Long Division. The study of government, like the government itself, is in a tight spot. In 2009, during a vote on a House appropriations bill, Tom Coburn, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, tried to abolish the National Science Foundation’s Political Science Program, which supports academic research in “citizenship, government, and politics.” The motion was tabled after the American Political Science Association staged a same-day e-mail campaign to oppose it. Last year, the measure met with success in the House; House members who have few qualms about closing the Centers for Disease Control are not, generally speaking, daunted by the prospect of stifling the pursuit of social science. And, earlier this year, when Coburn re-introduced his amendment in the Senate, it passed with no more quibbling than the addition of a proviso that some political science could be funded: research whose purpose is “promoting national security or the economic interests of the United States.”
What makes effective white allies? Training, not shaming. It’s not a new idea to access training as a way to strengthen white people’s ability to be allies of people of color. In the 1970’s some of us brought to the world of direct action training a session designed to support everyone to move beyond racial and gender oppression. For example, during an all-day training before a planned action one of the modules would address oppressive dynamics that show up among activists. Not a bad idea, but I for one didn’t understand then how deeply racism and other oppressions were embedded within us. It turned out that the road to liberation would be a long one, not only for the larger society where oppression is actively supported by the economic structure, but even among white social change groups deeply committed to justice.
For me, as a member of a largely white climate justice group, the good news is direct education helps us grow beyond white supremacy. Grab the opportunities At our best, activists stay nimble. Safe Space | Vibrations Coaching. Creating a Safe Space for Inner Work Inner work is a form of learning, a form of exploring, a form of play. In order to do any of these things, we must be able to feel safe. That means that we must be able to find or create a space in which we know we can fully relax and completely focus on what we are doing. Physical Space Physically, the best space is one where we can withdraw from others. Preferably, there are walls and doors that can be closed to shield us, and sudden noises won’t penetrate the space. Because these circumstances can be difficult to obtain, we aim for what we can get. When working out of doors, it can be helpful to imagine or draw a circle around you, with the intention of it keeping you safe.
Clearing the Space This space you have chosen to work in, the room or the circle, needs to be cleared of energies that are not helpful for your work. First, allow yourself to connect to the energy of the space. Making the Space Sacred Other Resources. Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence - Christina B. Hanhardt. Calling IN: A Less Disposable Way of Holding Each Other Accountable. By Ngọc Loan Trần I started having conversations on this practice of “calling in” after attending Race Forward’s Facing Race Conference in Baltimore, MD in 2012. Facing Race was a gathering of thousands of people working on advancing racial justice.
The space was full of energy, commitment, and a ride-or-die-and-put-it-all-on-the-line mentality for making sure we’ve got our bases covered in this fight against racism and dismantling white supremacy. What happens when thousands of people who all “get it” come together and everyone knows something about “the work”? We lose all compassion for each other. All of it. I witnessed all types of fucked up behavior and the culture that we have created to respond to said fucked up behavior.
Most of us know the drill. But what happens when that someone is a person we know — and love? And what does it mean for our work to rely on how we have been programmed to punish people for their mistakes? (continued below) So, what exactly is “calling in”?