There are many aspects of my identity that afford me privilege. I used to feel as if this meant I was a bad person, and I was trapped in shame. In time I came to realize that if privilege guilt prevents me from acting against oppression, then it is simply another tool of oppression. I had to find a way to move out of guilt if I wanted to make a difference.
As important as self-care can be, for many of us, communal care is equally as vital. Healing community is about holding space: holding space for love, care, reflection, laughter, crying, feeling what we’re feeling, dancing, screaming, sorting through, moving past, sitting with, or for whatever else we may need.
If you’re a parent of a school-aged child, it’s likely that you’ve been affected by bullying. With approximately 30% of students reporting being bullied and far more being peripherally affected or even traumatized by bullying, it’s a weighing concern on parents’ minds. That’s why I wanted to offer a quick read for parents who are concerned about it.
I have been reflecting a lot lately on how I can be a better ally. And as we wade our way into 2015, I suppose now is as good a time as any to consider some ways that any person who wishes to act accountably as an ally can do better in 2015. So here’s my list of 30 ways that those of us who strive to act in solidarity and allyship (most notably inclusive of myself) can be better allies.
I recently wrote a piece on my personal blog that highlighted seven men who are transforming masculinity, and I was blown away by how well it resonated. In reflecting on the post, I realized that it was so popular because it touched on an unfilled need. We need to talk about what a more inclusive masculinity could actually look like beyond “Real men cry, too.”
Half of the battle in addressing bullying is getting people to understand the particular nature of modern bullying, particularly in its connection to power, oppression, and identity. But understanding the problem does not necessarily inspire action. So we have to provide tools that empower communities to resolve the problem. Here are five ways to do this!
Parties can be profoundly dangerous places, especially for women. But men attempting to be a good ally to women can quickly devolve into some paternalistic “white knighting” that can easily recreate the very systems of power and oppression that we’re looking to undermine. So how can men prevent sexual violence and act as allies to women at parties?
There are lots of ways to be a great “ally” – and innumerable ways to be a terrible one. But it’s not rocket science. There are simple things you can keep in mind and do in order to be a better person “currently operating in solidarity with” the marginalized or oppressed. And while this list is not comprehensive, it’s definitely somewhere to start. So “allies,” let’s talk.
Far too often, young people tear each other down and target one another for sustained violence, harassment, or neglect in order to feel more powerful, particularly when the person exhibiting bullying behavior is feeling powerless. But if we want to end the problem, we have to do the tough work of changing culture and climate. It’s time we change how we talk about bullying.