February 13, 2010

Home training in minority spaces

"A Deeper Look at Minority Spaces" at Official Shrub.com:
The role of a privileged person in a minority discussion is not one that is easy to define. The reason I emphasise the “listening instead of talking” and not trying to always compare a privileged situation to that of a minority problem in my list is because, more often than not, talking instead of listening and bringing up how an issue does/does not affect their group are methods used by privileged people that, by their nature, shut down discussion.
At Love|Peace|Ohana:

"What Kind of Friend Are You?"
“who wins?” That’s your problem right there. This isn’t about winning or losing. This is about you having said something that offends/hurts someone else, and whether you’re going to continue offending/hurting them by arguing about the offense, or whether you’re going to apologise and attempt to make amends. In short, whether you’re going to be hostile or friendly.
"Ground Rules for Discussion"
*Listen actively.* This means more than just waiting for your turn to speak; it means asking for clarification, offering constructive feedback, and validating what someone has said. It also means reading the post and commenting on the actual content, instead of skimming and filling in the rest with what you think was said.

Dialogue vs. Debate

"Race Relations 101 - What if I screw up?"
When that happens in a minority space or in the context of a difficult conversation, take a step back: ask yourself whether you’re feeling attacked because of the conversation (“White people have white privilege, and as a white person, you do too.”), or because of a specific incident (“You’re an asshole.”). If it’s the latter, take it like you would any other confrontation; deal with the person and the situation, and don’t let it color your perceptions of other people in their identity class, or discussions of that type.
If it’s the former, keep talking. Specific thoughts on how to deal with topics that come up will have to wait for later, I’m afraid… but the important part is to recognize that you personally are not being attacked, which brings us to…
 "For everyone who wants to 'learn' something about racism":
You say you want to be educated, to listen, to learn. My question is:

what are you bringing to the table in return?

Do you expect for folks to dredge up their memories and experience and lay them out like a banquet where you eat, then burp and possibly don't say anything beyond 'thank you, that was nice. What's for dessert?'

Do you leave the table, digesting what you've heard, then go out in the world and try to make change?

Hint: crying and feeling bad really don't cut it, IMO. I'm liable to hand you some tissues and that's about it.

1 comment:

  1. Damn, you're nice. I wouldn't even give them tissues because I'm fed up with White folks' croc tears. I'll just give them the Ed Lover Face and walk away. And that's if I even bother to engage them at all.