I had a nice planned post for today – until I saw this post from Resist Racism. It quite deftly meanders from the merely annoying (and often invisible) aspects of white privilege to where acknowledging that privilege openly can expose more bitter – and openly racist – undercurrents.
The post is worth reading for that alone. But there’s a problem that I have that they touch on:
But I do know that when white people dominate and control the discussions of race, racism and privilege, we aren’t going to get very far.
I work at being an ally. (I’m a straight white male).
I’ve had more than a few friends (of color, women, or in some way not fitting the heteronormative stereotype) tell me that they don’t want to speak up or speak out, usually followed by the sentence “I just want to live my life.”
I’ve also noticed – and had this confirmed by others – that I get listened to more by folks in power when talking about racism, sexism, or heterosexism than a representative from those groups.
So in situations where someone is being marginalized (even though I’m saying the same thing), or where they do not want to speak out, how can I best be an ally without dominating the situation? Any ideas?