Shutting up: A social justice tool

14 Mar

I love when people send me web stuff they find inspiring or useful in the work of increasing equity, inclusion and justice in the world. All too often, they’ll preface the share with “You’ve probably already seen this…” as if reading or watching social justice resources again is a waste of time (especially when compared to all the other web stuff I crawl through every day). Whether I have or haven’t actually seen it before, I’m always grateful for the send.

Here, I’d like to share two awesome posts that have recently come my way:

I found myself nodding (and laughing) at the convergence of these articles, which are both about how privilege matters and impacts others even when the privileged have the best of intentions. Useful takeaways for me, mutually stated by Robot Hugs and Utt-recycling-McKenzie:

  • “Shut up and listen.” (Collective gasp–can you say that? Isn’t social justice about everyone’s voice being heard? Yes. Key word: everyone’s.)
  • “Stop thinking of ‘ally’ as a noun. Being an ally isn’t a status. The moment that we decide ‘I’m an ally,’ we’re in trouble.” It’s just like “inclusion,” “equity” and “justice”–those aren’t states of being: they’re processes.
  • “Learn from screwing up.” Tough, no? But what else can we do when, as Robot Hugs puts it, “I will screw up sometimes; I will be thoughtless, misinformed, aggressive or unkind”? Accept it? Heck yes! And then, “I will listen when people call me out on it, and figure out how I can avoid screwing up again.” I know, I know. I still cringe when say or do something that has an impact I didn’t (and sometimes did) intend. And I always will. The question is what I do next, including nothing.

** Thanks to my colleagues MB and NS for sharing these fun, educational and accessible resources!

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