[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1530599986302{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]I am not your ally because we are not on separate teams.  If you are fighting inequity and social injustice then we are now and have always been on the same team.  Inequality and injustice affects us all as a society and it is the job of everyone to work towards a just, ethical and peaceful community.
If you distrust everyone whose birth parents come in a different colour than yours or whose life path has been different than yours, belongs to a different faith group, who may not have had the same challenges. or whose gender identity and preferences are different than yours–then I can’t help you with that prejudice you are nursing and I won’t waste my time on a cause that is not grounded on inclusion.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”7854″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1530601122250{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]When you identify some people as outsiders only able to act as secondary “allies” you are trivializing whole groups of people as mere “sidekicks”, shushing them with “check your privilege” when viewpoints differ, or the perspective of the outsider challenges the cherished beliefs of your inner circle.  Your cause ends up weakened by dismissing the contributions that could be made by people from outside your race/nationality/religion/gender expression.  Understanding is a two-way street and as much as I want to listen to you, you have to listen to me for us to understand each other.  If you demand the right to speak without obligation to also listen, you will not gain allies, you will isolate yourself and your cause, intellectually, politically, and economically.
There is more in common in the human experience than the narrow view of identity politics admits and the power of empathy allows human beings to transcend the limits of personal experience. It is the super-power of humanity to be able to see things through the eyes of the other.  When we trust in that ability and work through to common ground, we accomplish great things. The truth of what is being said should always be more important than the identity of the speaker.  There is no racial or cultural copyright on the truth.
We also cannot forget that often the weakest of us are oppressed by members of their own culture. When we give undue privilege to self-appointed spokespeople because of historic injustice against a group they claim to speak for, we can inadvertently abandon those without power to continued oppression. When no one within a community can speak up, someone from outside needs to do so and it is time we stopped shushing those outsiders speaking truth to insider power.
This is a time when some frightening forces are rising in the world with the goal of fascist oppression of many of us and the first tool of fascists is the creation of racial, tribal, religious and gender divides. Why would we want to help with that process by weakening and dividing social justice fighters?
One of the things that puzzle me the most is why so many social activists meekly stand by and accept this divisive climate of identity politics. We’ve never caved so easily. There’s always been people trying to silence dissent within progressive movements. I remember people turning off microphones or ignoring questions from the floor or otherwise rigging debate from my earliest days of social action, but that just made dissenters angrier and louder until all voices were heard. Finding common ground and building coalitions is hard, noisy, untidy work. Even with the best intentions consensus tends to need constant work and repair. But it is what we have to do if we are to succeed in defending human rights in this era where they are under attack everywhere. Have we grown too lazy and complacent to do the work? I hope not.
Now, more than ever before it is true that “United we stand. Divided we fall.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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