Learning about brave allies can demystify the ways that you can be the same. In this video, learn how to identify applications of the be brave principle and make connections in your own context.
- When we talk about being brave, there are lots of examples in our day-to-day life of how we applied this concept. The first is perseverance. When we are talking about dismantling systems of oppression, that's not an easy task, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right? So Peggy McIntosh, for instance, talks about structural racism as a conveyor belt. She says oppression is just happening in the society. And if we do nothing, well, we're going right along with it. In order to be an anti-racist, we've got to turn and walk in the opposite direction until we can dismantle the system altogether. It's not enough to just say, "Oh, that system is horrible." We're going to be an ally. We're going to take action. And when we start taking action, we realize how complicated this can be. Sometimes I get asked, "Well, how do I change those people who don't get it," or "Who are resistant to the whole idea?" I like to say, don't focus on the hardest nuts to crack, focus on moving the ground around them. What does that mean? It means we can exhaust ourselves with the energy of changing people's minds, when we don't really want to listen to their own opinion. That's not really a conversation. So if you're engaging with someone who you strongly disagree with, consider an alternate approach. Now more than ever, there are so many people who are interested in true allyship, that this is your opportunity to join in with them. It's going to sustain you. It will help you be braver, and it'll help you have confidence that real change can happen. This is so key to maintaining bravery as an ally. So focus on the low hanging fruit. What are some things that you can help change right now, where you are along with joining with other allies and impacted communities? Now here's the thing. Even when you do that, there may still be complications. I'll give you an example. At the beginning of this course, I introduced myself with my gender pronouns. I said, "I'm Dorika Blackman. "And I use she and they pronouns." Now, why did I do that? I did it as an active allyship for my friends in the gender nonconforming community. So isn't that a great thing? Not necessarily. I have non-binary friends who don't think it's great for me to introduce myself with pronouns or to ask other people to do that. They kind of feel it's outing to trans people. What if they're not sure what pronouns they want to use today? Oh, that was hard feedback to get, because I thought I was doing the right thing. And I had other friends who said, "It's so important that you use your gender pronouns "when you're showing your on screen at a zoom call, "when you're signing your signature on your emails, "or when you have name tags at a conference at work." I also had a woman walk up to me once at a talk I gave at a church in Dallas with tears in her eyes. And she said, "I'm so glad you talked about pronouns. "I have a non-binary kid "and no one's ever brought it up here." So what did I do? I had a tough choice to make. And I checked in with myself and with the impacted communities, and decided that because I go so many places in the world where people haven't even heard of gender pronouns, I was going to make the choice to use them. Now I knew that some people would be upset about that. I still made my choice, but I reminded myself to be humble when I got potentially negative feedback. We'll talk about that in the next chapter.