I See You: The Hard Part of Being An Ally

In my time in the social change arena -which is essentially my whole life- I’ve connected with allies of Aboriginal people and culture over-and-over again. I can’t even express how heartwarming it is or how deeply appreciative I am of these people for that commitment and friendship.

The term that I prefer rather than ‘ally’ is ‘associate’ but that’s a story for another time.

The truth is though, there’s a problem with being an ally. You’ve committed yourself to support the human rights and equality of Aboriginal people and culture but quite often you’re feeling like there’s nothing you can do. Right?

As an ally, you know it’s important for Aboriginal people to be leading it the way they feel it must be led.

You recognise that, for too long, Aboriginal people haven’t had a seat at the table or had a say over the things that directly affect them. It’s a seat that you refuse to fill.

You also understand that because the Aboriginal community has been severely impacted by being excluded, oppressed, and continuously being portrayed as bad or lesser people, they need time to heal. This means its often difficult or impossible to lead a new way when the care and nurturing of our family is our number 1 priority. Leading a new way for social change and guiding our allies is a secondary factor in comparison to the immediate attention needed for the healing of our families. I thank you personally for your amazing patience. Knowing you are there whenever we are ready and whenever we need you leaves a beautiful feeling within me.

In saying that, I totally get it that you are keenly waiting for an opportunity to support and walk with us.

I am now at a point in my own personal healing that I am ready to start sharing my story, my ideas, my vision for a way forward, and how I think we can get to that point.

I have two sons and don’t want them to have to experience the world the same way I did. I don’t want them to be discriminated against because they are Aboriginal. I don’t want them to witness the casual racism and unconscious biases from friends, family, strangers, or community leaders. I don’t want them to ever feel lesser than anyone else. And I certainly don’t want to ever feel ashamed of who they are!

This is the reason I am dedicating my life to changing the way Aboriginal people and culture are seen, associated, and portrayed in our society. Through education and lots of un-learning, I’m doing what I can to stimulate equality in our Australian community.

The question is, how do we change a society whose fundamental basis is built on exclusion and marginalisation of Aboriginal people?

My belief is we need to look at the different aspects of the culture and explore ways that Aboriginal culture can harmoniously be weaved through the wider Australian culture.

Language is a major pillar for culture and as a storyteller, knowledge holder, and life teacher myself, I am deeply connected to language and how it’s used. Because of this connection, I have decided to put my focus on how we can become more conscious of the language that we use and the way we use it. To start this conversation I’ve created an online course called Introduction to Culturally Inclusive Language.

It covers the foundations of language and inclusive language. And most importantly, you will walk away with some concrete things you can do to start changing the way language is used into a more culturally inclusive one. Once you finish the intro course, you will then be eligible to participate in the Cultural Inclusion Course.

If this resonates with you and you’d like to join me in transforming the way we use our language into a more culturally inclusive one, you can enroll in my introduction to culturally inclusive language online course here.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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