An ally is anyone from a dominant or majority group that is working towards ending oppression by supporting and advocating for those in marginalized and oppressed groups.
Becoming an ally is a process and it isn't always easy or comfortable. It requires one to recognize the power and privilege that being part of the dominant culture affords them.
There is no prescriptive method to becoming an ally but there are steps that everyone must follow to become better informed.
1. Who are you? Look inward and create an identity map that lists your place in society. Think about your race, gender, ethnicity, family roles, professional roles, and religious affiliations. Understanding how you've reached your worldview is important to understanding your relationship to others, ideas, and events.
2. Educate yourself! Begin thinking about your own identity map and challenge yourself to learn more about the groups, cultures, and identities that you do not identify with. Have you experienced privilege in a way that those in other groups have not? It is only through learning about others that you can stand with them and advocate for them, using your own power and privilege in ways that marginalized voices cannot.
3. Use your new found skills. Recognizing the differences in power and privilege amongst social groups is only the first step. Learn how to communicate your thoughts about privilege, power, and oppression. It may be scary at first, so look for a way to practice these skills in safe environments.
4. Take action. Being an ally means more than just knowing the right things to say. Get out in the community and talk to others about the struggle marginalized groups go through.
All accomplices are allies, but not all allies are accomplices. While an ally is willing to stand in support of a marginalized voice, risk is rarely involved. An accomplice uses the power and privilege they have to challenge the status quo, often risking their physical and social well being in the process.