solutions list?


recently, after fuck you list came out there was some back and forth about whether or not it was actually just a useless catharsis to create a fuck you list or if i should instead be using my time to create a “solutions” list.

upon reflection i figured perhaps one way i could help the commenter out is talk about some of the things i am currently working on to be a better ally for different communities that i am not necessarily a part of.

1. watch my language. don’t use the word “lame,” it was originally used as a derogatory word for many people with disabilities. don’t use the word “retard” or “retarded” it’s, for obvious reasons, hugely offensive.

2. read a book or google it before you ask the question. this one i think is really important ESPECIALLY for white folks. if you don’t understand a historical reference, a cultural reference, something that seems community specific. do not approach the first person of color you see or somewhat know. utilize the world wide web and educate yourself about the issue. if you have a well-developed relationship with a person of color after doing such research consider asking them for clarification. i know i sometimes stumble on issues like this specifically around what language to use with people with disabilities. so i google it, read about it, think about it and then if there is still further confusion use workshop spaces as a place to make those mistakes when people are there for the specific reason to help me work through my questions and confusion.

3. constantly check myself/privilege. i am constantly trying to think of how my different privileges effect the type of space i am creating or conversation i am having or relationship i am building. specifically when i think about the campus stuff i do, i try and make sure that i am not taking over spaces unnecessarily or with fucked up reasons behind it.

4. work really hard. i spend my summers working at places that i’m invested in like the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Center for Progressive Leadership, Choice USA, and others. When on campus i work hard in the campus groups i care about. i hope that my work, more than a blog ever could, speaks to my dedication to finding solutions.

5. so do something! reading blogs isn’t enough. do some reading, form some ideas, think about creative ways to effect change in your community and then do your best to do it in an accountable way. but you really can’t wait around expecting others to write a list for you.

6. grab a mirror. if you read a list, or diatribe, or scathing piece about privilege make sure you check yourself to make sure you aren’t actually replicating those fucked up systems of oppression over.

and then maybe… if for example: someone read a “fuck you list,” realized something they did in their everyday life was kinda fucked up and marginalized a bunch of people, and then looked in the mirror and decided to change that action, and then took a pro-active position to get others to change it too… then maybe the “fuck you list” did something?


2 Responses to “solutions list?”

  1. 1 elizahecht

    Here’s my two cents:

    Read the paper. Educate yourself. Care about your fellow human beings. Listen when others tell you a story. Truly hear what people have to say. Be open to ideas that are not your own or fed to you. Be respectful of those who didn’t get our $50,000 education and who may not know the PC buzzwords that come with it. Channel energy into positive routes as often as possible. Do little things to make another person’s day. Remember to be a citizen of humanity.

  2. 2 queerswatty

    I think #3 is a very admirable goal, but I think the focus on positions of privilege has the danger of ignoring real forms of marginalization that affect different people. In particular at Swarthmore, the focus on privilege within the queer community seems to ignore the lived experiences of queer students (especially gay males) from privileged, white communities. Often, in these communities it is the perceived/actual gay boys who feel the most prejudice and violence. However, I believe some of the agenda setting within the queer community at Swat excludes/undervalues those experiences because they are soo mainstream LGBT and are “always” the focus. Anyone who attended the Sager Symposium learned of the persistent exclusion in the mainstream LGBT movement of voices of color, the disabled, and the underprivileged. These are important criticisms, but a truly inclusive queer movement does not take these as justification to undervalue other experiences of prejudice. It requires empathy and bridge-building.

    Therefore, I think #3 ought to really be about figuring out the best way to facilitate productive, INCLUSIVE, and anti-oppressive spaces for discourse. This includes an understanding of how privilege works, while not forgetting that different aspects of ones identity do not always mean they feel the same power/privilege you hold them to.

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