Image Description: A cellphone with a giant angry emoji/emoticon on the screen, lying on top of a wooden surface.
Mabuhay! If you haven’t already checked out part one, I suggest you give that a listen first, before jumping in. I’m going to build on what I talked about last week, which was in favour of emotions and anger, by discussing this idea of “too much”, which leads into concepts of conflict, abuse, bullying, and oppression (so content warning for all those things).
Here’s the core question for me: When is the expression of emotions and anger considered “too much” in a given context, especially a workshop setting, without perpetuating oppression by policing, silencing, and invalidating people’s trauma and pain? How do we figure that line out? And, if we have that line figured out, what do we do when it’s crossed?
I wonder if this is more a question of ethics than it is anti-oppression– but to me anti-oppression and decolonial thinking is a form of ethics. I just find the ways that this ethics is interpreted or practiced on the daily is so different from one person to the next, from one social group to the next. This gets into complicated territory of “are we gaslighting survivors?” and “are we believing survivors?”, as well as “are we apologizing for abusers?” and “are we scapegoating other survivors as abusers when we don’t ask for evidence or their side of the story?”
Now, before I get deeper into how I would attempt to figure this line out, let me state briefly that, speaking for myself –while encouraging other people, groups, and collectives too– the attempt must be made, because the consequences are dire. I have witnessed harm occur when anger is expressed violently and abusively, and I have witnessed harm occur when anger is expressed and it was arguably not violent or abusive but the backlash towards the expression was violent and abusive. I have witnessed harm occur when people have done nothing and when people have intervened. The stakes are high, and I want to grow and move forward– I want our movements and our campaigns to grow and move forward too.
Want to listen to/read the rest of the video? Please subscribe to my Patreon for $10 per month to gain access to weekly interactive posts where you can ask questions about the creative process and troubleshoot your anti-oppressive workshops. Supporters will also receive a mailed package with print-outs of anti-oppression activities and posters. All funds raised go to healing work among my communities. Original article here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/26851147
- Rhizome Syndrigast Coelacanth Flourishing: https://www.patreon.com/RhizomeSyndrigastCoelacanthFlourishing
- So You’ve Been Publicly Scapegoated: Why We Must Speak Out On Call-out Culture by Katherine Cross: http://feministing.com/2015/04/16/so-youve-been-publicly-scapegoated-why-we-must-speak-out-on-call-out-culture/
- Boundary Setting vs Tone Policing by Miri: https://the-orbit.net/brutereason/2016/03/24/boundary-setting-vs-tone-policing/