I’m giving a workshop on “Privilege in Our Society” this weekend at a UU retreat. I mentioned this several months ago and asked for help. Great folks here lead me to Tim Wise, Facing Race, The back-pack metaphor, the computer game metaphor, and much wonderful stuff. Thanks.
Please keep reading for a new opportunity to help.
The two-fold purpose of the workshop is to 1) increase awareness of the imbalances in our society and the many ways that we (the workshop participants) benefit from institutional/structural racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism (is that a word?), cis-ism, able-ism – ways that we don’t even think about or aren’t aware of – and 2) develop a toolbox of actions that we might take, in small ways and large, to help level the playing field, to help make the world more welcoming and more fair to all comers – or at the very least, not to contribute to perpetuating the “–isms”. The goal is to convey this information without loading guilt or blame, but in a positive, “what can we do going forward?” way.
I expect to reach the first goal mostly through exposition, sharing the wonderful materials folks here shared with me and I’ve found in my searches on the ‘net. The second goal I’d like to reach using scenario based role-play or small group discussions. The purpose of this diary is to ask for help in creating such scenarios – and for your thoughts on what tools those of us with privilege should use in everyday life to do this social justice work.
The participants will most likely be white, and are currently 2-1 female-male, mostly straight, and all with at least enough socioeconomic privilege to afford to go to a weekend retreat.
One scenario that I am planning on including goes like this:
After a team brainstorming session you [a male] overhear a female colleague say, “That [Boss man] is such a sexist pig! I’ll never get anywhere here.” You think back over the meeting and realize that every comment she made was ignored or minimized. You realize that some of the ideas were just as good, if not better than, ideas that were included in the “brainstorming” notes and wonder why hers weren’t included. Could she be right? Is the boss ignoring her comments because of her gender? The brainstorming session will resume after lunch. What can you do?The above scenario works for people of color regardless of gender, but as a white woman I'd like to include scenarios for other marginal positions that I have less insight into. For example, I've never understood what the problem is with Transfolk and bathrooms, so I don't know how that scenario plays out -- other than apparently violently far too often. How would I write it up? While Gay White Men have two of the big three of privilege, I know there are post-high school difficulties. What is a good representative one? I spent a couple of years with a cane and a mobility scooter, but I always knew it was temporary, that gives me a different experience. Any one who can contribute a story, or a good response (or even a "don't do this ever!") example, please chime in. I'd like to bring as much diversity to this workshop as possible.
To those that don’t believe white privilege or male privilege, or etc, exist please go to a different diary. This is not the place for that debate. Feel free to write your own diary on that position.