Bad Ally Quiz
The topic of bad “allies” has come up a lot lately. Some people want to know how to identify bad allies. Others want to know if they are being bad allies. Below is a list of common issues in the ever popular internet quiz style to help you determine if yourself or someone else might be a bad ally.
This is not about any one specific person. It is a collection of issues myself and others have seen repeatedly from people claiming to be allies. If you take this personally or think it’s about you, you might just be a bad ally.
So come one, come all, and take the bad ally quiz! The points are mostly made up, but they sure do matter!
Give yourself points for each item that applies, even if it only applies sometimes. Items without a specified value are worth 1 point. For points assigned “per incident,” count all incidents from the last year. Be honest.
- Do you spend a lot of time telling people what a “good ally” you are?
- Do you claim that you never make mistakes or act in an oppressive way?
- Do you complain about spaces that only allow members of an oppressed group because you cannot be involved?
- Do you use patronizing language (e.g. referring to an adult as a child) when speaking with or about people in the group you are allied to? (20 points per incident)
- Do you use slurs when speaking with or about people in the group you are allied to? (1000 points per incident).
Interactions with the people you are allied with
- Do you demand that people educate you (instead of seeking to educate yourself)?
- Do you demand they give you time or attention (e.g. expecting advice on demand, requesting they give you personalized reviews of articles)?
- Do you tell them to fix a specific issue because they are part of a group (e.g. demanding they speak at a conference, insisting they write a post on a specific topic)? (10 points per incident)
- Do you tell them how to speak or behave?
- Do you tone police (e.g. telling them to be nicer, “you’ll catch more flies with honey”)?
- Do you concern troll?
- Do you accuse people of overreacting, being too sensitive, or blowing things out of proportion?
- Do you only ally yourself with members of the group who fit your idea of a “model minority” (look, act, and/or behave a certain way) or who agree with you?
- Do you treat the group like a monolith (i.e. assume they all think and act the same way and want the same things)?
- Do you dismiss their personal experiences?
- Do you tell them what tactics to use when fighting oppression?
- Do you use other members of the group to validate your behavior (e.g. I have a black friend, I’m married to a woman)?
- Do you demand praise or acknowledgment of your allyship or specific acts as an ally?
- Do you tend to dominate conversations instead of letting others speak?
- Do you play “devil’s advocate” when discussing issues important to them?
- Do you ask people about sensitive issues (e.g. assault, genitalia, sexuality)? (10 points)
- Do you push or disrespect their boundaries (e.g. continuing a conversation when asked to stop, touching someone without permission)? (30 points per incident).
- Have members of the group you are allied with called you a bad ally or said you were not an ally at all? (100 points per incident)
- Have you mentioned your status as an ally when called out on mistakes or bad behavior? (5 points per incident)
- Do you try to play off mistakes as a joke? (10 points)
- Do you act defensively when called out on mistakes or bad behavior? (5 points)
- Do you get angry and lash out when called out on mistakes or bad behavior? (20 points per incident)
- Do you make the same mistakes over and over again? (10 points)
- Do you fail to evaluate and understand your privilege?
- Do you laugh at jokes at the expense of the group you are allied with?
- Do you make jokes at the expense of the group you are allied with? (10 points) Frequently? (100 points)
- Do you sit quietly by when others say or do things that harm the group you are allied with?
- Are you only a fair weather ally (i.e. you only help when things are easy or benefit you)? (20 points)
- Do you only call out bad behavior when someone is around to see it and provide you with praise for doing so?
- Do you spend more time speaking for an oppressed group than listening to them or promoting their words?
- Do you frequently speak/write/present about the oppressed group without first suggesting that a program/publication/event/etc. speak to members of that group instead? (10 points per incident)
- Do you take credit for the work of members of the group you are allied with? (10 points per incident) Without also giving them credit? (100 points per incident) While claiming they did not do the work? (1000 points per incident)
- Do you do things that actively harm members of the group you are allied with? (100 points per incident) Intentionally? (1000 points per incident)
The higher your score, the less frequently you act as a good ally. Higher scores indicate you are probably not an ally at all. Below are some arbitrary scoring breakdowns I came up with.
- 0-1: Either you’re an amazingly awesome ally or you lied on the quiz. The latter seems more likely – shame on you.
- 2-10: You’re doing a pretty good job, but remember that being an ally is an ongoing process, so you should continue to work hard.
- 11-24: You’re making some mistakes and have room for improvement, but you are making good progress.
- 25-49: You make a lot of mistakes, but might still act as an ally at times. You have a lot of room to improve. You should spend more time educating yourself.
- 50-99: You are rarely or never an ally, but might be able to start developing your skills if you’re willing to work hard. You need to spend a lot of time on educating yourself.
- 100+: You’re not ready to be an ally. Stop claiming you are. Go educate yourself.
- 1000+: You’re not even close to being an ally. In fact, you’re probably actively harming members of the group you’re supposedly allied with. STOP IT. Work on improving asap.
- 5000+: You’re not an ally. You’re a shitty human being. What the fuck is wrong with you?