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Appendix 6G

Characteristics of an Ally

Becoming an Ally/What is an Ally?

An ally is a member of the advantaged social group who takes a stand against social injustice
directed at targeted groups (Whites who speak out against racism, men who are anti-sexist). An
ally works to be an agent of social change rather than an agent of oppression. When a form of
oppression has multiple targeted groups, as do racism, ableism, and heterosexism, targeted group
members can be allies to other targeted social groups they are not part of. (Lesbians can be allies
to bisexual people. African American people can be allies to Native Americans. Blind people can
be allies to people who use wheelchairs.)
Characteristics of an Ally


Feels good about own social group membership; is comfortable and proud of own identity


Takes responsibility for learning about own and targeted group heritage, culture, and experience, and how
oppression works in everyday life


Listens to and respects the perspectives and experiences of targeted group members


Acknowledges unearned privileges received as a result of advantaged status and works to eliminate or
change privileges into rights that targeted group members also enjoy


Recognizes that unlearning oppressive beliefs and actions is a lifelong process, not a single event, and
welcomes each learning opportunity


Is willing to take risks, try new behaviors, act in spite of own fear and resistance from other members of
advantaged groups


Takes care of self to avoid burn-out


Creates images of how they wish to relate and work for social justice


Acts against social injustice out of a belief that it is in her/his own self-interest to do so


Is willing to make mistakes, learn from them, and try again


Is willing to be confronted about own behavior and attitudes and consider change


Is committed to taking action against social injustice in own sphere of influence


Understands own growth and response patterns and when she/he is on a learning edge


Understands the connections among all forms of social injustice


Believes she/he can make a difference by acting and speaking out against social injustice


Knows how to cultivate support from other allies

© Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice, Second Edition, Routledge, 2007

lack of information. B. encouraging Initiating. colludes with oppression. putting down people from targeted groups. but by denying that oppression exists. cultural events. intentionally avoiding targeted group members. being explicit about making sure members of historically marginalized groups are full participants in organization or groups.Adapted from: Wijeyesinghe. No Action: Is aware of oppression actions by self or others and their harmful effects but takes no action to stop this behavior. Preventing: Working to change individual and institutional actions and policies that discriminate against targeted group members. Teaching for diversity and social justice: A sourcebook (pp. Rather than only stopping oppressive comments or behaviors. & P. joining organizations or groups that oppose injustices. 82-107). 2007 . Griffin. In M. New York: Routledge. Griffin (Eds). Recognizing. no action ---------------Educating self Actions for diversity and social justice Educating others Supporting. Educating Others: Moving beyond only educating self to questions and dialogue with others too. confusion about what to do. P. Action: Is aware of oppression and injustices. verbally or physically harassing targeted group members. attending workshops. Second Edition. Adams. participating in discussions. Supporting. discriminating against targeted group members. Educating Self: Taking actions to learn more about oppression and privilege. Routledge. L.. and the life experiences affected by unjust social relations by reading. Source . Racism curriculum design. C. L. Recognizing. Initiating. & Love. working for passage of legislation that protects excluded groups from discrimination. seminars. Does not actively discriminate or oppress. (1997). Bell.. recognizes oppressive actions of self and others and takes action to stop them.Appendix 6H Action Continuum Actions against inclusion and social justice Actively participating Denying and ignoring Recognizing. © Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. forming an allies’ group. preventing Actively Participating: Telling derogatory jokes. planning educational programs or other events. This inaction is the result of fear. Denying: Enabling discrimination and injustice by denying that targeted group members are oppressed. attending social action and change events. joining a coalition group. also engaging people in discussion to share why you object to a comment or action. Encouraging: Supporting others who speak out against injustices or who are working to be more inclusive of targeted group members by backing up others who speak out. Experiences discomfort at the contradiction between awareness and action.

would you need to achieve your goal? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 3. What resources or materials (people.Appendix 6I Action Planning Worksheet 1. What action do you want to take to interrupt or combat racism? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 2. How can you access those resources? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 4. Know that you can be engaged in creative action steps on an ongoing and continuous basis and that you are committing to a life-long process of working for racial justice. space. 2007 .) ______________________________________________________________________________________ 8. What obstacles might you encounter? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 9. information. Second Edition. Is this action worth taking that risk? (If not.). What behaviors or steps on your part would taking this action entail? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 5. or think through what could be done to minimize that risk. go back to number one. What supports do you have? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 11. Where could you find more support? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 12. etc. Routledge. How can you measure/evaluate your success? (How can slow change be differentiated from failure?) ______________________________________________________________________________________ Go back to the beginning. if any. What hazards or risks are involved? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 7. © Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice. identify the next action you will take and take this action through the analysis process. What is a realistic timeline for carrying out the steps involved in this action plan? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 6. What could you do to reduce or overcome these obstacles? ______________________________________________________________________________________ 10.