On One Hand

January 15, 2009

Allies Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:11 pm

I’ve been thinking and talking about starting a new blog about the concept of allies and allyship for a long time now, and have enough of the pieces in order to announce it. What I mean by allyship is that posts on the blog will discuss how to be a good ally, and why we all should call ourselves allies and do what it takes to be one. I want to track the progress of diversity in America. The blog is going to have multiple contributors, including regular contributors and guests.

I want to represent all disenfranchized groups, and there’s going to be a strong element of coalition building. For example, I’m a white gay man, but that doesn’t mean that because I’m a part of a minority that I’m an automatic ally of people of color, or women. One of the first pieces I’d like to write is how I became an ally of people of color and what that means to me.

I hope to have some people of color contributing to the blog to talk about why they are feminists. I want to have straight women on the blog talking about why they are allies to gays and lesbians. I want to have gays and lesbians on the blog talking about why they’re allies to trans people – explaining, clearly, what that means to them, with a keen eye toward attitudes within their own communities that need improvement. I want to have trans people talking about how to be better allies to people with disabilities, and vice-versa. You get the idea.

I want to have people who are members of multiple groups talking about intersectionality – but also keeping in mind that it is there role to be allies too, to the groups they aren’t necessarily part of.

The focus here is on multiculturalism, inclusion, and compassion. Compassion means putting the interests of everyone equal to your own interests. I do NOT, for example, want gay folks complaining about how the Black or Latino community are racist communities or aren’t good allies. It’s one thing to say, there is homophobia in the Latino community or among Latinos, which is true. It’s quite another to say the Latino community is homophobic or Latinos are responsible for homophobia, which is, essentially, a racist statement, and it cuts against people who are both Latino and gay or straight Latinos who are allies.

Someone may have those opinions, but the purpose of this blog is MULTICULTURALISM (I proudly use that right-wing buzzword normally applied against liberals), acceptance and inclusion, so I don’t want to have that kind of message on the site. Allies are proudly progressive.

I want the basic message to be: it is possible to be a good ally, here’s how. It doesn’t mean you have to automatically “understand” or “get it” when you talk about these other groups, but it does mean you refuse to take a defeatist or exhasperated attitude when someone from another group explains how someone who doesn’t experience that kind of oppression says you might not ever be able to fully get it.

We’re also going to be interacting with news stories, tracking, for example, diversity in elected office – how many Latinos are in the U.S. Senate this year? Which states have the most women in their legislators? Is Barack Obama going to appoint an Asian American or an openly gay person to the Supreme Court? Those are things we will discuss and celebrate.

I’m using wordpress as my platform because it’s the most adaptable. I already talked to some good web designers who can make it up for me.

What I still need:

A name. Here’s where I want all of your input. I want it to be named something that people will find easy to understand and be a site that all of you on the progressive end of the spectrum are likely to enjoy and visit. Options include –

The alliance (sounds a little totalitarian to me but if it’s catchy I’ll do it).

(anything else you can think of.)

A one-line mission statement such as “Tracking the progress of diversity in America.”

Contributors. I’m looking for people who don’t mess around, who have a background in writing, who are highly informed and willing to work hard to look outside yourselves. People with diverse backgrounds because I want all groups represented. If you are white and gay, for example, you have to be able to be on the same page when we talk about racism in the gay community – we aren’t here to defend the community, we’re here to transform it. People who are bold enough to bring up examples of their own racism (both internalized and toward other groups) in the past and discuss how they got over them.

Please comment if you have any suggestions for the blog – that’s where I need the most input right now. I don’t even know how I’m going to manage the contributors so right now what I’m thinking about is the name, so I can open up the wordpress account and start messing with the layout.



  1. Bridges might be a little cheesy but I think I like it the most of those 4.

    Because that is what this is about. No matter how good an ally you think you already are, it is always possible to build stronger bridges between the communities. And to confront the problems in writing is to attempt to cross them.

    Comment by not_a_freak — January 16, 2009 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  2. I really like this idea. I can’t write more of my thoughts right now since I am at work, but I think this is really nice.

    Comment by timberwolves — January 16, 2009 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  3. this sounds fantastic. i am glad you are doing it. i would be very interested in contributing.

    Comment by ascendant — January 16, 2009 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

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