Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Real World

Real World Educators for Action Learning posts an interesting dialogue between Dr. Alice E. Ginsberg & Dr. Raquel Rios on building relationships that transcend race, class and gender.

Ms. Rios argues that transcendent relationship-building may be riskier for individuals who do not belong to a "privileged group" than it is for others.

"One of the primary risks of forming such alliances across race, class and gender etc. is the risk of vulnerability. I find that the greatest vulnerability for those of us who do not belong to a privileged group is that of livelihood. Survival is one of the most powerful human basic needs and forming alliances across race, class and gender really puts into question our fundamental belief system about survival. Many individuals and groups, especially within the context of a capitalistic and patriarchal society, begin to adopt a polarized perspective of lack vs. abundance. Individuals and groups that have historically been victimized by oppression often see the world through the filter of scarcity, or the fear of lack. This simply means that if a person is concerned with their basic needs, it is difficult for them to engage in an alliance across privilege because they will constantly feel dependent and needy on the relationship for personal gain. This relationship can be within the context of an organization. If there is a threat to the individual’s job stability, the “alliance” to the issue of social justice will often take back seat. If the person is coming from a position of privilege, speaking up and fighting for an issue of social justice is less risky. The level of risk involved will often dictate how each behaves facing adversity."

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