10 Tips for being an effective Ally

  1. Ask what you can do to help. Remember, being an ally means supporting another person. To do so, you need to learn what that other person needs or wants in the way of support. Don’t assume you know!
  2. Think about what you would want someone else to do for you and try offering that response to the individual. To generate ideas for how you could be supportive, ask yourself:“How would I feel if this were happening to me?” Remember: what you would need may be different than what they would need.
  3. Be careful that you don’t become a perpetrator. Many allies make the mistake of using name-calling and put-downs as a way to support others.
  4. Take appropriate steps. Inform adults if threats, injury or property damage has occurred. Be aware of and suggest possible resources, such as peer counseling or peer mediation.
  5. Use these techniques when dealing with offensive jokes: Speak up when someone tells an offensive joke and tell the person it offends you.Don’t laugh at offensive jokes, but remember that it is not enough to refuse to laugh. Your silence may send a message that you are in agreement.Try to stop someone before they tell an offensive joke. For example, if someone says, “I’ve got a great joke for you.” Tell them: “I’d love to hear it, but if you think it could offend someone, I’d rather you didn’t tell it.”
  6. Interrupt rumors, jokes and stereotyping even when there is no one from the “target” group present.
  7. If you aren’t sure whether something is offensive, ask! Just remember that no one should be asked to speak for an entire group of people. (i.e. What do Black people think about . ..?)
  8. Educate yourself about the meanings of the epithets/names that people use to hurt others and share the true meanings of these words with those that use them.
  9. Be aware of your own prejudices and seek out opportunities to educate and or challenge yourself to overcome them. For example, take the risk to put yourself in situations in which you will be in the minority or surrounded by others who are different than you in some way.
  10. Avoid benefiting from discrimination. Sometimes we may get special privileges or treatment at the expense of someone else. Point this out when it happens. For example, if you see someone being deliberately skipped over in line, say something.