At Evolve we love to keep things simple and memorable. We put our heads together to think about what was key to successful relationships and communications. And from this the R3 Culture® approach emerged – a simple 3 step approach – Reflect, Relate, Reconcile. We explore now how you can use this approach to become an ally.
REFLECT – Pause! Quickly identify the issue
RELATE – Ask yourself how the other person might feel
RECONCILE – Agree on a way forward TOGETHER
STEP 1 – REFLECT
Understand my privilege. This is the most practical thing I can do to support others and basically be a better person. Every day I experience an advantage or right that I have that others do not enjoy, just because of the colour of my skin. My learning about privilege is lifelong.
A very simple example of this is having a credit card. Countless times I’ve been called late at night by a distressed team or community member where the hotel is refusing check in as they do not have a credit card.. Having a credit card is a privilege, as simple as that sounds.
Guilt or shame is the #1 enemy of allyship. I have had no choice about being born white. However, I do have a choice about becoming aware of my privilege and finding out what I can do to support others who don’t have the same privileges. Of course, its then about taking appropriate action.
STEP 2 – RELATE
Listen and learn! There is so much information out there – social media, tv, movies, books. The more you learn the more you can relate and put yourself in another person’s shoes. You can drop all assumptions, be more conscious of your cultural baggage, sit down and listen. A beautiful expression I heard when I was working in Central Australia was “Can they bend at the knees?”. Can you bend at the knees, sit down, and truly listen?
STEP 3 – RECONCILE
The final step is to work out a solution with the other person. In the case of allyship, learn as much as you can, and then ask how you can support.
For example, just say you are welcoming a new Aboriginal team member from interstate. Find out from your workplace what support is available (for example cultural leave). Meet with your new team member and ask them what support they might need for their success and comfort at work – including after-hours support such as making sure they know how to get to and from work. And then most importantly take action – DO whatever you commit to.
Speak up, interrupt racism where you can, but never speak over or for. Remember that we all learn from our mistakes. You will make mistakes. But as Aunty Munya says, it is about our impact not intent – so be quick to own your mistakes and repeat the 3Rs – Reflect. Relate. Reconcile.
So there you have it. An approach that you can use anywhere and that is hard to forget. Reflect. Relate. Reconcile. And before I leave you, I pose a challenge…What is one thing you will do in the next week as an ally and towards reconciliation?
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