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4-Step Guide: Be a Better Ally for Marginalized Communities

4-Step Guide: Be a Better Ally for Marginalized Communities

Graphical header "What can I do to help marginalized communities?"

Being an effective ally for marginalized people is a key step in creating a unified environment at OU and beyond. Promoting allyship is the overarching goal of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s Unlearning Series: Diversity Ally workshops, which cover sexism, ableism, classism, racism and trans+homo negativity.

Launched in the Fall of 2016, the workshops are available to faculty and staff on all three campuses. They are designed to help improve the campus climate by promoting skills and resources to avoid bias, to provide better support to students and to disrupt harmful dynamics when they arise.

Dr. Rodney Bates, director of graduate student and postdoc retention and support in the OU Graduate College, is one of the facilitators for the Diversity Ally workshops. As part of the workshop, he provides participants with the tangible 4-step guide below on how to help marginalized communities.

“I created this document because a number of participants were asking me what they can do to help,” Bates said. “Often, participants feel overwhelmed because of how structural these systems are. Rather than being discouraged, I provide actionable steps to disrupt and dismantle these oppressive structures.”

Bates reminds participants that these steps are not the total and only answer to dismantle these large systems, but they do play a role in raising consciousness.

“The guide also provides information for participants to take the responsibility of doing work, which is reflective, and places the labor on the individual and not the marginalized community,” he said.  

For more information on how you can help marginalized communities or to register for a workshop, click here.

GOOGLE IT/ 1 RESEARCH YOURSELF Yes. Take the time to google about communities that are different from your own. People of Color (POC) and marginalized communities are tired and it’s exhausting to educate dominant communities when information is available. Be sure to look up Black feminist scholars! 2 GENUINENESS OVER CURIOSITY Some people think being curious about a culture different from your own is a good thing, but curiosity asked "type" questions can be demeaning and doesn’t get at the true core. Developing a genuine relationship with someone different from yourself takes time. Being genuine allows for authenticity while being curious allows for being fake. 3 BE READY TO MESS UP! If you are committed to doing the work, then you are going to mess up. When you make that mistake, be sure to deal with the guilt in your own space. Do not attempt to display your guilt in the space you harmed. Marginalized people are tired of consoling dominant identity tears. 4 AIN’T NO AWARD FOR THAT! As the great philosopher and poet Rapper Drake said. " They don't have awards for that."You don’t get rewarded for treating someone human. It’s the least you can do. This prevents what we call "ally saviorvism"

Article Published:  Wednesday, July 1, 2020