Continuing my series looking at how white people can be more effective allies to their friends of colour as we seek reconciliation and restitution and try to see South Africa head more towards where it should be…

How to be a better ally text

The title of this post might seem like a bit of a contradiction having just written one called Move to the Back, but it’s not.

Last night i was lamenting to my wife, tbV, that life as an attempted white ally can feel a little lonely and confusing. i don’t believe it must be left to our black friends to lead the way in how we ally [as so many of them are tired of trying to explain to yet another white person the concepts of white privilege, restitution and so much more] but at the same time i don’t see many of my white friends engaging with these things in the same way [i am very grateful for friends at the Warehouse for example who engage with these things on really deep levels in other significant ways] so a lot of it feels like making it up on the spot and hoping i get it right. i believe that my black friends will feel the freedom and invitation to jump in and let me know when they think i get it wrong [yes Nkosi? Sindile? Felicity? Linde? Tsholo?] but it’s not fair to expect them to wage this battle.

Then today i jumped on and saw my friend Anne GOING OFF on this very topic and it gave me such a sense of relief. i’m not alone. Her post was a little more colourful and in your face than i think mine ever are [watch out Facebook!] and i have asked her to let me share some of it so hopefully we will get to see that later this week.

My point being that for other white people who understand white privilege and get the need to educate those who don’t and understand the need for us to be listening and learning more than we speak and try to lead, you need to step out of the shadows into the light. It is great when you favourite and like and even share, but we desperately need you to add your own words and voice to it [Thank you Alexa Matthews, Duncan Hobbs, Anne Katherine…] to show that these are not just the crazy ramblings of one or two libtards i think they call me these days.

hiding

i need it. And i imagine it would be a huge boost to the community of those we are allying ourselves to, to know they had more than one or two people they could count on. It is scary and confusing and it feels like there is a lot of pressure because of what is riding on this all to get it right. But we can’t let that stop us. We need to educate ourselves and make sure we get the facts and the stories right so that we can speak with conviction and authority. But we cannot stay silent any longer.

Too many did during apartheid.

Too many did during #RhodesMustFall

How many confrontations must happen before we decide we need to get in there and show what we are standing for?

Let’s do this.

[For the next part of this series on Just Saying No!, click here]

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