Verb: combine or unite a resource or commodity with (another) for mutual benefit.

I know some white allies who are so loyal and “true” to the “cause:” the dismantling of racism within our society that I would willingly give the shirt off my back for. These allies will support you often to the detriment of their personal lives.

They live to educate and fight injustice in any way they can, and it’s comforting and inspiring seeing them in action. While everyone is making noises, often pretending to support Black and Brown people, they are quietly going about the business of real change. The changes they effect is meaningful and sustainable.

Another group that pretends to be allies are the “performative allies.” They are on the front line, often standing in front of the marginalized while holding up our pain. These allies or “all lies” will and can mimic support until their lives are disrupted, or they disagree with you, then all hell breaks loose.

The difference between the two may be hard to understand, but you can figure it out.

What Allies do:

Allies will always be found next to or behind the marginalized or oppressed. If they are in front, then it is to serve as protection against attacks from police or white supremacists.

Allies will listen to Black and Brown people and are willing to be educated about Black History and our lived experiences.

Allies are always quietly working in the background, trying to bring about meaningful change. Allies will fundraise, will lobby for better wages, living conditions etc.

Allies do not display fragility even in the face of “hate speech” cause deep down, they know and understand its “hurt speech.”

Allies know when Black or Brown people say, “white people are racist or evil,” they know it’s not about them, so they hardly take offence to such talks.

Allies will ask how they can assist, rather than being presumptuous or infantilize Black and Brown people by making decisions for them.

What All lies do:

All lies white people are performative allies and will walk in front of the oppressed.

All lies are interested in noddy badges from their audiences.

All lies will shout the loudest, especially on social media, then back off when things get heated.

All lies are not interested in learning about Black and Brown history unless they can use it as a “weapon” to “win” against an enemy they think they have.

All lies will speak on behalf of Black and Brown people, effectively silencing them. They generally walk in front of the marginalized when there is a protest etc.

All lies do not hold back to uplift Black and Brown voices. They don’t make safe spaces or move aside to pave the way for Black voices to be amplified.

All lies will speak about Black and Brown pain and experiences, often infantilizing them as if they are incapable of speaking for themselves.

All lies will insist on speaking loudly about “black pain” even if it hurts them. They are interested in scoring points even if it hurts the people they claim to protect.

The difference between Allies and All lies people is glaringly evident, by how racism is spoken about: Allies will feel deep empathy, and their humanity comes across when they talk, whereas All lies treat Black and Brown peoples experiences like the latest trend.

Allies will show up and know and understand that allyship is a lifelong commitment.

All lies personal lives are hardly affected by being activists because once they are in their own spaces, the “cause” is forgotten, left at the door, like muddy boots.

They don’t like being told what to do, even if they are corrected by marginalized people. Their way is the only way they deal with racism, prejudice and so on, and their fight is not long term.

Which one are you? If you open or create spaces for Black and Brown people to speak up, you know which one you are.