OPINION: Why I’m Giving Up on “Allies”

Photo by iStock / prill

During this tumultuous political climate, no quote resonates with me more than this one from the late Black Panther Party leader Eldridge Cleaver: “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

Progressive values are at a crossroads, and those who are committed to preserving them must take a stand more visibly and ferociously. As tensions rise within our communities, now is not the time for the most privileged in society to tune out because they can afford to avoid conflict. Nor is it the time to act like Switzerland — neutral stances on issues that affect people of color, women, LGBTQ, the poor, and other marginalized groups either leave support for us in limbo or worse.

Many people champion allyship as an effective way to take that stand. In short, an “ally” is someone with privilege helping someone being marginalized with a problem. This approach might sound noble in theory, but in practice it has only added to oppression. Read more »

How to Be a True Ally in Trump’s America

Photo by Ernest Owens

Photo by Ernest Owens

Who would have ever imagined living in a world where images of safety pins would be tacked onto buildings? Walking past Metropolitan Cafe in University City over the weekend, I noticed a bold laminated photo of a safety pin posted on the front door. Just when I thought this new crazed obsession with showcasing visible pseudo-allyship for people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and other diverse communities that Donald Trump had bashed was winding down, others have clearly taken it to the next level. Read more »