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How to Spot and Deal with a Fake Ally

How to Spot and Deal with a Fake Ally

Dec 25, 2020

Image by @miskiwareegto
Image alt: A meme of a Black Woman astounded by the audacity of this supposed white woman "ally" expressing her dismay about another individual who, likely, called her out on her fake ally bullshit, "she was literally so rude to me, such a nasty attitude and mean spirit, so aggressive, I can't believe she was so mean to me"

This meme seriously hit home because this has happened to me.

It hurts to find out that someone you thought you had camaraderie with doesn't actually have your back.

They preach peace, love, and civility when encountering someone whose beliefs and actions have notoriously caused harm, especially toward those who are part of a marginalized group.

(Disclaimer: this guy isn't actually a friend. Just some centrist tech guy with a significant following.)

Why should I be nice to someone who clearly does not respect me and is in support to impede upon and/or take away my rights as a human, a citizen of the USA, and as a developer in tech?

To quote "Hamilton"

"I'd rather be divisive than indecisive, drop the niceties".

Fake allies preach kindness, even though it is apparent that kindness has already left the chat.

The opposing side has never paid any mind to marginalized groups, and tend to disregard us when "thinking of the future" and "scalability". This is why those in the Disabled Community are furious about abelists constantly iterating on the products that have zero regard for accessibility: they do not hear us. They do not care for us. They only care about their "ideal" or "target" consumers.

This is why nazis and white supremacists still run rampant, especially around the bird app.

Fake allies expect that all sides will listen to someone like me-- and they won't.

They'll block my friends, but they won't block me because I am not someone of note. I am but a brown smudge that can simply be wiped away at an instant because I never mattered to them in the first place.

(Although this person explicitly expressed her stance on how she feels about Trans people and others who don't look like her-- she is definitely not an ally whatsoever.)

Let it be known that those who don't "believe" in the divide are doing just as much harm as those who are more forward about their disinterest of those who are different.

To be in denial of the situation at hand is to be willingly ignorant.

To be willingly ignorant means you are blocking the problems and challenges others face.

Issues pitting marginalized folks behind an advancement wall or under the glass ceiling still exist.

Those in denial only exacerbate this issue and need to be reminded that this fight is far from over. This fight will not be remedied by niceties and civility.

I'm all for world peace, but to strive for that comes with a hefty cost to your personal comfort: to educate or even eliminate those who oppose the efforts toward the goal.

What that would look like in the tech sphere is a different post for another time.

What do I do when I see a fake ally doing fake ally bullshit?

If you consider them a friend, take it up in the DMs. It may be the most "civil" route you can go, honestly.

If their DMs are closed and/or they are being belligerent about their stance, then definitely hash it out in the replies.

They may run by blocking you and/or deleting their account completely.

That means that they are not ready for change.

That means they are content being complicit.

At that point, it's best to break any ties with that person because they would rather prioritize their own comfort than seek substantial change.

But whatever you do, do not block them-- unless they are seriously affecting your mental health.

They may pull their bullshit again, thus opening up another chance for change.

I understand that these are harsh claims about someone else.

A fake ally may deny any of this as their beliefs. Understand that recognizing flaws and mistakes, admitting that you were wrong, and accepting that you've been the "bad guy" all along is extremely uncomfortable. I get it. You have to internalize that discomfort, recognize that you have made mistakes and your (hopefully previous) beliefs are fucked up.

But there's always room to grow and improve.

Always iterate and refactor.

Thank you for reading!

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