Allyship is challenging and difficult. But isn’t the popular diversity training statement “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”?
As an ally, you want to be respectful, inclusive, and promote diversity. You will need all sorts of tools to help from the most recent research and data and the skills to know when and how to address micro-aggressions made in your presence.
I want to collect thoughts that help allies to better understand diversity and inclusion and to have conversations with friends and colleagues who are open to listening about diversity but haven’t yet identified as allies. I want to help allies navigate the day to day. Therefore, in my blogs under the title “What’s an Ally To Do?”, allies will find short writings on specific topics for those purposes.
Embracing Diversity Months
The top diversity hashtags and topics in February and March are Black History Month and Women’s History Month. In fact, almost every month there is a celebration of a diverse group. In our inaugural “What’s an Ally To Do?” blog, let’s discuss embracing diversity months.
Inevitably, someone will imply that Black History Month is for Blacks only or identify a roster of only women to send to the Women in Leadership Symposium. Are they well-intentioned? Maybe. But the impacts are harmful at worst and neutral at best to promoting diversity and inclusion.
An Ally’s embrace is important. Allies should ask a member of the identity group the proper decorum to ensure they are respectful. (Google can be consulted as a last resort.)
Allies can help by understanding that Black History, Women History, Hispanic History, and any history that acknowledges the accomplishments of minorities and marginalized groups is American History. Collectively, diversity months are a calling for national recognition that the achievements of these Americans contributed to greatness of the United States. They are an affirmation of our nation’s diversity, a call for inclusion, and an opportunity for every American to extend a welcoming embrace.
A welcoming embrace is important, and allies should consult a member of the identity group for the proper decorum to determine what that embrace should be. Allies should only consult Google as a last resort.
As a Black woman, in March, I want my allies to learn more about the contributions of Black women and women of color. Then I want them to post, like, share, tweet, and most importantly talk about them in workplace. I want to normalize the image and perception that Black women and women of color are positive achievers. That’s what a Women’s History embrace feels like for me.
Other women may have other ways for allies to embrace Women’s History Month. It is recommended that the allies ask the women they interact with at home and work on daily basis how they can support Women’s History Month. That’s where the ally can an immediate and visible impact.
Embracing diversity month celebrations is what an ally can do.