How to Be a Better Ally

Words and Video by Shaliz Navab

Over the past three months, I surveyed and interviewed fifty women of color living in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK on the topic of allyship. The women participating in these interviews came from several different backgrounds, with roots in: South Africa, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Japan, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines, Bangladesh and the Caribbean. The focus of the project was to create a set of guidelines including practical every day things one can do, in order to support these women in their every day lives, in the form of an ally. This was inspired by the racism, islamophobia and xenophobia present in the countries in which these women reside, and also by the participation of those who perhaps do not go through the same struggle but are willing to show their solidarity, mostly doing this by rare verbal expression or sharing an article on social media. Detecting a genuine will in most of my friends to make a change to the situation, but also a confusion as to how to make this happen, I decided that although it is not the responsibility of women of color to educate anyone around this topic, it could be useful for everyone involved to discover what it is we truly look for in an ally, and how you can become a better one. Though each interview brought with it unique and often tragic points, certain key words and concepts came up repeatedly in almost all interviews. These are the points that are explained in the video, a short, concise, and certainly simplified demonstration of ‘How To Be A Better Ally’.

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