I am a white person.
I am also a person of color.
I have never experienced the full power of white privilege, the privileges that are a direct result of having a white name, the privilege of a parent or of privilege as a person who has not faced racism.
I am also an ally.
I support white people and I am often told by white people that I am an ally to white people.
I often hear the words, “I am a friend of the community,” when I speak with someone who is not.
White people think they are friends of the people, not of the communities.
And white people often don’t think about how privilege is embedded in our lives, how we are treated differently because of who we are or who we have a history of.
The white ally experience is often not about being a friend or ally.
It is about being an outsider, an outsider who speaks up, who takes on the role of the outsider and is often treated as an outsider in our communities.
White allies also often feel marginalized because they do not feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences or having them published in a mainstream publication.
When white people see the stories of black women, or the stories about transgender people, or their stories about white privilege and racism, or stories of immigrant families, white allies may feel as though they are the ones being told to shut up, not the people being told.
They may feel like they have to pretend to be a victim to make sure that others feel safe.
The reality is that the white ally is a person, not a group.
When a white ally shares their story, they are not asking for sympathy.
They are not seeking the forgiveness of their past, or seeking the validation of their privilege.
Rather, the white person sharing their story is acknowledging that their story can be told differently, that the story of their experience is not an easy one to share, and that they are human.
When white people share their stories, they do so with an intention to be heard and to have a voice.
White allies are not trying to change the world.
They want to help to heal the world, and their stories will be heard.