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Antiracist Praxis

Allyship - Racial Justice in Education by Marnie Twigg

What does allyship in support of racial justice look like? Administrators, teachers, and students want to know, and this section is designed to offer you ideas. Before beginning, it will help if you understand what an ally is, knows, and most importantly, what they do (and don’t do). Learning these underlying principles of allyship will help you effectively evaluate your own ally actions as “supportive” or “performative.” 

A performative ally--sometimes called an “optical” or “covering” ally--is one who wants to be seen as an ally without putting in the difficult work of acting like one. On the other hand, a “supportive” or “non-optical” ally educates themselves on effective action, takes action, and is willing to admit and revise their behaviors when they make mistakes (Harper; Twigg). 

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on how to make these changes, there are plenty of them available. You can also keep reading this guide to better understand why some ally behaviors are more effective than others. While many articles focus primarily on faculty behaviors, teachers can’t do this alone. We need administrators and students who care more about what they do as allies than what they look like they’re doing. So, get reading and get going! 


@mireillecharper. “10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship.” Instagram, 30 May 2020,

Jones, Omi Osun Joni L. “6 Rules for Allies from Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones.” Queer Urban Ecologies, 31 Aug. 2013,

Roberts, Jasmine. “White Academia: Do Better.” Medium, 8 Jun. 2020,

Twigg, Marnie. "Last Verse Same as the First? On Racial Justice and 'Covering' Allyship in Compositionist Identities.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 71, no. 1, Sep. 2019, pp. 7-29.