[IMAGE DESCRIPTION: CLOSE-UP ON A TAN PUPPY WITH ITS PAWS ON ITS CHEEKS. TEXT READS, “BEING AN ALLY MEANS APOLOGIZING WHEN YOU MAKE A MISTAKE.”]
It’s true, because you don’t become an expert on a subject simply by reading a few blog posts. It takes an incredibly long time to grasp certain things. So of these may be because you’ve never experienced what someone else has experienced.
As a straight white dude, I’m speaking primarily to other straight white dudes. When Women, PoC, WoC, LGBTQA, poor, or homeless talk about their experiences, do us all a favour. Shut up and let them speak, don’t try and compare their experience with someone else’s and end it off with “and their okay”, because that doesn’t help it only derails.
Get used to apologizing a lot, because you’ll find you’re gonna have to. People’s experiences are fluid and differ from one person to the next. Just because two African American people have slightly different problems does not mean that one is more credible than the other.
Never stop learning. Just because you reach a certain age, does not mean you are suddenly stuck in a rut and too old to take on new ideas or challenges. Spend years talking to people and learning about their experiences. Even then, you will not have grasped the full picture.
If you make a mistake, just say “I’m sorry, I will try better next time”. Don’t end an apology off with “but…”, because that means you have no interest in learning, expanding, or being an ally at all.