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Black History Month: How can I be an ally to black disabled people?

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
edited October 6 in Disabled people

October is Black History Month, and here at Scope we're going to be spending this month (and beyond!) celebrating the remarkable stories and achievements of black disabled people that have paved the way for future generations, and exploring how we can all become better allies and amplify the voices of black disabled people in our work. 

What is an ally?

The word 'ally' is often used to describe someone who supports oppressed groups of people in their fight to achieve equality. The term ‘oppression’ describes the process of subjecting ‘harsh and authoritarian treatment’ onto a person, or group of people. This, along with other forms of discrimination, can lead to groups and individuals feeling marginalised, or excluded, from the rest of society.

This support can be shown in a number of different ways including, but not limited to:

  • Helping to create policy change to remove oppressive structures
  • Allowing minority or oppressed groups the platform to make their voices heard
  • Educating yourself on issues that affect the group in question

Anyone can act as an ally to marginalised groups, and you can be an ally to more than one group. For example, as a white, non-disabled person, I try to be an ally to both disabled people, and to people of a black or ethnic minority background. Being an ally can sometimes feel difficult and uncomfortable, as it involves recognising the privileges you have and taking a step back to think about what you can do to support those in a different position to yourself, but it's something that's really important for us all to consider.

I know that we're lucky enough to have a wide range of members here on the community. We have both disabled and non-disabled members of a range of genders, ages, sexualities, ethnicities, and races. Our diversity is our strength, and it's important that we all try to recognise the difficulties that others may face. 

People knelt with fists in the air at a protest

Why is being an ally to black disabled people important?

Being an ally to black disabled people is really important, as they can face both discrimination for their race, and their disability. This can be known as 'multiple oppression', which doesn't mean that a black disabled person experiences twice as much oppression as a white disabled person, but that both disability equality and race equality need to be addressed. This means that both disabled people and non-disabled people of all races and ethnicities should stand together this month and beyond to recognise the challenges that black disabled people face.

You can read more about that in this report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation

How can I go about being an ally to black disabled people?

Great question! This is what we're asking you.

How do you think you can be an ally to black disabled people? What do you think makes a good ally? Has anyone ever been a good ally to you?

We're interested in hearing your perspective whatever your background, so please do comment down below with any thoughts you have on the topic!

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  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,358 Pioneering
    Good questions Tori and a really important topic to discuss too.

    Personally, for me being a good ally involves informing myself about black history rather than asking my black friends and expecting them to do the hard work for my convenience.  

    It's also about calling out discrimination against black people when I am a bystander and not being complicit and staying silent.  This isn't always easy and means difficult conversations but they need to be had as racism is so entrenched in the everyday.  

    What do others think?
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  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Administrator Posts: 10,557 Scope community team
    So important!
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  • MrCatMrCat Member - under moderation Posts: 29 Listener
    The simple way you can be an ally to disabled people is how you can be an ally to all people. Listen to them and their experience? 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Administrator Posts: 1,277 Pioneering
    I think that's a really important point @MrCat! Listening is such a simple thing, but I think it's something we should all work on doing more.
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  • earthchild23earthchild23 Member Posts: 68 Courageous
    Be open minded, be honest ask if you don’t understand something, be confident and encouraging and not fear the fact that others have differences and be inclusive, not arrogant. Be Kind accept imperfections and love always. ❤️ 

    Not everyone is the same 
    but we are all one race the human race, we should strive to be better and love in all aspects of life, but especially a little more when there is one subjected to experience different levels of inhumanity. 🌸

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