, as a way of thinking about these interactions, you'll be a lot more successful. So, what does that look like? It means that when we get feedback from people from marginalized groups, that the way that we're behaving, isn't exactly up to snuff... Let's say we are being told that we've insulted someone or were problematic or offensive in some of the things that we do. Our natural inclination is to get defensive, to say, "Hey, wait a minute, I think you misunderstood me." Or, "I think you're blowing this out of proportion," or, "You don't know me. "I would never do something like that." Or, "Some of my best friends are..." And, "Back in college, I was president of..." None of that matters. This is not the time for you to explain yourself. It's the time for you to focus on the emotional intelligence it takes to stay with the report from the impacted person. Feedback is a gift. And if someone from a marginalized identity is brave enough to tell you something like this, then you need to be humble enough to listen and respect what they're saying without being defensive. It doesn't mean that you have to understand even or agree with it. It means that you care about their experience and you understand that the biases that you grew up with may cloud your judgment around what exactly it is that they're experiencing and meaning. Sometimes in our organizations, we have to learn to center marginalized voices because we're so used to the dominant cultural norms that tell us our way of being is right or okay or people should understand us. They should understand our intention, but unless you have walked in the shoes of someone from a marginalized identity, you can't understand how these small little stings of microaggression can lead to a lot of big bruises. So rather than focusing on defending ourselves or explaining our position, this is a time to practice the inclusive mindset of an ally and stay focused on the person who's been impacted. So we're going to talk a little bit about some examples of how that works, but the key thing to remember is that as an ally, with an inclusive mindset, the humility that you practice helps keep the focus on the person you want to be an ally to.