One response to ““Power & privilege” theme for 12th Annual Social Justice Symposium

  1. Carolyn Classen

    Welcome by Associate Dean Jill De Zapine who said their college’s goal is to “Eliminate health disparites” in our community. Keynote Liane, an AZ native with family mining roots, asked how do we use power &privilege in our community? She spoke of her work at YWCA of So. AZ fighting oppression and racism, educating others around the state. She said that these microaggressions affect health of people (i.e mentally) who have to recover and overcome self-doubt to “love more, fear less”. Attended panels on Barriers to Disclosure (about how women of color have had to endure historical trauma, racism, rape in the past, but that still these women are viewed as “unrapeable”, marginalized by white male society, which is still dominant. 2nd panel on White Fragility spoke of white people being fearful of confrontations about racism, as being so insulated from race-based stress, perhaps with unknowing complicity in creating unequal systems. Whites need to get out of comfort zones and their closed social circles. 3rd panel on Addressing Power & Marginalization in a college environment showed a youth video about America’s problems today, then asked for audience to write their reactions and to this statement ” Microaggressions taste like…” with 5 audience responses.
    Final panel after lunch featured 2 minority women, 2 white women who answered questions: How do we perpetuate microaggressions in our community? (answers: no incentive for whites to examine themselves; intent vs. impact not known by whites; whites need to listen more, apologize; whites need to be more welcoming/inviting to Others, be allies. 2nd question: How reconcile microaggressions we see in public? (answers: difficult but ask “Why would you say that?” to offender, inquire; but be mindful of personal safety; responsbility of those w/ privilege to leverage power; educate other privileged white people. 3rd Question: What communities affected most by microaggressions today? (answers: Muslims w/ attacks against hijbas worn by women; brown/black communities with lower language skills; undocumented people living in fear of deportation daily; seek diverse communities in Tucson, but racist areas exist. Last question from Co-chair of symposium – how do we use tools to combat microaggressions? (answers: don’t live in fear, be aware, be kind & be better; resistance is joyous, leverage your power; white people need to help/ “do your work”; be open for more compassion & trust your gut. Online survey about this symposium will be posted on the website later.