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Sick day post for 1/25-1/26

Ang's picture

While reading the Plemons piece, "Teaching," I was reminded from the very first paragraph of our own classroom dynamic. Plemons explains that her goal in a classroom is to create an environment where students feel as equals so that they can "contemplate, challenge, and create in ways that validate their role as co-creators." In the short time we've been a group so far, I've found myself feeling in a way that I am not very familiar with while in class. It may be the dynamic of having two professors, a situation in which I have never found myself, but our class has so far felt like an open environment in which the professors make an effort to express themselves not as our teachers, but as equals in conversation with the same interest in the subject and what we each have to say, like any other student in the class. 

In "Accomplices, Not Allies: Abolishing the Ally Industrial Complex," I felt another ringing familiarity with what the author was saying. I can't remember whether it was a peer who said this to me, or if I read it somewhere online, but I remember feeling a strange discomfort and confusion towards the word "ally" in high school, when someone tried to explain that the A in LGBTQIA stands for "Ally," or if that's not what it stands for, that's what it should stand for. I was perplexed, as well as frustrated. The fitting of "Ally" into the acronym seemed ridiculous to me. While I appreciate the sentiment and act of standing with communities of oppressed people even when you don't identify with those groups, it felt ridiculous to say that these "Allies" fit in with the community; in this case, the LGBTQ+ community. Now that I have learned more of the world, I see that this "Ally Industrial Complex" is another version of the White Savior Complex. By creating such a present and loud identity of an "Ally," these people take up space in the discussion that should belong to those who identify with the oppressed group, and therefore, in a manner, culturally gentrifying the discussion and making it about them, and not the ones oppressed.