Damsels in Defiance

Always Forward, Never Back.

How to be a White Ally


Be an active listener. Don’t just listen to respond, allow yourself to take in the message. Being an active and compassionate listener means not denying someone their perspective just because you don’t agree with them. Don’t invalidate another person’s experience or point of view because you personally know, or have heard from, someone of that community who feels differently.

Be patient. Know when it’s not your place to speak. Do not crowd or take over conversations about issues that affect people of color.

Be humble. Leave your ego at the door. Know how to take criticism without being defensive. You can make mistakes even when you have good intentions. Allies should try to learn and be better, not berate those trying to correct their behavior. Don’t tone-police, you may not like how the message is being delivered, but you should still try to take it in.

Be selfless. Don’t ask for validation and reassurance.

Be self-aware. Confront your own white privilege and internal attitudes. Understand how your worldview is affected or limited by your personal experiences. Having white privilege doesn’t mean that you don’t face struggles or oppression, it just means that those struggles and oppression aren’t because you’re white.

Educate yourself. You can learn from just listening, or you can do research. There is a lot of great literature out there to help navigate through these difficult situations. Don’t demand to be educated, do the work yourself.

Be sensitive. Don’t tokenize or stereotype. Be careful how you approach conversations of race with people from that community.

Challenge yourself and your worldview. Participating in conversations outside of your comfort zone is a huge step. Learn that it’s okay and necessary to be uncomfortable. You will learn a lot by being active in diverse communities.

Be understanding. Don’t assume that the human experience is the same for everyone. The intersections of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic class, size, ability, etc. affect people in different ways.

Confront other white people in real life and online. It’s on white people to shut down the racist behavior of other white people. If you see someone being abusive, say something to them and stand up for those being bullied or berated. And please, report any abusive activity on this site.

Support organizations and groups that are working on issues that affect people and communities of color.

This is a tough conversation that needs to be had in order to continue to learn and grow. A big part of why we’re in this current situation is because we were afraid to leave our own bubbles or challenge our own thinking and narratives. We are hoping the Damsels platform can be used not only for compassion-based civil action, but also to challenge ourselves to step away from the computer screen and act our own principles in our real lives. This means leaving our comfort zones and challenging our own thinking of the world.

— Ana

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