Inspired

A 3-Point Framework for How to Be a Better Ally

Dr. Tiffany Jana

If you are a white woman who feels a little tentative to speak out or take action on the movement to confront racial injustice right now, you should know this: You are not alone.

“There is a massive sense of fear and resistance in this moment that white people are feeling that is rooted in a lack of understanding,” says Dr. Tiffany Jana, Conferences for Women speaker and diversity and inclusion expert.

Overcoming this—and becoming part of the solution at this critical time—does not lend itself to quick, easy fixes. There is much unlearning and new learning to be done, and much courage and generosity to be tapped.

But there is also a clear three-step framework that Jana offers as a way to become, as they say, “a tool and not a weapon” in confronting racial injustice. Jana is founder of TMI Consulting Inc. and co-author of the 2020 book, Subtle Acts of Exclusion.

1. Invest time in your own education—and know that, in itself, is a big deal.

In any kind of showing up for other people, you are either going to be the tool or the weapon,” says Jana. “An undereducated or malinformed person is going to be a weapon moving through the world causing harm in this moment. An introspective, well-informed person will be able to serve as a tool also known as ally, accomplice or co-conspirator.”

That’s why the best first step is to take a good look at yourself and advance your own understanding, Jana says. “Embracing your own education is a big freaking deal, particularly if you are a woman and there is a good likelihood that you are raising children or raising a spouse or taking care of business,” they said.

“If you are doing it right you are spending hours upon hours internalizing,” they added. “What happens when you take this kind of information in is it disturbs your equilibrium and that is not small. I don’t want anyone thinking that reading and introspecting now is something small.”

Jana also advises: Be sure to read a mix of Black and white voices, adding that—while it is clearly important to learn directly from Black voices—there is also something sacred about hearing from people like you about their journey in becoming more inclusive.

Two black authors Jana recommends:

Two white authors Jana recommends:

For a roundup of Black voices on race, visit the Conference for Women’s new Resource Center for Confronting Racial Injustice.

2. Reach out to other white people—in a spirit of “each one teach one.”

“We don’t need you on Day One to reach out to Black people; you need to reach out to white people. Bring a sister up with you. Make your reading into a book club so you have accountability. Talk about a chapter a week. Then you have people you can have conversation with. You don’t have to sit in your discomfort alone,” says Jana.

“The wonderful thing about the nature of diversity is even if you are of the same race, you still experience things a little differently; and one white sister might be further in the journey and able to unpack something you haven’t looked at yet,” they added.

3. Hold each other accountable.

“Before, it was typically people of color who had to hold the system accountable, and we were often yelling in the wind,” says Jana. “Now what we want to see from our white allies is once you’ve done that education, bounced things off your girlfriends, worked together to become more culturally fluent—stand up and use your newly informed and empowered voice to make sure you are calling out racial injustice when you see it.”

It is also important, they added, to pro-actively support Black people in service of cultivating greater equity in the workplace and society. Some specific ways Jana suggests you can do this:

  • Sponsor Black women. “Sponsoring means when I’m not in the room, you are actively advocating for me to be able to participate more fully. Or, when you hear someone saying something racist, you speak up and say that is not appropriate. I’ve worked with her and know firsthand she is a stellar employee.”
  • Buy from Black-owned businesses. “One of the most powerful things you can do is spend money in Black-owned businesses. Virtually everything can be purchased from Black businesses.”
  • Make room for Black women to advance in the workplace. “If we are advocating for each other across racial lines, particularly when the privileged are advocating for the underrepresented, you embed a level of innovation and resilience and cultural competency and fluency into an organization that serves the mission’s goals more than homogeneity every would. If a white woman does not get a job, trust me, she will find another opportunity at another moment. But Black women are so far behind the starting line, it has been fundamentally unfair and weighted against her from birth,” Jana says—which is why there are times when a white woman should step back and make room for a Black woman to advance. “That’s really putting your money where your mouth is.”

Finally, do not stop.

“My invitation to everyone who is emerging in this moment and waking up to the reality and intensity and the atrocity of racial violence,” Jana says, is this: “I beg that you don’t give up. Do not stop until we have eliminated the fallacy of the hierarchy of human value—because if we stop and settle for something less, we are denying ourselves, our children and grandchildren the beautiful future we can absolutely guarantee if we do this work now.”

Learn more at the Conferences for Women’s new Resource Center for Confronting Racial Injustice.


Also, new this month:

  • Two-time National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward speaks about “Giving Voice to All” – on the latest episode of our Women Amplified podcast.
  • Also, check out the newly released sessions on Best Breakouts, an audio series featuring timeless insights from our archives including ways to expand your knowledge and make important changes to advance inclusivity and mitigate bias, better support women of color in the workplace, and how to advocate through authentic activism.
Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Communication Skills, Negotiating, Inspired Tagged , |

What’s Inspiring Me Now: With Qurate Retail Group’s Naomi Jacobs

Naomi JacobsDirector of Social Strategy & Business Development

We know that sometimes, work, family—OK, life—can get a bit challenging. That’s why we’re interested in hearing what is inspiring successful women now. Here are four things from the Qurate Retail Group’s Naomi Jacobs.  Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Inspired Tagged , |

What’s Inspiring Her Now: With Villanova’s Narda Quigley

Narda QuigleyBeing a well-informed person is an important part of my job as an educator and, more broadly, as a participant in our democracy—but this can be really difficult as a woman and a minority in 2019.

I try to balance out some of the toxicity that I encounter with things that inspire me—sports, books, music, art, and progressive ideas.

These divergent sources help me remember to be positive, curious, and approach my life with joy: Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Inspired Tagged , |

‘Walk Your Talk’ and Other Inspiring Advice from Nobelist Leymah Gbowee

Leymah Gbowee -credit Michael Angelo-200x238Since being internationally recognized for co-leading a women’s movement that ended the most recent civil war in Liberia, Leymah Gbowee has hardly rested on her (Nobel) laurels. She continues to work for women, peace and security issues, founding The Gbowee Peace Foundation to provide education to women and underprivileged youth as well as serving as a global ambassador for Oxfam International and as a member of the UNHCR High Level Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection.

Still, what Gbowee loves most is the time she spends in Africa working with young people to empower and inspire them. Here, the peace activist’s wise words for leaders of any age and situation. Read More

Posted in Speaker Articles, Inspired Tagged , |

Q&A: Rachael Ray on Her First Job, Being the Boss and Eating Healthy at Work

Rachael RayEven though she has 22 cookbooks, four TV shows, a lifestyle magazine and a line of dog and cat food, don’t call Rachael Ray a one-woman-cottage-industry. “I don’t like those terms,” she says. “It sounds like I created an ‘evil empire’ or something.” Her success wasn’t plotted out: “I just enjoy working, I enjoy people and I enjoy food. So, I do what I love; the TV just sort of happened. That’s just a bonus.” Read More

Posted in Career, Speaker Articles, Career Choices, Inspired Tagged , |

Inspired By: Glennon Melton

Melton, Glennonsm“…every day I remind myself that there is a chasm-wide gulf between peacekeeping and peacemaking.”

If you’re not already reading Momastery, then you don’t know how brilliant and unflinchingly optimistic Glennon Melton is. Get to know her in this short interview and we guarantee you’ll be a fan, too. Read More

Posted in Inspired Tagged |

Inspired By: Samantha Ettus

Samantha Ettus“…focus on your kids when you are with them, have one adult night out per week and be unapologetic about your lifestyle. You are a role model after all!”

Samantha Ettus is an expert in the art of personal branding. She’s also a bestselling author, television personality, and a wife and mother, so she has a lot of interesting things to say about making career and family work. Read on for some great advice.

Read More

Posted in Life on Your Terms, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Life Balance, Inspired Tagged |

Be Inspired: Jane Pauley on Finding Your Voice

Jane Pauley portraitYou’re probably a better negotiator than you think, says Jane Pauley, a contributor to CBS’ Sunday Morning after almost four decades at NBC and New York Times bestselling author of Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. It’s just that your style isn’t the typical tough-guy act. Read More

Posted in Negotiating, Inspired Tagged |

Inspired By: Cindy Ratzlaff

Ratzlaff, Cindysm“It is never too late to become your next best self.”

Marketing pioneer, writer, and Conference for Women speaker Cindy Ratzlaff opens up about happiness. The former vice president of brand marketing at Rodale is currently a contributor to Business Insider, and her essays on happiness have appeared on Oprah.com, CNN.com and Wowowow.com. She has also co-authored two bestselling books on happiness and boundaries, “Queen of Your Own Life” and “Queenisms: 101 Jolts of Inspiration.”

Read More

Posted in Career, Embrace the Unknown, Inspired Tagged |

Inspired By: Glenda Hatchett

C.G_Hatchett.5_06_01 015“Always act with the utmost integrity…your word is your bond.”

Judge Glenda Hatchett, host and star of Judge Hatchett, has had a distinguished legal career, completing a prestigious federal clerkship, spending 10 years at Delta Airlines and rising to the highest-ranking woman of color worldwide, and as chief presiding judge of the Fulton County Juvenile Court. One of our highest rated speakers ever, we’re honored to have her return to the Pennsylvania Conference for Women to help celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2013. Read on to learn how her career path took an unexpected twist and led her to the intersection of purpose and passion. Read More

Posted in Career Choices, Inspired Tagged |

Registration is Now Open Register Now
X

What you need to succeed in work and life now.

Smart, timely insights from inspiring women.
Delivered twice monthly to more than 150,000 subscribers.