#17: How do I stop being “nice” and start standing up to racism at work?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I am a socially awkward, queer fat white woman working at a government agency in Canada. I would like some advice about what to do as a bystander when my white colleagues of any gender are engaging in subtle (or not so subtle) racist behaviour against my women of color colleagues.Continue reading “#17: How do I stop being “nice” and start standing up to racism at work?”

Learn about microallyship

We’ve almost worked our way through the backlog of questions for Dear Ally Skills Teacher! We are now switching to a “when we feel like it” posting schedule. In the meantime, here is another ally skills resource for you: “Microallyship: micro servicing your team’s culture” by Neha Batra (@nerdneha). Neha shared the slides for aContinue reading “Learn about microallyship”

#16: How do I correct sexist language without scaring my report?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I’m a white man in a leadership position at a tech company. My team is unusually diverse and we talk about diversity fairly often. A few months back one of the men on my team used the phrase ‘girls’ when describing young women (in their early twenties) who work as professionalContinue reading “#16: How do I correct sexist language without scaring my report?”

#15: What term should I use when talking about people who have disabilities?

This week’s question is an amalgam of several different questions: Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), Can you tell me once and for all what the proper term is to use when talking about people who have disabilities? I see “people with disabilities,” “disabled people,” and “differently abled” most often. Whatever I pick, half the time someoneContinue reading “#15: What term should I use when talking about people who have disabilities?”

#14: How do I talk to people who are against allyship as a concept?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I am a cis-gender, heterosexual, white, male, working in academia (pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at a US University) so I am very aware of my privilege. I’m a huge advocate for ally work as I myself struggled immensely in the early phase of my doctoral studies and through thatContinue reading “#14: How do I talk to people who are against allyship as a concept?”

#13: Can I do anything about my rude, sexist, racist boss?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I am a white, university-educated woman and I recently started a new job based in Europe. The issue is my boss, who is a rude, sexist, racist white man. He is much older than me and is viewed in our industry as a merely strong-headed, kinda grumpy guy who achieved aContinue reading “#13: Can I do anything about my rude, sexist, racist boss?”

#12: When should I hold the door for someone using a wheelchair?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I’m a woman with no disabilities living in a mid-sized city. Today while I was leaving the library, a woman using a wheelchair was entering. Someone else had pressed the automatic door opener several seconds ago, but the door was starting to close as she was going through. I held theContinue reading “#12: When should I hold the door for someone using a wheelchair?”

#11: How do I choose which activist to trust?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I’m a feminist woman in tech, and I recently turned down an invitation to appear on a panel with another feminist activist. The reason I turned it down is that I don’t trust the other activist, don’t want to give them my social capital by appearing on the same panel, andContinue reading “#11: How do I choose which activist to trust?”

Learn more about the Ally Skills Workshop

I hope you enjoyed the first 10 columns from Dear Ally Skills Teacher! As the next few months are the busiest time for ally skills training, Dear Ally will switch to a biweekly posting schedule. We still have a number of good questions in the queue, but I plan to end the column in aContinue reading “Learn more about the Ally Skills Workshop”

#10: Should white people use white skin tone emojis?

Dear Ally (Skills Teacher), I’m a cis white man in the U.S., and I have a leadership role at a tech company that uses Slack for communication and has many employees from marginalized groups. Slack has a default “skin tone” for emojis, which is a cartoon-y yellow by default but can be set to anotherContinue reading “#10: Should white people use white skin tone emojis?”