Becoming an Anti-Racist Ally is a big step, and it is not a one-time decision. Being an ally means making decisions every day about whether you will stand up, or stay silent.
In Module 3 of Anti-Racism Training​ we will discuss how to be an ally, tone policing, emotional labor, how to have difficult conversations, and how your decisions to become and anti-racist ally can impact your outlook on the world and your relationships.
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facilitated by Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW
Module 3


Important Terms

ALLY- A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group, typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly.

WHITE FRAGILITY- A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.

WHITE EXCEPTIONALISM- The belief that you are “one of the good ones”, and that you are not in need of doing work on the subject of race.

WHITE GUILT- The individual or collective guilt felt by some white people for ways in which they have perpetuated the status quo, causing harm to ethnic minorities.

WHITE SHAME- White shame is the feeling white people might have when they look back at the past and recognize all the harm that has been done for whiteness and by white people to others.


These PDF handouts are a supplemental tool for you to view, download, save, and utilize throughout this training and to use as a guide for continued learning and engaging with others.
**NOTICE** Due to the fact that we now have thousands of participants, it is possible that you may not receive a response to each of your journal entries. I encourage you to use the journals as a tool to process, and the facilitator will work to respond to as many as possible. If you are really struggling with difficult emotions, need help processing, or are in need of emotional or trauma support at any point during this training and you cannot wait for a response to your journal, please email directly. 

White Exceptionalism, White Guilt and Shame

The following clip is from a workshop for white people, focusing on white privilege. Take note of the different terms used, the level of emotion at times, and different stages of acceptance.

Optional Reflection

What are your thoughts about white exceptionalism, guilt, and shame? Have you felt that way? Have you been driven by toxic white guilt? Share your thoughts with the other participants.
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.

Let's Talk Allyship

An ally is someone who advocates for, and alongside, marginalized groups. Being an ally does NOT mean you are "giving  a voice to the voiceless". Everyone has a voice. An ally's role is to help clear away the rest of the noise so that voice can be heard.
The "White Savior" trope is commonplace in film and literature, and unfortunately, it is equally as common in advocacy and activism. This is why it so crucial to always focus on centering those most impacted by racial injustice, and not using anti-racism work to stroke your own ego, leading to misrepresentation and whitewashing of social injustice, and further silencing the voices who should be the loudest.
Becoming an ally to people of color, or if you are a person of color, to another marginalized racial group, means you are moving from perpetuating abuse, into a healthy, supportive relationship, one not focused on you maintaining power over another.

Where are you on the Ally Continuum?

(Brown, 2017)

Optional Reflection

Where do you think you are on the ally continuum? If you are a person of color, you can still become an ant-racist ally to other racially marginalized group. Do you think you already demonstrate allyship? Share with the other participants the ways in which you are already an ally, and ways that you would like to become a stronger one.
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.

Tone-Policing and Emotional Labor

It's definitely time for white people to step-up and carry the emotional burden of anti-racism work to move more white people into allyship. But, there is potential for harm as we talked about with guilt and shame, but also our fear of discomfort. And that's when tone-policing can become a real problem.
The term emotional labor was first used in 1983, when American sociologist Arlie Hochschild wrote about it in her book, The Managed Heart. At the time, Arlie described emotional labor as having to “induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward demeanor or presentation that produces the proper state of mind in others”. In other words, it means keeping tight control over your emotions so that you do not cause discomfort to another. And in anti-racism work, and social justice work in general, people of color have historically carried that burden when trying to explain or have dialogue with a white person. 
Beware of "colorblindness". Colorblindness does not solve racism. Colorblindness just make us feel better about ignoring it. By saying "I don't see race", you minimize the actual lived experiences surrounding race. Yes, racism is a social construct that we created, but we can't just undo it by simply deciding it doesn't exist. Because as we discussed in the last two modules, racism is woven in our structures and institutions, constructed and carefully maintained by narratives and bias. So, even if you say you don't see color, our implicit bias still exists. And so to eradicate racism, we must address it at the root. We can't just pretend it doesn't exist.

How to Engage

Engaging in anti-racism work means moving into allyship, and becoming an ally means that you will begin to encounter new situations, new people, and difficult conversations. You can do this work, but you are going to have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 
Here are some things you must keep in mind while engaging in conversations. When you are engaging in difficult conversations, you must step out of binary thinking, and realize that allyship and anti-racism exist on a continuum. The goal is to pull people forward. 
Your carefully crafted argument with lots of statistics about racism and buzz words might not be as impactful as you think. What changes people is personal connection, not statistics. This is why understanding your own identity is crucial to your ability to engage in difficult conversations. Having a strong understanding of who you are makes you less susceptible to personal attacks, more able to listen to others, and engage with people who come from other ideological beliefs
There are several PDF handouts to help guide you in conversations and intervention in racism. These are tools for you to utilize to prepare for difficult conversations, and some can serve as useful tools to help explain concepts surrounding racism. Also, there is a works cited section at the end of each module, and a works cited PDF in the Anti-Racism drop-down menu. You can share all of those resources with others. Remember, it's ok to lay the groundwork and then to encourage a person to engaging in learning independently by sharing resources.

Optional Reflection

Are you starting to feel more prepared and confident to engage in conversations about race? What do you think about some of the PDF handouts? What thoughts did you have while watching the videos focusing on how to engage others? Share your thoughts with other participants.
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.
Things have Changed 

Optional Reflection

What are some ways you have changed throughout the process of taking this training? Are you feeling anxious about how these changes will impact your relationships?
*Please note that everyone can read forum posts, however you can only create a post if you sign up. If you sign up to post, you will receive email notifications. If you do not wish to receive email notifications, you may click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom of any notification email.
Optional Journal Entry
This journal entry is a chance for you to record your personal thoughts about Module 3. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions or seek clarification from the facilitator on any of the content from Module 3. Your entry will only be visible to you and the training facilitator. 
You must complete the short quiz and the exit survey below to complete the training. One you complete the exit survey a certificate will be auto-generated and emailed to you. PLEASE NOTE- Your name will be printed on the certificate exactly as you type it into the survey form and the certificate will be sent to the email address you provide in the survey form. Please check your spam and junk folders for the certificate if you do not see it in your inbox within 48 hours.

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About the Facilitator:

Ashley Heidebrecht, LMSW

Ashley Heidebrecht has worked in the field of social services for over a decade. She earned her Undergraduate degree in 2008 from Wichita State University.  From 2007 to 2015 she worked as a direct care provider, program coordinator, and community education facilitator at the Mental Health Association of South-Central Kansas (MHASCK). Utilizing creative arts and trauma informed interventions, Ashley provided individual and group community-based services to children, adults, and families diagnosed with a severe emotional disturbance, and created and facilitated multiple workshops and parenting classes.  

In her role of program coordinator at MHASCK, Ashley supervised up to 80 staff with a client base of over 200 children and families, created and provided training for staff and department directors regarding creative therapeutic interventions and mindfulness, and served as the agency safety officer, re-writing safety policy and facilitating drills.  Since leaving that agency in 2015, Ashley has provided case management and trauma support for families recovering from homelessness, and has become active in community organizing and advocacy, particularly surrounding migrant child detention, LGBTQ rights, racial equity, and reproductive rights, and has completed her Master of Social Work degree. 

In 2018 when the policy of migrant family separation and child detention was instituted, Ashley worked in collaboration with many individuals and organizations to fight for an end to that policy and to shut down the migrant child prison in Tornillo, Texas.  Ashley founded the Coalition to End Child Detention, continuing to fight migrant abuse and child detention.


Most recently, Ashley as an MSW intern and then an independent contractor at the Borderland Rainbow Center, served LGBTQ youth and adults in group and individual settings, engaged in casework with the Deaf community, and created and facilitated professional and community trainings. Ashley now serves as the Education and Content Manager for the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso, creating and facilitating training and continuing education rooted in social justice.


Ashley focuses heavily on advocacy and education, providing educational opportunities to improve community awareness and allyship, and engaging in regional and national initiatives to fight discrimination. Ashley is also working to mobilize social workers across the Nation to become more engaged in social justice initiatives.

Works Cited


Crenshaw, K. W. (1994). Mapping the margins. The public nature of private violence, 93-118.

McIntosh, P. (1988). White privilege and male privilege: A personal account of coming to see correspondences through work in women's studies. In M.L. Anderson & P.H. Collins (eds.) Race, class and gender:An  anthology (pp.76-87). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

NBC Workshop Offers Candid Talk on Race

White Savior

White People Enough: A look at power and control

Brown, J. (2017, February 3). When you're tempted to turn off and tune out, read this. Retrieved October 9, 2019, from

Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

How I Learned to Stop Worrying, and Love Discussing Race

Why I Recognize My White Privilege

The Borderland Rainbow Center under sponsor number 7798 has been approved by the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners to offer continuing education contact hours to social workers. The approved status of The Borderland Rainbow Center, Continuing Education Service expires annually on July 31.  If you hold a license in another State or discipline, it is not guaranteed that our content will meet your requirements.  We recommend that you check with your licensing body for any requirements and allowances.
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© 2019 by the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of E Paso.