Disabled people
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

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

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
edited November 2020 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!

Online Community Coordinator, she/her

Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think

Replies

  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,401 Disability Gamechanger
    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?
    Online Community Co-ordinator

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know. 
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    So important!
    Community Partner
    Scope

    Tell us what you think?
    Complete our feedback form to help us to improve your community.
  • 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 Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    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.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • earthchild23earthchild23 Member Posts: 140 Pioneering
    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. 🌸

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    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. ❤️ 
    I love this @earthchild23 :) 

    I think your point about recognising and embracing differences, rather than erasing them, is particularly important.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Lindsey54Lindsey54 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I love all areas of History.  What I find is many people know so little about history in general. This I think is in the way History is taught in schools.  So many people that I have spoken too, only know about modern (19th and 20th Century) history.  A question was asked about the Civil War on a Quiz program, most of the contestants thought that it happened in the U.S.A..  They seemed totally unaware of the Civil Wars in the U.K..  Black history is interesting and should be taught, yes, we  should also be learning all aspects of history so that it can all be studied equally and enjoyed as an encompassing all round subject.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, I think a lot of the education should start in schools too @Lindsey54. It felt like we re-learnt a lot of things over and over again, such as the Tudors, when we could have spent more time being taught about different subjects that are often ignored or avoided due to embarrassment about the UK's past.

    There's a social enterprise called The Black Curriculum that was set up in 2019 by a group of young people who felt that Black British history was not being adequately covered in school history lessons. They go into schools, companies, and non-profits to educate people on Black British history, as they believe this will help to tackle systemic racism.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Parrot123Parrot123 Member Posts: 137 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope Well said lovely. I am mixed race been racially abused but i did not know i was mixed race as i was the result of an affair. I never once reacted when groups of kids and adults called me a black ******** i can't explain how i feel i only found out last year i turned black after chemo. I have stopped sitting in the sun as i don't want people calling me that horrible name sorry if this is offensive its not i am just trying to let people know how bad racism is in Scotland. so sad Will xx rant over
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    That's awful, I'm so sorry to hear that you've been racially abused @Parrot123. It's understandable that it would affect you, as words can be so incredibly hurtful, but of course you should be able to feel proud and comfortable with who you are without fear. I hope that it doesn't happen again, but if it does, you should report the incident to the police if you feel comfortable doing so. Citizens Advice can help you through this process
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Lindsey54Lindsey54 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    My family have dual heritage so any form of racism I find offensive.  My wife and I have two great children, who worked hard and did well at school.  Both of them have gone on to university.  I truly believe that education is the way forward, as so many young people get negative input from all parts off society.  Things like "Oh you live on xxxxxxxx estate, you don't stand a chance".   Being different is great, what a sad grey boring place the world would be if we were all the same.  Try using possibility thinking!  All things are possible to those that believe
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    Really well said @Lindsey54 :) Education is important in so many ways. 

    And I agree that differences should be celebrated and embraced. There's a quote by Audre Lorde that I saw the other day: "it is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognise, accept, and celebrate those differences".
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Parrot123Parrot123 Member Posts: 137 Pioneering
    That's awful, I'm so sorry to hear that you've been racially abused @Parrot123. It's understandable that it would affect you, as words can be so incredibly hurtful, but of course you should be able to feel proud and comfortable with who you are without fear. I hope that it doesn't happen again, but if it does, you should report the incident to the police if you feel comfortable doing so. Citizens Advice can help you through this process
    @Tori_Scope aww thats lovely thanks so much i am sat here crying thank you so so much Will xx
  • Lindsey54Lindsey54 Member Posts: 6 Listener
    I can remember once a friend of mine looking me straight in the face and saying with a somewhat suprised sounding voice "Your wife is black". Without thinking I replied back "Is she"? "I don't see colour I see the person I love".  She is still wonderful after nearly thirty years together.  She is a very beautiful woman no matter what and still the one I love.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    That's okay @Parrot123! I didn't mean to make you cry :o I hope you're feeling better today.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    Wow, 30 years! That's amazing @Lindsey54 :) 
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
  • TheresaHTheresaH Member Posts: 2 Connected
    A suggestion for how to be an ally to Black Disabled People is to approach the elders / religious leaders within each race who, by tradition can outcast the disabled. They need educating on various aspects such as medical explanations on causes of the disabilities, how to integrate the disabled into their society and nurture them. Not treat them  as possessed, which incidentally also happens to white people


    Whilst working with a group of Sikh Asians I encountered several cases of discrimination e.g. by the parents of a diabetic daughter who was alienated as considered unfit for marriage due to her invisible illness!!

    A recent TV series 'Africa with Ade  Adepitan' https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0002fchdespite who prior to emigrating to the UK and becoming a Para-Olympian was rejected in his country of birth. On a return visit for filming he highlighted how his fellow disabled school friends were living in abject poverty rejected by society, and not even allowed on public transport. 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    Really interesting point, thank you for sharing @TheresaH! And thank you for linking to the BBC programme too, I'll have to give it a watch.
    Online Community Coordinator, she/her

    Want to tell us about your experience on the community? Talk to our chatbot here and let us know what you think
Sign in or join us to comment.