Dale Hansen said some pretty awesome things a while ago in response to the expected backlash Michael Sam experienced for coming out while being an NFL prospect. And this isn’t to deflate or derail the validity of Hansen’s perspective, but I sigh to witness how society still needs to celebrate those who marginalized groups may deem as allies to their experience.
I discuss similar thoughts with my best friend concerning white people. Specifically, those who acknowledge their privilege and make efforts to emphatically listen and understand the experiences of people who aren’t white. One of the ideas behind this is to better discuss race without being accused of using the race card for self interest.
Essentially, my friend thinks they need encouragement to know their actions are an improvement upon our generation and to ensure they keep behaving the way they do. I alternatively grunt, albeit without pleasure, at this notion because I fear the risk of giving the ally more attention and focus than we should the issue at hand.
It’s the same concern I share toward the Macklemores and Tim Wises and the members of the Black Consciousness mentality who run risk at perpetuating animosity if not patriarchy or homophobia toward women or the LGBTQ community through the perspectives of some. This isn’t to say I don’t acknowledge their talents.
The issue is to ensure that allies understand that they will never fully be just like the marginalized groups they support.
Despite how hard they navigate through their work, no matter what they do or accomplish, they will always will always be promised some manner of preferential receive support inherently within society’s constructed context concerning heteronormative, cisgendered privilege let alone the benefits to whiteness or being a man.
Ultimately, I’m on the fence on how to support those who marginalized groups consider allies because my perspective is mine alone and doesn’t factor upon the feelings of every person who identifies with said marginalized group.
So kudos to Dale Hansen for telling those distraught about Michael Sam to suck it up and get with the times. Despite what you’d expect given America’s history, there are older white men just like Hansen out there who are empathetic to the issues impacting other people. Be ready nevertheless to back up your stance if you’re going to quote Audre Lorde.
- Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating our differences (WFAA.com)
- RACE + HIP-HOP + LGBT EQUALITY: ON MACKLEMORE’S WHITE STRAIGHT PRIVILEGE (Racialicious.com)
- 8 Ways Not To Be An “Ally”: A Non-Comprehensive List (blackgirldangerous.org)
- So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know (everydayfeminism.com)