Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.): Comment Policy

Thank you for your interest in not only reading my posts, but taking the time to make a comment as well. If it’s your first time making a comment, your comment may not appear initially, as it will have to be approved.

Once your first comment is approved, you’ll be able to make comments on any other posts without waiting for them to appear. The topics covered on my blog can be difficult at times, so these are some guidelines that I’ve found useful to keep in mind when engaging in dialogue.

The following Guidelines make up the comment policy of Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.)

1.  We are committed to learning from each other. We acknowledge differences amongst us in skills, interests, values, and experience.

2.  We acknowledge that we all hold conscious and unconscious attitudes and behaviors toward people who are not like/unlike us. We acknowledge that racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and other forms of discrimination (religion, age, ability, language, etc.) exist and are likely to surface from time to time.

3.  We acknowledge that one of the meanings of racism is that we have been systematically taught misinformation about our own group and especially members of devalued groups (this is true for both dominant and dominated group members). The same is true about sexism and other forms of prejudice—we are taught misinformation about ourselves and others.

4.  We will try not to blame people for the misinformation we have learned, but we hold each other responsible for repeating misinformation or offensive behavior after we have learned otherwise. We also hold ourselves responsible for reflecting on what we’ve experienced and learned in the class and apply that to everyday life.

5.  People who are oppressed will not be blamed for their oppression.

6.  We will trust that people are always doing the best they can, both to learn and to behave in non-racist, non-sexist, and multiculturally productive ways.

7.  We will actively pursue opportunities to learn about our own groups and those of others, yet not enter or invade others’ privacy when unwanted. We will let each other sit with their own discomforts, allow them to be uncomfortable, and not “rescue” them.

8.  We will share information about our groups with other community members on the blog, and we will not demean, devalue, or “put down” people for their experiences. We will not treat individuals as “representatives” of their social identities; each person speaks as an individual and not for their entire group.

9.  We each have an obligation to actively challenge the myths and stereotypes about our own groups and other groups so that we can break down the walls that prohibit group cooperation and group gain.

10. We want to create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.

11. We agree to challenge the idea and not the person. Speak your discomfort effectively and with ahimsa. We will not take things personally, but we understand that we may be personally affected.

12. We agree to provide room for constructive dialogue, and we acknowledge that this will be challenging. Also, we agree to foster an atmosphere that is inclusive. This means we are responsible to monitor our own participation while also being aware of others’. We will think about “checking in” periodically to help us with this process.

13. We agree to actively listen. We will be present, engaged, and open to where the dialogue may lead even if it takes a new or different direction than the planned topic. At the same time, we will be aware of conscious or unconscious attempts to avoid topics that we find challenging or uncomfortable.

14. We will support each other and ourselves during our learning process, but we will not put any burden on targeted groups.

15. We agree to deal with conflict constructively and in a respectful manner.

16. If a guideline is broken, we will handle it as we do any other conflict – constructively and respectfully. Resolution has no room for grudges.

Adapted from those developed by Dr. Ruby Beale at the University of Michigan.

Modified by Relando Thompkins, MSW for the Blog: Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.).



Get New Notes in Your Inbox

Enter your email address to have new notes delivered to your inbox.

Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. kinden says:

    Thanks for this comment policy. I am going to bring this to our little group (Students Taking Action Against Racism). It is also a good policy for a classroom. I appreciate your sharing.

    • Thanks for stopping by Kinden. I’m glad that you think the guidelines can have some impact. I first learned them when I took a class myself on facilitating dialogues for social justice. I hope they prove helpful to you and your group as well.

  1. January 28, 2015

    […] Comment Policy N.A.H. (Relando Thompkins, MSW) […]

  2. August 14, 2020

    […] Comment Policy […]

Share Your Thoughts: Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: