Black History Month: How can I be an ally to black 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.
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?
question! This is what we're asking 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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