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  • Kimberly Kayler

How to be an Ally - Being Called Out


In our last series of tips on #allyship and #howtobeanally, it is key to recognize that there may be times in which you too are called out on your language or behavior. Part of being an ally is not simply advocating for others, but learning from our mistakes as well. If you have been called out:

  • Pause: It is easy to be overwhelmed with emotions.

  • Ask yourself “Do I really know what I said/did?”

  • Would I have said this to somebody of my own race?

  • Were you feeling threatened or uncomfortable in the situation? If so, why? Often microaggression is a defense mechanism.

  • Don’t force people to acknowledge your good intentions.

  • Remember, it’s not just this one incident.

  • Research further on your own time.

  • Apologize. Even if you don’t fully understand.

It’s also key to be aware of the limits of your empathy. We can’t possibly fully understand what others have experienced. Just because we haven’t experienced something, doesn’t make it less real. As such, don’t distract or deflect and remember your goal. Is it to be an ally? Also, drop the perquisites. The goal should not have any conditions. Walk away if you must, but don’t give up. If you aren’t comfortable with the language or the method of the conflict, step aside. However, it is key to build a tolerance for discomfort. Finally, remember that you aren’t doing anyone any favors if you are doing what is right. Allyship comes without reward!


Putting allyship into action: Reflect on times in which you were called out. Did you handle it well? How can you improve on your response to such feedback?


Ready to start your DEI journey? Reach out to AOE today.


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