Men as Allies’ Discussed

The majority of men are not offenders against women, but rather potential allies.

They simply need the tools to speak up and encourage themselves and others to be allies, according to Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake City, who spoke Tuesday on ?Men as Allies? at the Women?s Resource Center. About 20 people attended.

?Everyone has the potential to be an ally,? Litvack said. ?Being OK with failure is what helps me be an ally. If there?s a situation where I should have said something, but didn?t, I take it as a learning moment, and I make sure I say something the next time.?

An ally is someone who seeks opportunities to use his or her knowledge, personal resources and commitment to help a group of which the person is not a member, Litvack said.

When a man wants to become an ally, he doesn?t need to give up his privilege, but rather share it, Litvack said. He focused on people in ?non target? groups sharing their privilege with those in ?target? groups.

He described a ?non-target? person as someone who is between 30 and 60, Christian, non-disabled, heterosexual, male and white. All others fall into the category of ?target.?

People in the non-target group have privilege, he said. Knowing the language of the people is one of the privileges Litvack discussed.

Litvack addressed the question, ?What do men lose when they become allies??

?It takes courage to take the risk of losing privilege and access to the system,? he said.

Allies need to know how to communicate with those they want to help.

?It?s not knowing English or French or Spanish, but knowing what language people will respond to,? he said.

He cited hate crime legislation in Utah as an example of needing to speak the language of others. An intern who worked for Litvack?and who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?emphasized using language that would ?strike a chord with the legislators,? Litvack said.

Men need to look at the situation of target groups .

?Because I?m white, if I?m running late for work, I don?t need to plan extra time into my day because I?m going to get pulled over,? he said.

Even having the freedom to not worry about such a situation is a privilege, Litvack said.

?If you want to talk to me about sexual assault, you can come to me. But I?ve worked through some of my own sexism. Hopefully, other men are doing some of the work on their own,? he said.

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