From:   rob hollander <>
Sent time:   Saturday, October 22, 2011 8:48:46 PM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] On racism, sexism, oppression

Might start by having non white facilitators/stack keepers etc. at the GA. The facilitators etc. at the handful of GA's I've attended have been 100% white. Is that a misleading characterization?

On Sat, Oct 22, 2011 at 10:33 PM, Jon Good <> wrote:
To me, the most insidious part of privilege and institutional oppression is that those committing oppression don't even know they're doing it.   I'm not excusing this behavior but am trying to name it, as it's a BIG problem at Liberty Plaza (not to mention in the rest of the world).  When folks in positions of privilege interrupt or talk over others, or use their physical stature to enforce the point they're making, or just think that , they don't understand that people from less privilege backgrounds have a lot more social pressure not to interrupt, not to be overbearing, and not to offer their opinions on absolutely fucking everything. Or that the ways which white dudes act is not necessarily the way that everyone should act. 

So how can we address this problem?  Should we start every GA with a 2-minute crash course on practical ways to curb your privilege and oppression?  Make pamphlets and distribute them constantly? Have announcements over the human mic several times a day?  Keep on ignoring the people who try and bring it up for serious discussion?

Almost everybody (perhaps, 99%?) is well-meaning and doesn't *want* to be racist, but when they're called out for acting racist,* their typical response is "that's bullshit! I'm not racist!" which is about the most frustrating thing they could possibly say.  In my experience (granted, it's as a white, cisgendered male), I've had success bridging the gap between intention and understanding by leading with "That thing X that you just did was racist/sexist/homophobic because of Y and Z", like rubbing a dog's nose in the steaming, racist turd it just did on your carpet.  I understand, however, that I have the privilege of having little emotional and societal stress on me because I'm not the object of that racism.  

Anyhow, I agree with Shaista and the others (forgive me for not remembering who) that are saying that we need to deal with this problem seriously, and I would be super, super enthusiastic in pitching in with efforts to undermine, attenuate, and/or stop this shit from happening. (I fully acknowledge the possibility that the best way for me to help would be to not talk so much, and if so, I will remain equally enthusiastic about shutting the hell up).

And as far as overt, deliberate, intentional racism, will somebody get that guy handing out the "Wall St. Jews" flyers out of the fucking park?



Rob Hollander
Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development
622 E 11, #10
NYC, 10009