I first heard of the concept of “Ally to All” from Prof. Kenji Yoshino, the Chief Justice Earl Warren Profession of Constitutional Law at NYU, in a course he presents on LinkedIN Learning.
The course was centered around inclusion of people that are not part of the typical inclusionary groups. Examples mentioned were of groups in the workplace where there is distinction between members of the workplace based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or other criteria.
The goal was to get you from Ally to One (or worse, Ally to None) to Ally to All. The types are:
- Ally to None
- Ally to One
- Ally to Some
- Ally to All
I felt a strong pull to write this blog post because at Don’t Be That Guy, we strive to be allies to not only the victims of bullying or the bullies, but also to our Angels as we call them. Angels are our volunteers who help us deal with the cases of bullying that we encounter.
Where do we stand?
Lots of people fall in the Ally to One or Ally to Some areas, and while those are steps up from Ally to None, we should strive to become Ally to All. Here is why:
- Ally to One – focused on the individual, acting only when the person allied to you asks for help. You’re generally not acting on those that you are not allied to, even though they are going through the same scenario. Non-inclusive behavior is seen as an obstacle to overcome.
- Ally to Some – this is focused on a group scenario, i.e., people in the LGBTQAI+ community. You see the world as “in” or “out” groups. While that sounds almost right, the negative thing here is that you consider people targeting this community as BAD people (and not that they do bad THINGS), and should you be doing a bad thing yourself, you will judge yourself as a bad person as well. You see yourself as an exception.
- Ally to All – This is basically just an extension of Ally to Some but including yourself! You’re seeing the people not as bad, but their behavior as bad. You rea an ally to all of them as well as yourself, and you understand that people doing bad things are not necessarily bad people. You understand that you are going to need allies yourself as some point in time, and you seek to improve the system.
What are the benefits of allyship?
- Allies persuade when confronting non-inclusive behaviour
- Allies effectively advocate for diversity
- Allies have power to transform
Why should you be an ally?
- It is the right thing to do
- It enables you to grow personally
- It provides you with allies
Where does allyship fit in with Don’t Be That Guy?
Good question! Let me answer that simply: a lot of bullying happens because the person being bullied is not included (or, differently put, socially not accepted). We know from thousands of studies into bulling that bullies act out of fear, insecurity, and being bullied themselves, among other reasons. People who fear others for whatever reason (the fear not necessary being fear of being harmed, but also the fear of the unknown).
In communities where, let’s say, LGBTQIA+ communities, are not understood or culturally accepted, these individuals may be ostracized, marginalized, or simply bullied to the point where life becomes unbearable. The same goes for racial or gender-based cases.
Do I have the proper motivation?
- If nobody knew that I was engaging this form of allyship, would I still do it?
- Am I informed enough to act?
If the answers to questions above are “Yes”, your motivations are probably clean. You are the type of person we are looking to work with.
What do we do?
At Don’t Be That Guy, we strive to be allies to all. It is difficult, but we try our best.
We acknowledge that there are three parts to the Empathy Triangle, as defined by Professor Yoshino:
- Ally – I saw it
- Affected Person – It happened to me
- Source – I did it
Here, we work with all three of these:
- Ally – Our Angels, or anyone who follows our motto, “See something, and say something”.
- The Affected Person – The person affected by bullying
- The Source – The person doing the bullying
By trying to help them all, we try to fulfill the requirements of the Empathy Triangle. We started doing this, even before I heard of this Empathy Triangle. It shows you that “doing the right thing” here is essentially universally understood, except that now it has a name: the Empathy Triangle.
Join us! Become an Angel today!