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The Allyship Journey You Didn’t Know You Were On

If you’re someone committed to becoming a better colleague, an inclusive leader or a global professional, you are in essence working to become an ally who is more culturally aware and anti-racist. As such, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the allyship journey you’re treading. After all, making a conscious choice to live a life that challenges biases, promotes understanding, and actively advocates for anti-racist policies isn't easy. The route to allyship happens in stages, but do you know which stage you're on?

The following is a roadmap detailing the 5 stages of the Allyship Journey. Find out what stage you’re at and optimize every aspect of your journey to becoming a full-fledged ally.

Table of Contents:

Stage 1: Fearlessness and Clarity

  • Confront discomfort. Acknowledge and confront the discomfort that may arise when addressing issues related to race. Get over your fragile ego and understand that discomfort is a natural part of growth and learning.

  • Dispel fears. Dispel fears of any wrongdoing by understanding that people’s knowledge and the concept of anti-racism itself evolve over time. Emphasize the importance of actively listening and learning from the experiences of Black individuals.

  • Challenge misinformation. Actively challenge misinformation by seeking accurate and reliable sources. Encourage a culture of fact-checking and critical thinking within your community.

  • Unmask biases against Blacks. Reflect on your personal biases, stereotypes, and prejudices, and commit to unmasking and dismantling them. Encourage open discussions about biases to foster a culture of awareness and accountability.

Stage 2: Cultural Competence and Understanding

  • Explore Black history and the Black experience. Educate yourself on the historical context of the Black experience, including slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and current challenges. Understand the systemic factors that contribute to inequality.

  • Spark deeper conversations. Facilitate open conversations about race, privilege, and inequality. Listen to the experiences and perspectives of marginalized communities. Encourage a safe space for individuals to share their experiences and perspectives.

  • Examine diverse perspectives. Seek out diverse perspectives within the Black community. Acknowledge the intersectionality of race with other identities, such as gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status.

Stage 3: Action-Oriented Learning

  • Transform your mindset. Embrace a growth mindset that allows for continuous learning and improvement.

  • Engage in self-examination. Actively engage in self-examination to identify, challenge, and break down ingrained biases.

  • Gain cultural exposure. Seek out cultural exposure through literature, art, and media that amplify Black voices. Attend events and participate in activities that celebrate diversity.

  • Dismantle biases. Participate in workshops or training programs focused on dismantling or breaking down biases. Advocate for diversity and inclusion training within your workplace.

Stage 4: Leading with Responsibility

  • Initiate change. Take actionable steps to spark change within your sphere of influence. Advocate for inclusive policies and practices within your workplace.

  • Bolster confidence. Build confidence within your community to address issues related to race. Encourage others to actively participate in anti-racist initiatives.

  • Empower your circle. Foster a sense of collective responsibility to create an inclusive, supportive environment.

  • Develop skills for effective support. Cultivating one’s skills involves a combination of self-awareness, education, and intentional actions. Regularly assess your actions and commitments, holding yourself accountable for your role in supporting Black allies. Provide resources and support to individuals who are on their allyship journey.

Stage 5: Unwavering Allyship and Anti-Racism

  • Exemplify values. Consistently exemplify anti-racist values in both personal and professional spheres. Lead by example to inspire others to embrace anti-racist principles.

  • Champion universal human rights. Advocate for universal human rights that apply to all individuals, irrespective of their race.

  • Lend unwavering support. Contribute to and support initiatives, policies, and practices that aim to eradicate systemic racism.

  • Safeguard each other. Protect and ensure the well-being of Black communities. Intervene and speak out against racism in all its forms.

Photo by Kelly:

How to Be an Anti-Racist Ally

Being anti-racist does not mean you are not biased, it means you are self-aware and own it when you recognize it in yourself and others. In order to recognize bias/racism and feel confident addressing it, you must be on a self-awareness journey, an anti-racism journey. So what is an anti-racism journey? It is a conscious and ongoing effort that involves self-reflection, education, and taking tangible actions to dismantle racism in all its forms; at work, at home or in society. An individual on an anti-racism journey seeks to be an ally and reach the final stage of allyship where you exemplify anti-racist values and champion others. Being anti-racist is not a passive state; it requires continuous and proactive efforts to promote inclusivity, and contribute to creating a society that values and respects the dignity of every individual, regardless of their racial background.

An ally, therefore, is someone who is anti-racist by default. Someone who not only stands in solidarity with marginalized or oppressed communities but commits to continuous self-education, is empathetic, and is willing to leverage one's privilege to advocate for those facing systemic challenges. True allyship involves an active and supportive collaboration between individuals with shared goals, and aims to dismantle the structures and practices that perpetuate discrimination. 

Allyship IS Anti-Racism and These 5 Stages Will Help You Get There.

Now that you know the specific steps on your road to allyship, you can determine what your next action steps are.  You may be ready to tackle the Allyship Journal designed to help you simplify your steps and get the most out of the journey you're on, or you can talk to us at Tough Convos to find out what enriching experiences we can create with you and your company to make significant progress.

Get in touch today!


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