This provocative essay on Black Girl Dangerous sheds light on how the oppressive social patterns that we’re trying to change ‘out there’ inevitably live inside us and our social movements, no matter how hard we try to chase them out. Author Ngọc Loan Trần invites fellow activists to engage more empathetically with these patterns in order to be a stronger force for change.
Calling IN: A less disposable way of holding each other accountable
by Ngoc Loan Tran
I started having conversations on this practice of “calling in” after attending Race Forward’s Facing Race Conference in Baltimore, MD in 2012. Facing Race was a gathering of thousands of people working on advancing racial justice. The space was full of energy, commitment, and a ride-or-die-and-put-it-all-on-the-line mentality for making sure we’ve got our bases covered in this fight against racism and dismantling white supremacy.
What happens when thousands of people who all “get it” come together and everyone knows something about “the work”? We lose all compassion for each other. All of it.
I witnessed all types of fucked up behavior and the culture that we have created to respond to said fucked up behavior.
Most of us know the drill. Someone says something that supports the oppression of another community, the red flags pop up and someone swoops in to call them out.
But what happens when that someone is a person we know — and love? What happens when we ourselves are that someone?
And what does it mean for our work to rely on how we have been programmed to punish people for their mistakes?
Click here to read the rest of the essay on www.blackgirldangerous.org, a reader-funded nonprofit project that helps to amplify the voices of queer and trans people of color.