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 Post subject: Developing our skills at being allies
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 7:06 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:38 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Oakland, CA
(Posted originally in nolose 2010 "What do you want to see?" Forum, but decided to move it. Still learning how to use this board most effectively...)

Last nolose, we really developed our various affinity groups, or caucuses. I've heard from many people that the connections they made in caucuses were the best part of the conference for them. Caucuses joined the larger community at the very end, and we each shared lists of important stuff we wanted to the community to know. But it was sooo little time.

I want to build on that experience. I feel like through the caucuses, we develop our ability to be good allies to ourselves, and to people who are similar to us (well, in some ways!). I'd like to expand now and develop our skills at being good allies to one another. In ALL the ways we do and don't intersect. That is what the caucus lists were asking for, in essence. Asking for allies. And that is why we came together and listened, because we want to BE allies.

So, I have no idea what it will look like, but I want to develop a workshop or activity/ies for nolose about how to be an ally to someone who's different from you (regardless of what those differences are). I think there's a set of concrete skills that help someone be a good ally. I want us to develop those, as individuals and as a community.

What do YOU think makes a good ally?


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 Post subject: Re: Developing our skills at being allies
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:34 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 12
A good ally is somebody who listens and does their best to be empathetic, imho. You're a great example of what a good ally is, Max! Thanks for this post. I see that a lot of people have read it but nobody responded, so I thought I would!


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 Post subject: Re: Developing our skills at being allies
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:11 pm
Posts: 4
i really think a lot about this. i feel suspicious in some ways of ally rhetoric; i am not always sure it does what it wants to do and it feels like it can turn into this way that people with more institutional power get to feel better about them/ourselves because We Are Allies.

i want to be a good person to the people around me. that means acknowledging the ways in which i have more, or different, institutional privilege. i think the problem of ally thinking is that it either implies there is one way to be an ally in some simplistic way or it ends up being, essentially, "follow the lead of people who are more directly affected by things than you, and be aware of the space you take up."

maybe this is still good, and given those lists that different caucuses generated i think some concrete discussions about how to work on THAT would be really good. but an ally conversation on its own i would be deeply skeptical of. i just see that framework too often used to make excuses and/or points.

maybe instead we need a class in how to apologize and learn from our often inadvertent mistakes that come out of the blindness of privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Developing our skills at being allies
 Post Posted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:38 pm
Posts: 47
Location: Oakland, CA
Interesting points, Ariel. Lots to think about.

I wasn't thinking about there being some kind of recipe for being an ally, like you mentioned. I think what I want is to help all of us learn some skills for moving through the fear of recognizing our privilege, so we can more effectively walk our talk in a genuine and heart-felt way. I don't know quite what that looks like yet. Gotta think more...


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