Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Cult Would Like To Program...Er...DEprogram...You Now

Er...I guess that should actually be 'program'...
   Anyway...brought to you by the same general people who ruined Thanksgiving:
   One exercise is the Crucial Conversation Starter, which helps people think through whom they want to have conversations with and how to navigate what comes up. There will also be a texting tree, so people can reach out for support or ideas during the holidays.
   According to Zearfoss, one of the ultimate goals of the party is creating changes in behavior.
   “It aims to empower folks who are returning home for the holidays to call-in family members who display explicit or implicit racism,” says Zearfoss. He says Make Yourself Useful strategically uses “call-in” instead of “call-out.”
   “It’s about a slower, less public method of accountability, versus a call-out, which is more geared toward shame and chastising,” Zearfoss says. “No human being is disposable. But, there is also a lot of socially ingrained racism. We’re asking how you can sit with those two things at the same time.”
   Jenn Jackson, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago studying black politics and social movements, says parties like this make good short-term strategies for confronting racist behavior during the holidays.
   “It's the first of the first steps,” Jackson says. She says she believes racism persists because a lot of white people aren’t concerned with race in their daily lives. They affirm and coddle one another’s experiences, which creates an echo chamber and reinforces racial hierarchies, she says. In this respect, she says it’s critical for white people to do away with notions of “colorblindness” and challenge one another to recognize how race affects social structures.
   “It's very admirable that more white people are interrogating their positions in systems of power,” Jackson says. “It's important, disruptive work. In the long term, however, these disruptive strategies have to become dismantling strategies.”
   The party is in line with the group’s other programming. Make Yourself Useful meets monthly to support letter-writing campaigns and discuss readings by people of color. It also operates the Joyful Giving Database, a lengthy skill-sharing list where individuals can offer particular services or talents to organizations. While the collective is open to anyone, Domienik and Zearfoss say it is geared toward white people and is dedicated to fortifying organizations of color — it aims to act as an accomplice, not just an ally.
   “We work to deprogram the mind,” Domienik says. She believes white communities need to critically approach the ideas about race they have ingested.
   “I think there is a difference between people who act out racism and people who are actively trying to fight the messages they’ve heard throughout their lives,” she continues. “It’s important to critique who taught you certain ideas and for what purpose. We need to have conversations that confront what our families believe.”
   Gosh, I just don't understand why nobody likes progressives... Who doesn't like it when their crazy religious zealot relatives try to convert them during the holidays by telling them how sinful they are?


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