Outrage Isn’t Allyship

Common traps in the quest for racial justice, and what to do instead

Holiday Phillips
Forge
Published in
5 min readJun 19, 2020

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Photo: Chandan Khanna / Getty Images

This great awakening we are in is, no doubt, a great thing. As the realities of systemic racism take center stage, and white people join the fight against racial injustice, I am filled with hope for the new world that we are creating.

But in the midst of it all, I’m seeing actions performed in the name of allyship that are at best unhelpful and at worst actively harmful to the very people they are meant to support. Here are the five most common traps I see, and some suggestions for what you can do instead.

It’s important for me to say that if you discover that you’ve been doing any or all of these things, I’m not discrediting your good intentions. Many of these actions stem from the very natural reaction you might be having to the fact that we live in a deeply racist world. This guide isn’t meant to make you feel guilty — instead, see it as a way to check yourself and learn how to do better.

1. Expressing “shock” is not allyship

To hear people respond to stories of racism by saying things like “I can’t believe this is still happening in 2020” or “I’m just so shocked that someone would do this” is greatly frustrating for those who live with racism every day.

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Holiday Phillips
Forge
Writer for

Sociologist, Consultant, & Writer. Concerned mostly with Love, justice & belonging. For regular reflections follow on IG www.instagram.com/holidayphillips