N.A.H. Rewind: Top 20 Notes in 2013
As the clock gets closer to the new year, I’m looking back with my own countdown of the Top 20 most visited Notes in 2013.
It’s Superbowl time again. You know what else comes with Superbowl time? The commercials. For years, the super bowl commercials have been a big draw to many. However, sometimes an attempt at marketing can further an idea or belief that contributes to the marginalization of others.
For any of you who might be interested in getting into consulting, and using your passion and skills to work for social justice in an entrepreneurial way, I’m very happy to share this great resource with you: The Social Worker as a Consultant Series.
Yesterday’s note: “Ok, But Where Are You Really From?” highlighted an assumption that can reinforce notions of people of color as being the “other”. I’m appreciative of the dialogue it sparked with some of my social work friends from the United Kingdom via twitter about how stereotypes can put people in “boxes” that don’t really fit.
As a person of color who does not identify as Christian, I’ve come to recognize the power behind that question. There’s power in the assumption, and power to dole out negative consequences depending on the answer, even in communities of color.
Here is a resource I use in engaging and teaching others the skills to foster another, more collaborative kind of communication: Dialogue.
For this person, who was born and raised in the United States, it was as if responding by mentioning the state, hometown, or both just wasn’t enough when recalling one of those experiences.
“Ok, but where are you really from?”
The stresses of life can sometimes cause conflict within us internally, and externally in our work and relationships. Although some things may truly be beyond our control, exercising some control over how we respond can be useful in helping us to deal with, and work through challenging times.
I’m re-posting these from a course I took on Facilitating dialogue for Social Justice. The guidelines below are ones that I found useful in creating a space to establish safe environments for discussing and acknowledging issues of diversity, privilege, and oppression not only in the classroom, but in our daily interactions with others. I try to incorporate them into my work, as well as my life.
“To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word….being a problem is a strange experience, — peculiar even for one who has never been anything else”—W.E.B. Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk.
Social Workers and other social justice advocates can be found serving in a variety of areas, one of which can include doing group work. In my own work with groups, sometimes I encounter the sentiment that group work automatically eradicates experiences of power and privilege, because “everyone is treated the same”.
I found this on tumblr today and I wanted to share it here because I thought it could be both a tool for people of color to use in safe spaces to console each other and process common experiences with racism, as well as a resource for dialogue with people who are white to begin to examine the thought processes behind these statements, as well as their impact on the real lives of the people who hear them.
My experiences have shown me that in the process of working for social justice outwardly, it is also important for me to continue to critically examine myself; shedding attitudes/behaviors that are oppressive, to make room for those that are more inclusive and humanitarian.
Many may be familiar with the last few minutes of his famous final speech given on April 3rd, 1968, but you can listen to the speech in its entirety below.
In terms of beauty and appearance, I still encounter the conscious and unconscious assertion that lighter is better, whiter is better and the closer one is to that ideal, the greater the value they will have in society.
Allies are needed to fight against every type of oppression. We must use our privileges to level the playing field. Just as people of color should not be solely responsible for ending racism, just as people in the LGBTQ community should not be solely responsible for ending homophobia, women should not be solely responsible for ending sexism in its many forms.
Check out this thought-provoking piece on education by poet Suli Breaks.
Are you a person who is passionate about improving the lives of others in some way, and combines that passion with social media? Starting tomorrow, I’m going to begin to answer these questions myself, but I want to hear from you too.
There is room at the table for all of us. Some of these questions are tailored for Social Work, but feel free to change them to suit your own area(s) of interest or service.
For Social Workers, recognition can often be hard to come by. The successes are often private, while failures can often be public. Sometimes, those who are unfamiliar with the profession can be left with a one-dimensional, stereotypical view of who Social Workers are or what they do. Now more than ever, it has become increasingly important to tell our own stories, and there are many Social Workers who have taken to the web to use technology to fulfill this end.
I encourage you to read the article in its entirety because the author goes into more detail about each of these myths, and offers suggestions that could be useful for working against them.
What were your favorites?
Thanks for a great 2013!
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW