Why Allyship is Not Enough w/ Kelechi Okafor


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A black square on Instagram doesn’t make you an anti-racist, but there is a path to follow. Welcome to From Woke to Work, the Anti-Racist Journey, a podcast created and hosted by Kamala Avila-Salmon, with the mission to make an impactful dent in people’s understand of how to actually combat racism. Whether you’re an ally ready to take action or a black person with a bunch of ally-related questions, this podcast will draw a clear path for you to follow towards true anti-racism.

This is the penultimate step of our anti-racist journey, and in this episode, Kamala will tackle everything around allyship and why it just isn’t enough. When it comes to being an ally, white people look at it as if it was some sort of badge of honor, that they can even grant to themselves just by “not lynching” black people, basically. But the truth is, effective allyship comes with great discomfort, a lot of work, and big sacrifices. Being an ally means being of service, it means teaming up and proactively conspiring to dismantle the racist nature of our families, education and our overall system. Today, Kamala is joined by Black-British actress and director, public speaker, fierce dancer and athlete, and the Say Your Mind podcast host, Kelechi Okafor, to have a rich and unapologetic discussion around allyship, its limits and what it takes for non-black people to make changes in favor of a more diverse and inclusive society.

Jump straight into:

(00:46) - On the cynical racism of Hollywood and the clear limits of useful allyship - “Feels limited because the ‘ally’ will always retain their privilege.”

(07:45) - The ridiculous hypocrisy of self-proclaimed allies and the nonsensical attempts to censor black people’s voices - “It's no longer about feeling great. And if it is about feeling great, why must the greatness that you feel be at the expense of other people who are usually darker than you?”

(17:51) - Why allyship should never feel too comfortable - “It's full of clowns, as far as I'm concerned, because if we're talking about true allyship, you cannot do that without the willingness to lose something.”

(21:54) - The role of diverse, deep relationship in the anti-racist journey, and why cis white males will difficultly become allies - “These things that I consider from good natured white men who try to help, they lack really an understanding of the complexities and the nuance around just how violent whiteness can be as a construct.”

(30:35) - The huge difference between interrupting versus dismantling racism - “The system is easy because you can remove your emotions from it, go to the place that hurts, your household, because when you can do that, you're indestructible, and then we can take on this whole system together.”

(38:12) - From being performative to becoming a better ally and how to effectively diversify the workplace - “If you're really wanting to go the distance, then this is how you do it, get your energy levels up, because it's not an easy walk.”


Follow Kelechi on Instagram and Twitter

Say Your Mind

Kelechi’s take on the Tiffany Haddish Grammy scandal

Thanks for tuning in! Don’t forget to follow Kamala on Instagram to learn more. Subscribe, rate and share this podcast so more people can find it, let’s spread the word!

From Woke to Work is a show produced and hosted by Kamala Avila-Salmon in partnership with Julian Lewis and TJ Bonaventura at StudioPod. Edited at Nodalab, art by Tommy Gomez, and music produced by davecantrap.

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