From:   Richard S. <>
Sent time:   Saturday, October 22, 2011 11:50:46 PM
To:   september17 <>
Subject:   [september17discuss] Re: On racism, sexism, oppression

The aspects of privilege that might influence someone's behavior in

the way described below include a lot more than just whether somebody

is "white" or a "dude." Economic-class privilege is another thing,

and, in general, consider someone's success and station in life

outside of the given activist group or world, etc.


It might be a good idea to pass out information or have discussions

that would discourage people from engaging in self-superior(?)

behavior, but I don't think doing something such as deliberately

picking non-white facilitators is going to solve this problem of the

behavior that you describe. (It doesn't seem to me as though that

"solution" really connects to the problem. Though I have no personal

problem with deliberately aiming to pick someone other than the "white

dude" if people think that's a good idea. Personally, facilitation is

a chore that I myself would never want anyway, especially not in front

of a large group.)


Also, regarding people denying accusations of racism... There

actually are sometimes situations in which somebody will accuse

somebody else of racism when it isn't really the case. Especially if

it's not an overt thing with somebody using racist words, etc. When a

group's sensitivities in these areas are heightened, sometimes people

might be a bit quick to jump to conclusions, or to believe somebody

who maybe has a personal agenda and is aiming to discredit someone

else. Or maybe there are other reasons behind the dynamic that you

see in a particular situation. Same applies re. sexism. (Is somebody

who seems aggressive in a situation always so? Or has something else

occurred that you don't know about that made that person particularly

angry? Also, by the way, sometimes it is the more privileged people

who can appear less rude or uncouth - those are the smooth

manipulators.) So, I would say, don't assume in advance that somebody

who denies a charge of being racist (or whatever) really is and that

the denial must automatically be considered false. People should have

an open mind when discussing such accusations and it would be nice to

have a process through which they can be addressed fairly, with all

sides heard.





On Oct 22, 10:48 pm, rob hollander <> wrote:

> 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?

> rob










> 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?


> > Solidarity,


> > Jon


> --

> Rob Hollander

> Lower East Side Residents for Responsible Development

> 622 E 11, #10

> NYC, 10009

> 212-228-6152