#TheySayTheyreMyAllyBut is a hashtag started by @LynxSainteMarie to address some of the ways that allies regularly FAIL, which is the nature of privilege, to fail. The problem is many of these behaviors become cyclical and abusive and then it’s like are you an “ally” or an “enemy?” Are you about deconstructing oppression or reinforcing it?
My natural stance towards allyship is skepticism. Why? Because my LIFE is on the line, not only tweets. While racism and sexism might be inconveniences for Whites and men, for example, that’s life or death for me. That’s whether or not I get a job or healthcare or whether or not I am safe walking down the street. That’s the source of anxiety, past depression and PTSD in my life. I don’t have the luxury of providing “the benefit of the doubt.” They both impact my health and life. They both take lives.
And I absolutely do not expect “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to cis privilege, thin privilege, literacy/education privilege—some of the privileges that I have. Nope. Be skeptical. That doesn’t mean falsely accuse me of bigotry (as Whites enjoy doing…so much…since they seem to think White privilege evaporates when they’re oppressed for other facets of their identities), but it does mean be skeptical as hell.
Skepticism is safety for the oppressed. Skepticism, not total apathy nor delusions about “goodness.”
If “allyship” can only exist when that person earns money for our pain, disregards our criticisms, or call us “toxic” for not indulging their oppressive words and actions, they’re not allies. The correct word is “oppressor.” And the nature of privilege is such that even while fighting against oppression, as someone privileged, they’re still oppressors. Oppression isn’t linear. Welcome to intersectionality. So the least that can be done is make words like “allyship” and “solidarity” stop being so utterly meaningless. It can mean something through accountability.