Becoming an Ally
Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People
Becoming an Ally is a book for men who want to end sexism, white peope who want to end racism, straight people who want to end heterosexism, able-bodied people who want to end ableism – it is a book for all people who recognize their privilege and want to move toward a more just world by learning to act as allies.
In this accessible and enlightening book, now in its third edition, Anne Bishop examines history, economic and political structures and individual psychology in a search for the origins of racism, sexims, heterosexism, ableism, ageism and all the other forms of oppression that divide us. Becoming an Ally looks for paths to justice and lays out guidelines for becoming allies of oppressed peoples when we are in the privileged role.
Throughout the book, Bishop explores several important questions: Has oppression always been with us, just part of “human nature”? What does individual healing have to do with social justice? What does social justice have to do with individual healing? Why do members of the same oppressed group fight one another, sometimes more viciously than they fight their oppressors? Why do some who experience oppression develop a lifelong commitment to fighting oppression, while others turn around and oppress those with less power?
This third edition offers a greatly expanded discussion of effective approaches to educating allies, meant for teachers of adults, particularly those who teach about diversity, equity and anti-oppression. In this chapter, Bishop examines the ways in which Western culture prevents us from recognizing our roles as members of privileged groups and explores how to challenge this with participatory exercises and group discussion.
Becoming an Ally is available in any bookstore or from Fernwood Publishing. Please support independent bookstores when you can. If you are interested in purchasing a copy signed or inscribed by the author, visit my Etsy shop, Crone Books.
I would strongly recommend finding the third edition if you possibly can but it is only published in Canada.
The second edition of Becoming an Ally is published in the United Kingdom and the United States by Zed Press: https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/becoming-an-ally/
The first edition is published in Australia and New Zealand by Allen and Unwin: https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/books/academic-professional/social-work/Becoming-an-Ally-Anne-Bishop-9781865088860
Text from the back cover of the Australian Edition
“Already I have found myself quoting Anne Bishop’s wisdom: her simple advice is compelling. Right now in Australia she has the power to lead us as we struggle with questions guilt, responsibility and patterns of oppression which are larger than ourselves.”
Rev. Tim Costello, President, Baptist Union of Australia
“Becoming an Ally is a must read for anyone concerned with understanding and challenging the dynamics, forms and sources of oppression–whether it is their own oppression, that of others, or both.”
Bob Mullaly, Head of Social Work at Victoria University, Melbourne
Where does oppression come from? Has it always been with us, just “human nature”? What can we do to change it? What does social justice have to do with individual healing? Why do members of the same oppressed group fight each other, sometimes more viciously than their oppressor? Why do some who experience oppression develop a life-long commitment to fighting oppression, while others turn around and oppress others?
Anne Bishop draws on her many years’ experience in community work to write this feisty and bestselling guide for activists, community workers and welfare workers.
Resources for Ally Education
Becoming an Ally includes a chapter on ally education, with exercises and handouts. The full text is available on this website here.