Ally or Accomplice? A Thought-Provoking Distinction

As a white counselor, I have long considered myself an ally of those historically marginalized in our culture – especially Black, Latino, Gay, etc., but this excerpt from author DeRay Mckesson, made me stop and consider the difference between an ally and an accomplice. As I strive to do and be better, I hope you will join me in whatever small or large ways to make the world safer and more just for ALL. In this case, I hope I am found guilty of being an accomplice.

“I have grown tired of the notion of an ally. I prefer the language of an “accomplice.” An ally loves you from a distance. An accomplice loves you up close. We need allies to make the transition to accomplices. An ally is someone who has unpacked her personal privilege but hasn’t yet made the link to institutional issues and is not willing to risk anything besides her mental comfort. An accomplice rolls up her sleeves and engages in the work that is beyond her. She’ll march in the streets, yes. But an accomplice also faces her own participation in whiteness, acknowledges it, and then looks beyond that personal acknowledgment to identify how her awareness can be applied to changing the systems and mindsets that prop up the system.”
― DeRay Mckesson, On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

Thanks to Terricks Noah for sharing their work on Unsplash – photo of beautiful boy.

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