THAT’S WHAT S(HE) SAID

Welcome to That’s What S(he) Said– a guide to everything by the 21st century human, for the 21st century human.

This series was thought out for a while after having the initial idea spark. No matter if you, the person giving/receiving the advice is a she, he or they, this is meant for you. We all need a helping hand at times, and at those times, all hands are welcome.

That’s What S(he) Said is a series that will be having installments twice a month. Between those two times, readers (you!) will submit topics they’d like to have the advice column talk about the next installment. If those readers (yes, you) would like to personally find out what the next series topic is, such that they’d like to contribute to the bimonthly post, they are welcome to inbox the blog here, or check out the about tab for alternate methods of communication with the editor.

To begin this series, I wanted to start off with something basic, but also overlooked by many, and that is how to be an ally, and a great one at that.

Many people neglect the fact that they are not really doing the best job in providing their friends with help, simply because they make it about themselves a lot of the time, I caught up with some of my friends, and spoke to them about what a good ally is to them.

Aleyna – @hyfraleyna


Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Aleyna, I live in NY, age 17. I would say I’m someone who finds inspiration in the littlest things. For instance I could listen to a song and suddenly feel the urge to write a poem or draw a picture. I think my life revolves around music. It shapes me into who I am today and how I got to where I am today. Some things that also make me happy is taking photos of everyone and everything. 

Have you felt outcasted/victimized in the society we live in today? And how did it feel?

I don’t ever believe anyone has ever specifically outcasted me, if anything I mostly outcasted myself. Growing up in this society was never a problem for me until the age of 12 when I started wearing a hijab. At such a young age I was always exposed to the hatred and the problems of my religion and I guess I would constantly blame myself. Being so young and stubborn I could never express my feelings without someone blurting “don’t worry about what they’re saying!” By being isolated I mean that I wouldn’t go into stores anymore and I basically spent everyday wrapped up in my head wondering if people were judging me. It’s quite funny when I think about it because I’m 17 now and I’m newly starting to feel comfortable. It mostly felt like living in fear and constant regret.

A lot of people feel like they are really helping out their friends when talking about their feelings, but has anyone, meaningfully or not, done the opposite for you?

No, I feel like my friends have always supported me throughout everything in my life but some things I just keep a secret because I don’t want to jinx it. Other than that I’m sure I have a pretty supportive group of friends that I’m thankful for.

How would you like someone to treat you in a time of need, as a good ally? What few things would you like them to do/traits for them to express to support you?

I usually always need reassurance from everyone. From time to time I’m not always the positive,perky person I portray to be. I think everyone needs a little reassurance from everyone. The simplest thing like “I love you” or “I miss you” is even enough. Checking up on someone is probably the most important thing because no one is ever going to tell you everything even if they say they did. I’m a true believer in that the simplest things can make someones day.

Jaci – @photosbyjaci

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Jaci, and I’m a 16 year old photographer from New York. 

Have you felt outcasted/victimized in the society we live in today? And how did it feel?

As a biracial person of color, people sometimes make unnecessary and incorrect assumptions about my ethnicity based on my appearance. When spending time in Spain, where the majority of the population is white, people sometimes make racist remarks or appropriate Mexican culture- either with or without knowing my ethnicity. I find this highly offensive not only because it is my culture, but primarily because they are unaware of the harm that these seemingly harmless acts- such as dressing up in a Mexican or Native American costume- can have. Nevertheless, I’m thankful to have never experienced direct racism in New York or in Spain.

A lot of people feel like they are really helping out their friends when talking about their feelings, but has anyone, meaningfully or not, done the opposite for you?

Personally no one has ever hurt me when discussing my feelings because I am very expressive with my emotions (I’m a cancer, what can I say?) and find comfort in being able to openly talk about them with my loved ones.

How would you like someone to treat you in a time of need, as a good ally? What few things would you like them to do/traits for them to express to support you?

During times when I’m feeling down, it’s really the little things that help me feel better. I really appreciate any small gestures- anything from coming over to my house to bake cookies to going on a walk with me in the park- that show that my friends are physically and emotionally there for me. If the problem is more about an instance where I experienced racism, or am devastated by a racist/sexist/homophobic (or any other kind of oppressive behavior you can think of) issue that occurred to somebody else, I appreciate when my friends listen to me while I explain the situation, letting out my feelings. If the person is not familiar with the oppressive issue at hand it means a lot to me when they are honest and take time to educate themselves about it.

Brianna – @bribrisimps


“How would you like someone to treat you in a time of need, as a good ally? What few things would you like them to do/traits for them to express to support you?”

If I was in a situation which required my friends who consider themselves allies to stand up, first and foremost I would like them to listen to my experiences attentively. We have two ears and one mouth— we should listen twice as much as we should speak. I want them to be aware that the experiences I have as a black woman are automatically going to be seen through a different lens than theirs because my race and gender together are always relevant to my life experiences. 

I especially want them to know that allyship doesn’t stop once I’m no longer there. If they know that certain things affect people of color, women, the LGBTQ+ community, the disabled, etc. in a negative manner and aids in their oppression, it’s their job to also call out these issues on a regular basis. While authentic experience is necessary, some people still won’t take it as truth. They need to hear it from someone they believe to be unbiased in order to believe it. That’s the most supportive thing to me— knowing that if I’m not around, you’ll still actively try to dismantle oppression against marginalised communities because it is the right thing to do! 

Anonymous

Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi. My anonymous name is Ava. I’ve always liked that name. I’m 15 years old and I am black. I enjoy music, watching sports & good sunsets. 

Have you felt outcasted/victimized in the society we live in today? And how did it feel?

Growing up in a suburban town with a heavy white population, it was normal to feel like an outcast. Often times, I am the only POC in a classroom or at work. Talking about slavery in history class has and always will be uncomfortable considering all the awkward stares and questions I get. Often, people just ask me questions about being black. Like “do you know your dad?” or “how does your hair stay up like that?” but weirdly i’ve gotten used to it. At first, I had a hard time being “the outcast” but i’ve learned to accept it. Ever since the recent BLM stuff, i’ve never been happier to be black. I love my culture, my family, my hair, and my skin. I am not ashamed nor do I ever wish that I was any other race. (Except for hair wash days, my arms lowkey fall off trying to brush my hair, shits crazy). Aside from that, trying to find foundation that matches me is a struggle that is soooo real. Dear all makeup companies: Why do you have 100 shades of white and then one “dark” product labeled “cocoa”? I just wanna talk. 

A lot of people feel like they are really helping out their friends when talking about their feelings, but has anyone, meaningfully or not, done the opposite for you?

Sometimes. One time, I remember talking to one of my close friends around the time there was a lot of police shootings and blacks were being targeted and I felt uncomfortable whenever the topic came up. Her response was “Well, I guess because you guys can sometimes come off as thugs, people get scared”

How would you like someone to treat you in a time of need, as a good ally? What few things would you like them to do/traits for them to express to support you?

Being an ally does not mean you’re an expert. Don’t TRY to make yourself a minority. Don’t speak FOR us, speak WITH us. If you see your POC friend in an uncomfortable situation, be there for them. Don’t say thinks like “I get what you mean” because if you’re not a minority, you don’t get what I mean. Be careful with your words. One last thing, I love you Jenna and thank you for doing this so people like me can be heard. Xoxo love u sweet

I hope you enjoyed this first part of That’s What S(he) Said as much as I enjoyed reading all of these lovely people’s responses. As Ava said, stand with your friends, not for them.

With all my love,

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7 Comments

  1. When you began this post, I couldn’t help an internal sigh at another self help column … but then your writing style AND creative ideas won me over. I loved these little interviews and I’m falling in love with your overall premise!! Plus that first graphic is so perfect, I think I’m in love. Adore your blog x
    Abby | http://www.seafoaming.com

    Liked by 1 person

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