I’m unsure of how to adequately convey, that I’m utterly over of hearing about allyship fatigue. Iont wanna hear nan thing about it, y’all.
About a year ago is when the BLM protests started happening and the moment it picked up mainstream steam, Black people were having to deal with performative allyship.
Insta influencers taking pictures, in support, and then driving on home immediately after. They just wanted a photo op.
Non-melanated folks, posting BLM in their bios and as statuses, but doing everything else in their power, to show that they didn’t really believe in it.
It was exhausting.
That’s not to say that everyone was performative, but it was a hell of a lot of ya. As irky as it was, it was expected.
As is the current allyship fatigue.
And look, I have a contentious relationship with “allies.” Allies are often self-proclaimed and so many hide behind the word, so that they don’t have to address any lingering anti-Blackness and racism.
It’s like “ally” is used in place of throwing their hands in the air and saying “That’s it! I’ve learned/unlearned all that is possible. I have reached the final form of woke-ness. I am the ultimate authority, praise me.” Alright, that last one was a bit on the sarcastic side, but I’ve seen that said too, so is it really? The point is that there isn’t a fixed point that you can reach, it involves constant learning, LISTENING, and adjusting. I just don’t see that as much as I should.
I do see a lot of once-vocal people, who are now mute. I see a lot of commentary on how tired they are of allyship, or more so, how tiring it is. I see talk about despair and how change isn’t actually..happening – wanting to give up. Oftentimes, they do give up.
I’m not saying that all those feelings aren’t valid, they absolutely are.
You know who is intimately and keenly aware of that? Black people. The people who are directly on the receiving end of what allies are supposedly fighting against.
I read something recently, that talked about how Black people can’t trust white people with social justice. If ever there were a topic, that got a resounding “sis, yes” from me and likely most other Black people, this is it.
I remember how “allies” wrote think pieces about Black people not trusting them and how upset they were by it.
I remember those “allies” that BEGGED to be allowed to help with the movement. The promises that they would keep up the fight and wouldn’t abandon the cause. The virtue signaling. The tears. Ohhhh, the tears.
What I remember most though, is how so many Black people said “just wait until the fad dies down, y’all are gonna disappear faster than you can say BLM,” and how Black people were criticized for that.
But we were right.
It’s quiet now, from a lot of those ally populations. It’s no longer trendy. Doesn’t get the likes, views, comments and viral posts, it once did.
While I think some of the concern is still there, it’s just…too hard. Too uncomfortable. Too steep of a hill to climb.
And THAT, is one of the reasons why Black people didn’t, don’t and probably won’t (not in large quantities at least), trust allies when it comes to social justice.
It got hard and a lot of y’all just stepped away from it.
Black people can’t do that. We don’t get to step away from police brutality, racism or negative sentiments about Blackness. It is a constant in our lives.
Are you surprised that Black people give not one, single, solitary fuck about hearing about allyship fatigue? What did you truly expect?
Consider for a moment, that while trying to combat police brutality and systemic racism, some Black people now how the added task of calming white ally fear.
In between getting maced by the police, they had to put forth an incredible amount of emotional labor, to explain the history of discrimination.
While dealing with the mental toll of watching another loved one or skinfolk be slaughtered by the very same police force who is now chanting blue lives matter in opposition to BLM, Black people were dealing with allies centering themselves and speaking over them.
At every turn, when symbolic, meaningless gestures, were put forth to appease Black masses, there were allies accepting these pointless displays. Even when Black people said no. Even when Black people said this wasn’t justice, this wasn’t change, this wasn’t any damn thing.
Think about the additional frustration that ensued, when allies did EXACTLY what they say they wouldn’t – what we got scrutinized for saying would happen. How is it that we now have to deal with sad allies who “can’t take” the “oh, nah, I thought y’all was sticking around? Where y’all at doe?” responses?
While Black people are stuck with literally the same shit situation, a year later, we’re also having to contend with the deafening silence, from so many formerly loud “allies.”
I need a lot of y’all to understand that “allies” aren’t supposed to add to the trauma, aren’t supposed to take away from the group they’re aligning with, are not supposed to be yet another tickbox of things we have to “deal with it,” but that’s what happened.
Since things are already so quiet in camp ally, what better time than now, to do some serious self-introspection and figure out whether you helped or harmed.
If you harmed, fix that.
If you’re genuinely tired, do what you need to do, to get well and get back to it – if that’s your goal.
But I swear on my grandma an em’, if I see another one of you complaining about allyship fatigue TO Black people and/or to get a pat on the back and a “it’s okay” from us, we gon’ have some real problems.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.