Invitation to a workshop, “Toward Constructively Addressing Bias”

Saturday December 3, 4-6pm (early arrival suggested)
Followed by an optional potluck dinner for those who wish to remain after and continue hanging out and challenging oppressive systems.

At Maitri House
This workshop will last about 2 hours.  It will be interaction driven after a short discussion of principles, and will work best with everyone’s full engagement. If possible, please come 5-15 minutes early to get comfy and have already eaten and taken care of other needs.  Come with a situation in mind that you might want to role-play, or at least think about.

Toward Constructively Addressing Bias
In order to build coalitions, be effective activists, and work toward a just society, we need to constructively address the biases towards various identity groups that we, our colleagues, and our organizations have internalized. When someone makes a comment or acts in a way that we perceive as incorporating racism, classism, sexism, or other biases, or “otherizing” people, how do we react constructively? Often, our initial reaction may be internal: perhaps discomfort, upset, or a sense of awkwardness. We may remain outwardly silent or internally upset, but never come to feel resolution about the situation. Speaking up and not “otherizing” in return can feel especially challenging when we notice our own biases, encounter bias within our own coalitions, and when in dialogue with those not in support of our vision of a more just society. In this interactive workshop, we will practice explicitly addressing potentially biased actions and statements in order to move in the direction of greater confidence and ease about doing so. In this workshop, we will use role-play to explore situations from participants’ experience or imagination, and these same situations will illustrate the theory behind non-defensively addressing bias. Come with a situation in mind that you might want to role-play!

Facilitator Bio
Ryan McAllister has struggled with internalized biases and with how to react to the external systems, memes, and social habits that perpetuate biases. Ryan may also be described as genderqueer, nerdish, poly, whiteish, youngish, male-bodied, and as the co-parent of a child with what physicians have called “profound” developmental differences. He has been studying communication, relationships, and oppression/liberation theory for about 8 years.

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