Becoming an Ally, 3rd Edition

Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People

by Anne Bishop  

Anne Bishop confronts the question of oppression head on by drawing on her own experience both as an oppressed person as an oppressor. She tells us the we learn to be oppressors from our own oppression.

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  • June 2015
  • ISBN: 9781552667231
  • 208 pages
  • $30.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB May 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773633343
  • $29.99
  • For sale worldwide
  • PDF May 2020
  • ISBN: 9781773633350
  • $29.99
  • For sale worldwide

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About the book

Becoming an Ally is a book for men who want to end sexism, white people who want to end racism, straight people who want to end heterosexism, able-bodied people who want to end ableism — for all people who recognize their privilege and want to move toward a more just world by learning to act as allies.

Has oppression always been with us, just part of “human nature”? What does individual healing have to do with social justice? What does social justice have to do with individual healing? Why do members of the same oppressed group fight one another, sometimes more viciously than they fight their oppressors? Why do some who experience oppression develop a life-long commitment to fighting oppression, while others turn around and oppress those with less power?

In this accessible and enlightening book, now in its third edition, Anne Bishop examines history, economic and political structures, and individual psychology in a search for the origins of racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism and all the other forms of oppression that divide us. Becoming an Ally looks for paths to justice and lays out guidelines for becoming allies of oppressed peoples when we are in the privileged role.

A new chapter in this third edition offers a greatly expanded discussion of effective approaches to educating allies, which is meant for teachers of adults, particularly those who teach about diversity, equity and anti-oppression. In this chapter, Bishop examines the ways in which Western culture prevents us from recognizing our roles as members of privileged groups and explores how to challenge this with participatory exercises and group discussion.

Activism & Social Movements Class Inequality Race & Anti-Racism Social Work


Anne Bishop

Anne Bishop has been an activist for four decades in organizations dedicated to local, international, environmental, food, fibre and LGBT justice. She is the co author of five books and author of two: Becoming an Ally: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in People and Beyond Token Change: Breaking the Cycle of Oppression in Institutions.


  • Big Words
  • Preface to the Third Edition
  • Preface to the First Edition
  • Why Write a Book About Becoming an Ally?
  • Step 1: Understanding Oppression — How did it come about?
  • A Journal Entry: “They Wouldn’t be Able to Pick Us Off One by One”
  • Step 1: Understanding Oppression — How Is It Held in Place?
  • Morality, Duty and Being True to Yourself
  • Step 1: Understanding Oppression — The Personal Is Political—A Story: Racism and Sexism
  • A Story: Racism and Sexism
  • Step 2: Understanding Different Oppressions
  • Two Quotes: Breaking Silences, Healing
  • Step 3: Consciousness and Healing
  • Step 4: Becoming a Worker in Your Own Liberation
  • Journal Entry: Racism and Sexism
  • Step 5: Becoming an Ally
  • A Journal Entry: How Not To Be An Ally: An Open Letter to the Young Man who Spoke at Our Memorial Rally on December 6th
  • Notes on Educating Allies
  • Step 6: Maintaining Hope
  • Glossary
  • Appendix: Toolkit
  • References
  • Index


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