At West Chester University in Pennsylvania, the department of psychology, ethnic studies program and the Dean’s office co-sponsors Progressive Pupil’s Coping with Microaggressions workshop and a screening of the film Black and Cuba featuring a Q&A with Dr. Robin J. Hayes. The programs were spearheaded by Dr. Janet Chang. For more information about how you can bring Progressive Pupil programs to your campus, contact email@example.com.
Many of us women, people of color, and members of the LGBT+ community dread these first few days of the new year. The prospect of returning to campuses, nonprofits or companies where we are isolated, harassed, and blocked from success can be disheartening. In my own life, discrimination fanned the flames of doubt and shame I internalized through living in a society where I rarely saw anyone who looked like me-or loved like me-enjoy professional success.
If you’re steeling yourself against microaggressions, mansplaining, or other inappropriate discriminatory behavior, remember two things.
1. It’s Not You.
Discrimination is not something you can prevent with professional excellence, code switching expertise, or fitting into racial or gendered norms of behavior. It is driven solely by perpetrators’ allegiance to White supremacist, sexist and/or homophobic beliefs. (Whether that allegiance is subconscious is not your concern). Discrimination is illegal precisely because it has nothing to do with your actions.
2. You Are Not Alone.
Chances are you are not the only person at your campus or organization that desires a more inclusive atmosphere. To the extent that your feedback is solicited or you have decision-making authority about diversity-related programs, suggesting more trainings and cultural events might jumpstart the constructive conversations about equality and inclusion your organization needs.
I am hopeful for progress. The more we speak up, the swifter change will come. Happy New Year.
Yours in Solidarity,
It is so easy to focus on the negative right now. To endlessly repeat in our minds everything that is wrong, wrong, wrong about White supremacy, fascism and the deplorable people who hold those ideals dear. It has taken me a minute to quiet my own mind and gain some clarity.
The swastikas brandished in Charlottesville last weekend are no different than those placed in dormitories at The New School last November. The murder of ally Heather Heyer is along the same despicable lines as the killing of Black student Richard Collins on the University of Maryland’s campus. For some time now, White supremacist violence has been resurging. And that is terrifying. I am everything these people hate. So many of my loved ones are everything they want to disappear.
The good news is- as Nobel laureate Toni Morrison pointed out-this outbreak of hate is the quaking desperation of people who are losing. Losing ground. Losing support. Losing power. Even with champions in The White House.
The most important thing we can do now is to raise the already swelling tide of opposition to this latest iteration of fascism. A simple way to help is to invigorate dialogues in our communities that promote equality. Events such as diversity trainings or timely programs for Latino Heritage Month are proven to build compassion and acceptance.
Progressive Pupil offers workshops and programs that can help. If our work is not right for your school, place of worship, or company; please also consider the services of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.
Don’t be alarmed. Be part of the solution.
Bigots can’t win.
Yours with Love and Solidarity,