Allyship – From Acknowledgment to Alignment.

I have been reminded that all anti-racism work (Thanks to Michael @Cole_Therapy_Ed) is actually a political act, all this time I thought I was keeping my politics to myself.

This is in part a political call to arms. 


What is allyship? I have often been heard saying that when it comes to allyship labels are just box-ticking exercises. I want, no, we need actions to mirror those words or we may as well stay silent and complicit.

I have distilled these down into the 4 A’s,






Acknowledgement. The first thing to do is to immerse yourself into a pool of uncomfortableness, a pool of awareness, this is horrible, it feels personal, it feels like you are being attacked, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. However, remember no matter how bitter all medicines are designed to make you better.


Next comes the awareness, this can be difficult because once you notice microaggressions. You really notice. 

Why are there no people of colour in this World War 2 film? There were 5000000 soldiers of colour in world war 2.

Simultaneously you must also be humble here, it’s never the place of an ally to lecture/dictate to the oppressed. Never.

Remember you are just a tourist in someone else’s world, you’re visiting a world you cannot ever live in, your views, no matter how well researched, you come from a world with a different experience. 

A red button with the words

To action, my advice here is to start where you are. I would say this is the crux, this is about sacrifice, e.g every job I interview for (after analysing the field) I start with a difficult question for the headteacher, i.e.

Did you have an issue with recruiting women (or women of colour) applying?

This may lower the chances of me getting that job. This is a sacrifice. On the flip side, the advantage of shortlisting from my perspective, I will not work for a leader whose values do not align with my own. 

Another example, it takes that awareness and acknowledgement to ask if you are the right person for the job? If you aren’t just another male voice on a panel, which I have been asked a few times, I would hope I would ask if a female voice would be more appropriate and if a woman of colour would be better suited and then offer them options through my network.


Yes, you are giving up paid work, but you amplifying the work of the people that deserve it.

This is redressing the balance. 


Alignment. This comes through building your network. The strategy is the key, within education, this means aligning your efforts where institutional change will come, the world is a big place. Together we are stronger.

@BAMEEDnetwork, @WomenEd, @LGBTEd and @DisabilityED are all organisations who seek to make an institutional systemic change. 

Here is a shoutout to @moffat_andrew and the no outsiders program (#NoOutsiders).


References- Photo credits:

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