Have you ever been in a situation where you’re in no way related to an issue being debated? Or have you ever spoken on an issue that you know nothing about and have done no research on?
Chances are, if you’ve done these, you are in serious need of learning to stay in your lane. With this quick and easy guide, you’ll be a lane-stayer pro in no time.
Step One: Recognize whether or not you have a relation to the issue being discussed
This is also known as Check Your Privilege. Let’s say there is a riveting conversation being had about transgender representation in the media. How exciting! The discussion dies down for a second and you think it will be the perfect time to express your opinion, which is that transgender people already have enough representation and should be happy with that they have. But think again!
This is a good moment to enact the first step. As this is a conversation about transgender representation in the media, it is thus a trans issue. Time to check your privilege! And one, two, three… You are cisgender! Wow! What a conclusion to come to! Since it appears that you have absolutely no relation to this topic, it is recommended that you Stay in Your Lane.
Step Two: Educate yourself
Now, make sure you are completely focused as this is an important and often overlooked step. A good way to become educated on these issues is to listen to those with the experience. For example, listen to what people of color have to say about racism and race issues. I think you’ll find what they say to be 100 percent authentic and organic. How intriguing!
Listening is a very important skill that you must master in order to be a better ally. Not only will you become more open-minded, but you will also have a more realistic grip on these matters. Astonishing! Educating yourself is the next step in learning to Stay in Your Lane.
Step Three: Assess the situation
You are almost ready to go out into the world and enact the Stay in Your Lane technique! But one final step you must follow is assessing the situation. It is important to note that there are certain situations in which you, an ally, are allowed to momentarily leave your lane. These are very specific exceptions to the rule; which must be handled carefully and thoughtfully.
For example, imagine you are in a conversation with other able-bodied people about people with disabilities. Everyone in this discussion has disclosed the fact that they do not have a disability, including yourself. The exception to Staying in Your Lane would be to enter the discussion having prior knowledge on people with disabilities and having listened to their experiences. You would then inform the other participants of this conversation about the different perspectives from a spectrum of people with disabilities. Here, you are effectively amplifying the voices of people with the experiences. As long as you do not add your own opinion to the mix, and if online, you perhaps provide resources and links to the people you mention, you will have successfully acted in accordance with the Stay in Your Lane technique while being a good ally. Exquisite!
You have now learned how to Stay in Your Lane. If you remember these three steps, you will be the best ally you can be!