OK, Collective effort here (everyone join in): How to avoid being a douche/oppressive when organizing-
(here, I’m gonna start this off with suggestions, and everyone fill in others you go…. lets try to compile a good list here. This is a list for anyone who have privilege)
1. When organizing in communities of color or in any oppressed community, do not go in assuming that YOU know what’s best for that community if you are not from that community. ASK HOW you can help, rather than assuming, and do the work that the community asks you to do w/o complaint.
2. Take time to assess what privilege/power dynamics you have in the group that you are in and in society. If you find yourself in a place of privilege in the group, take the time to step back, and let other people speak. Also, make sure to listen very carefully to those who do not have the same privilege/power that you do.
3. If you are in a place of privilege/power, be aware of the space that you take up. This not only means in physical room, but in energy, conversational space, etc
4. Find ways in which you can make your privilege help others, not just yourself.
5. Do not interrupt others. Allow everyone to speak their full thoughts, even when you do not agree or believe they might have false information, or are not adding in all the information.
6. Do not tone-police
7. Learn about the communities you are organizing with.
8. Realize that there are historical reasons why groups of people that do not share your privilege may not warm up to you instantaneously. You may have to put in extra work for that community to trust you as a person of your privilege.
(add to the list please…)
I would add:
- Do not ignore/avoid dealing with things brought up by members of the community. When people raise a concern, bring an idea to the table, or produce a resource that can benefit the larger group, do not try to hide/subvert it by just acting like it didn’t happen because you think it isn’t relevant to *your* goals or is too difficult to deal with.
- Do not tell the people of color (or other marginalized group) what a great ally you are or how you support them. If you really do support them, you won’t need to verbally say it (in that context) because it will show in your actions and the level of respect you show.
- Be accountable to the community, willing to answer questions/explain why you are doing what you’re doing (this can kinda go back to item 8). , and take responsibility for your mistakes. Understand that you will make mistakes and that there will be misunderstandings that are your responsibility to fix.