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Monday, December 12, 2016

Allies Are Like Sports Fans

Image description: Soccer stadium with a full
pyrotechnics show going on.
Being a social justice ally is a lot like being a fan of a sports team.

You’re there to support them, spend money on their merchandise, identify yourself as a supporter so that your team feels the love and the world knows you're there, cheer for them, talk them up to others, gush about why your team rocks to anyone interested in sports (and maybe a few who aren't), and jump in if someone's talking trash about your team (or your sport). You bring a megaphone and a big foam #1 glove, and you use the megaphone to lead the cheers you have been taught and that the team likes to hear. And maybe if you're good at what you do, you lead the bleachers in a cheer or two and get a few seconds of cheering on the JumboTron.

But you're not part of the team. You don't go to practices. You don’t get your name on the roster. If they wins or loses, you're going to your normal job on Monday. If you're wearing a jersey, it's got someone else's name on it. You don't take that megaphone, turn it full blast and start offering your own opinion to the crowd about what the team could be doing differently because you're just really concerned about how they're doing this season. You don't hang out in the locker room or sit down with the MVP and tell them you really know a lot better about the sport they're playing than they do and here's what they need to do. You aren't invited to the strategy sessions. Because you aren't the focus.

Also, if someone from the team is doing a press conference, you don't run up and steal the microphone to talk about how the team's playing has made you feel.

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