Richard Tate

What does it mean to be an ally?

It’s where those of us in positions of privilege can stand up and show up for those in the minority and are recognised and trusted by that minority, whether a marginalised person or group.

All you really need to be an ally is to genuinely want to learn and understand – really listen to people, ask questions. Share. You may not be able to understand fully what it feels like, but you’re willing to do as much as you can to take their struggle on as your own.

And then show up – privately and in public – to address barriers to fairness and justice for everyone. Use your voice to amplify the voices of those that you are allied to. Always remember, it is not about you. Saying you are an ally is not being an ally.

Privilege isn’t a put down You probably worked incredibly hard to get there. It’s just there are things in life that you won’t really have to worry about or experience just because of who you are.

It’s not going to be a comfortable ride, so be prepared for the journey. And it’s a lifelong journey, building relationships based on trust, consistency and accountability with marginalised individuals or groups.

A good ally will:

  • Listen closely. Learn to be an active listener and listen to learn, not simply to respond. Don’t talk over them.
  • Don’t judge and be willing to share. We can’t expect others to be vulnerable if we aren’t able to be ourselves.
  • Show up and call it out when you see something that’s not right, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Learn about your own biases and acknowledge them (we all have them!). Recognise your own privilege and how you can use it to help others.
  • Believe that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what.
  • Pause for moment before passing judgement. Put yourself in their shoes.
  • Acknowledge that you won’t get it right all the time. Apologise. Listen. Learn. Share.
  • Lift other by advocating and sharing growth opportunities with others.

How do you get involved?

Join the Women in Data movement!

In your own workplace consider working more closely with someone in a minority to learn more and help put you in their shoes. And to help them one day stand in yours.

Have a look through your Twitter or Linkedin feed and see how diverse it is. Maybe think about following a few different voices.

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Richard Tate

Richard hails from Yorkshire originally, and began his career working as a journalist for BBC Radio York, before moving to work for the BBC and then Sky in London. Returning to the BBC, he was tasked with building the Crimewatch website, and it was curiosity over how many people were interacting with it that launched his career in data. Over the last 20 years Richard’s work has included mobile and web analytics at Three UK, global digital and marketing analytics at Telefonica Digital and hardware and software data analytics at Tesco. Originally joining EE, Richard developed a broad data organisation spanning analytics, engineering, decisioning and data science across all BT’s Consumer’s brands before joining the world of sports streaming at global platform DAZN. 

Find Richard on LInkedIn