NCORE Webinar Series – September 2019 – Woke Olympics and Social Justice Arrogance


>>AJIA: Good afternoon! Thank you so much for joining the Southwest
Center for Human Relations Studies at the University of Oklahoma for our monthly webinar
series. I’m Ajia Meux, Communications and Project
Manager and we are excited about the 2019-2020 season of our monthly webinar series. Our hope is that we continue the conference’s
tradition of working to improve racial and ethnic relations on college campuses by providing
virtual learning opportunities. This season is sure to amazing. We have a lineup of scholars who’ll cover
a wide range of issues, including immigration and DACA, institution reform and planning
and critical pedagogy. On October 30th, presenters from Mt. San Antonio
College will present Keeping the Dream Alive: A college-wide approach to embracing dreamers. The cost is $25, and registration is still
open. This season, we’ve introduced a new student
track that focuses on ideas that speak directly to the experiences of students and is either
facilitated or co-facilitated by a student. They are intended to identify emerging scholars
and connect students in the NCORE community to each other. Our student track webinars are always available
at no cost. These sessions are held the first Wednesday
of the month. Brendan Crow, a third-year medical student
at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine will be presenting on race in medical education
next week. Registration is still open! Make sure you’re live posting! We want to know where you’re watching! Tweet, Instagram and FB pictures from your
office with the hashtag NCORE and start the conversation online. You may end up in a very special NCORE video! Today, we have Reverend Dr. Jamie Washington,
president and founder of the Washington consulting group. Dr. Washington has served as an educator,
administrator, and consultant in higher education for over 34 years. He serves as an invited instructor in the
Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is the President and Co-Founder of the
Social Justice Training Institute and the immediate Past President of the American College
Personnel Association. Rev. Dr. Washington earned his B.S. degree
from Slippery Rock State College; a double Masters’ of Science degrees from Indiana University/Bloomington;
a Ph.D. in College Student Development, from the University of Maryland College Park; and
a Master of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity. Today, Rev. Dr. Washington will be discussing
how the “Woke Olympics” are contributing to the challenge of creating learning campus
environments. The center is grateful for Rev. Dr. Washington’s
expertise.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: It’s great to be with you
in this way! Thanks for joining us this afternoon. I know there are folks individually watching
as well as collectively watching as organizations and institutions. So I want to just move us right into this. I want to start with how I kind of got to
this topic before I move into the intentions and so I have been as was already named in
this conversation for many many years in the work of social justice, diversity, equity,
inclusion, multiculturalism. All the d to talk about what it means really
to honor all of our humanity. To honor that knowing that we all operate
in a context where all of us have not always been honored in our full humanity. And that there are systems and cultures set
up that make that continuously challenging and ongoing work. In the last 30 years and also prior to that,
Certainly this work did not start 30 years ago. There have been folks fighting for justice
since the beginning of time. But particularly in the Academy in the last
30 years or so, there has been an emphasis on developing capacity and competencies around
understanding and engaging issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and social justice. What has been an outcome are some wonderful
things. There are communities, organizations, populations,
campuses that understand, and have worked diligently to increase and create greater
inclusion in those spaces. A byproduct of that, educational and learning
work has been what I often will refer to as the “Woke Olympics”. A culture of social justice arrogance in the
context of higher educat And so what I mean by that is that there has been this space
that has been created that has a very difficult to sometimes be in the conversation that is
in the way advancing our efforts. So that’s with discussion is going to be about
today and I am going to name what the intentions are for our time in just a moment. Always you already heard,” commitment for
fostering inclusion. This is another way that NCORE has made a
commitment to showing up beyond our coming together annually at the conferences all across
the country. Please join us in New York. But also in these webinar series and other
kind of local and regional efforts. It is in course commitment to fostering inclusion
across all identities and creating a welcoming and inclusive space. We also want to start with our land acknowledgment. And I would like to acknowledge the land that
I am on today during this meeting. It is the original home of the Lumbee, Piscataway,
and Cherokee tribes. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide
and forced removal from this territory, and we honor and respect of many diverse indigenous
peoples still connected to this land on which I am positioned here in Maryland. Without them we would not have access to this
space. We take this opportunity to think the original
caretakers of this state. One of the things that happened even now as
I acknowledge the land is it is another one of those dynamics that shows up in “Woke Olympics”. We will talk more about that as we move on. As acknowledge the land, it is my hope that
this doesn’t just become a part of how we acknowledge other one is “woke” or not but
that we actually spend time and energy engaging in what it really means to pause and acknowledge
where we are. I would also like to add as I stop and pause
as we honor all of our ancestry, as we honor 1619 this 400 anniversary of the original
slave ships arriving here on these shores, that we not take for granted that there is
a legacy of genocide that has happened within communities of African descent as well. As we also acknowledged always in which oppression
has been a part of our experience such that we don’t take for granted those who have gone
before us to make it possible for us to do our parts to make this space better. We breathe in the truth of those whose shoulders
we stand on as we move forward in our conversations today. Thank you. Intentions for our time today. It’s really to create a space for deeper levels
of authentic engagement about the dynamics, the impacts the “Woke Olympics” an social
justice arrogance particularly in the context of higher education but not just in higher
education. If you are listening to us and you work or
you engage in a context that is other than the traditional higher education,please know
that all of what is going to be said, much of what will be set is going to be relevant
for you as well. It might just be nuanced in your context. We are going to talk about what that means
and what I want to do, if we were at a conference space, we would actually have the space to
kind of join up and get in pairs or get in dyads or small groups and really deepen the
level of authentic conversation. But my intention in this space is to give
you some stuff so that you can get deeper and real talk and pay attention to what that
means. We want to consider these dynamics and how
they manifest often in sabotaged efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion and social
justice work. So what I am offering here is that the dynamics
of “Woke Olympics” and social justice arrogance actually does harm to the very efforts that
we are trying to address and we want to talk some about what that means what that looks
like. The next thing is to offer insights that inform
what is at the root of this dynamic. Along with me and my colleagues who have been
actively engaged in the work, we want to offer you some insights about what that’s about
and where it comes from as well as some thoughts around, the last thing there is to share some
tips and ideas for engaging these challenges as they occur. So that’s where we are. That is what our hopes are as we begin this
conversation today. Please feel free to use the chat feature to
share your questions at any particular point and we will stop about 20 minutes, 15 or 20
mins before the ending time so that we can address some of those. It is our hope to be able to address as many
as possible. I love being able to share in this way and
know that the format sometimes can be challenging for engaged conversation. But we will get some questions and answers
in there as we move forward. So let us go! As we start our conversation today about “Woke
Olympics”, I want to invite us to think about what we mean. When you consider “Woke Olympics”, what are
the things that come to mind for you? How would you defined “Woke Olympics” and
or social justice arrogance? I’m excited about the number of folks who
decided they want to sign onto this because it says to me just like you said to Folks
when I was at Portland. I offer this is a full session and the room
indicated folks felt it was a full conversation that needed to be had. So let me share what I have about the “Woke
Olympics” and social justi I’m talking about this dynamic that refers to the weaponization
of social justice knowledge and understanding. What I mean by that is I am talking about
how what I know about language, what I know about dynamics, or things that occur around
oppression, diversity, exclusion, and how I use that knowing and understanding to make
others less than or not knowing. So the very fact that I know to name my pronouns,
minor he/him/his. I remember to do that at the beginning of
each space I enter. The fact that I do or do not do a land acknowledgment. The fact that I do or do not understand the
difference in gender identity and sexual orientation. The fact that I do or do not understand the
complexities of the x in Latinx experiences I could go on and on and on. But my knowledge around a breath of or a particular
identity breadth. That particular identity and knowledge being
weapon iced such that anyone not knowing it is hard for not knowing it. This dynamic created environment of competition
for who knows the most current up-to-date and popular information about social justice. The latest reading or article or latest tweet
or Facebook posting. The latest information about a particular
issue. The latest dissertation that has been written. And so do you know what is the current and
the most popularized or what is trending around a particular piece? That creates a dynamic of competition often
within organizations and sometimes within classes or cohorts of classes. And so dynamic of competition that creates
harm. It creates a shaming and a blaming environment
and makes it uncomfortable and almost wrong to not be informed. One of the dilemmas and challenges around
this is the expectation that you would and/or should know given your role, given your stated
commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, given what the institution says about what
it values. And if you don’t—and it is not always stated. As I talk about creating a shaming and blend
environment, it’s not always necessarily stated in a shaming or blaming or using those words
or that language it is often just energy that is created. I talk about often my sessions the meetings
after the meeting. It is how we talk about when people don’t
know. Or how we show up sending nonverbal communication
messages when someone missteps or doesn’t know a particular thing. I was in a session a little bit ago when we
were. Or someone was referring to the show Pose. Some of you may know that is one of the premier
and very powerful shows that his naming and talking about exploring the experiences of
queer folks, particularly trans women of color. This person referred to Pose as “posse” and
talked about it as one of their favorite shows. The energy that was in the room for those
who knew that the title or the pronunciation was “Pose” was one that created blaming as
an example. At the dynamic is often one that is rooted
in intellectual and cognitive knowing and manifest in ways that does not advance diversity,
equity, inclusion, and the social justice effort. So when I talk about cognitive knowing, it
is often there . There is intellectual knowing. There is cognitive knowing. Like I have been in an advanced study in some
particular area or some identity based discussion. And because it often shows up from a place
of intellectual arrogance that it then sabotages and does not advance the efforts because folks
then feel like when they are in the room with folks who are more “woke” or socially justice
arrogant, people don’t feel like they can ask a question. What is becoming more and more commonplace
as an example is that we would have people as they get into a room or introduce themselves
and we invite folks to share their pronouns, how long they’ve been there, what brings them
to the session today, often in spaces depending on where you are, the sharing of pronouns
is not something that everyone has had a lot of experience doing. But even as folks began to recognize okay,
I identify the same way as this person does, and I know my pronouns are he, his, his. Or she, her, hers. I still don’t know why I am sharing my pronouns
or I don’t understand the impact of not sharing them so rooted in intellectualism is really
often about this cognitive this is what we should do and sometimes not about why we should
or how it impacts or what is the affective and emotional impact of this whatever the
particular dynamic is. Finally I talked about the “Woke Olympics”
about this creating an us-them, in-out, woke-clueless. We begin to talk about folks in that context
and folks begin to experience the in-out, us-them dynamic within our campuses and our
communities. Those dynamics again as I said earlier often
sabotage our efforts. Because what I experience as I am often on
campuses with organizations is when we have the invited opportunities to deepen our understandings,
build our capacity to engage more effectively within about and across differences and create
environments that operate and engage at the institutional individual interpersonal as
well as the group levels, what I often hear as I go into a room is folks will often say
these are the likely suspects. The same people always come to this. If you have ever heard me refer to this notion
of often people talk about this in the context of, “Jamie, you are preaching to the choir.” This is a quire dynamic. We all look around the room and yes I knew
he was going to be there, I knew she , I knew we were going to be here. But we are not the people that need to be
here. This whole dynamic of woke Olympics at social
justice arrogance invites us to consider what is our role as choir members and how do we
as choir members contribute to people not coming
to experience this. I have
experience as a music minister and one thing I know about a quire is that we need rehearsal! And sometimes the challenge is that choir
members want to show up and perform not having been in rehearsal. Some of the building of capacity is about
how do I build capacity to be in community and to be in engagement with folks who may
not have had all the experiences, all the questions, all of the learning, all of the
community learning opportunities that I have had. That is me wanting to name what I mean by
“Woke Olympics” and social justice arrogance. Many of you may have something to add but
that’s how I begin to talk about this topic. What I want you to do is consider your own
experience and I want you to think about a story or a situation, let it come into your
mind around WOSJA. What has been your experience with these dynamics? How do you feel in those moments and what
do you do? And so just inviting you for a moment to think
and reflect for a moment when you felt like social justice knowing was weapon eyes. When you felt like it wasn’t okay to make
a mistake. When you noticed someone who made a mistake
or didn’t say the right word or didn’t use the right language or inert around pronouns
as effectively. In the feeling that was in the room, the feeling
that was in you. What happened in that moment? What did you do? What did others do in that space? I just want to you allow yourself to embody
the realities of this dynamic. If you don’t feel like you’ve ever been in
a space where you have experienced this playing out, that is okay. But I am inviting those who have to consider
the situation. I name that these dynamics can often sabotage
diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts because that’s what I have experienced so I want you
to consider what has been the impact. What impact did it have on the moment or the
situation? So whether someone got called out on something
that they did or they didn’t get called out. And it just kind of let it ride but there
was a meeting after the meeting. Or there was a meeting in the meeting where
folks just began to text messages, or there was simply the eye rolling in the particular
situation. I want us to be able to hold what was the
impact and how did that advance social justice, diversity, inclusion efforts, and how did
it help us to move forward. Makes brains again, is that it often shuts
down and creates an energy in the room of shame and blame and it not being okay not
to know. I want you to think about where do you get
stuck and/or struggle as it relates to these dynamics. One of the things that often occurs is those
of us who are experiencing these dynamics of “Woke Olympics” and social justice arrogance
and recently don’t know what to do in that moment. If I enter in a way that invites a challenge
to the social justice arrogance or “Woke Olympics” and I am liable again to ex because there
is not a consciousness around the impact, it might feel like I am rescuing the person
who made a mistake and if I am doing that as a person of color and this happens to be
a white person that has done it, then I am showing up operating in collusion or out of
my own internalized oppression and how do I navigate not wanting to do that. I don’t want to rescue the white person or
the cis man or cis woman but what I am actually doing is creating a space for their learning
and if I decide to engage in that, do I get seen as a sellout or actually doing harm to
the person who was trying to call them out on whatever they missed. So this is a dynamic and I wanted to give
your moment to figure out how that was it that you did. What was the impact of the situation? Did the person learn? Was there good learning for the group? Did that help our conversations move forward?
and what are the struggle places for any of us. With that I wanted to share for a moment what
I have experienced as some of the ways that “Woke Olympics” can show up. My hope is that you can see some of this. That it is showing up clearly for you. When I started this conversation, I was actually
considering one of the key concepts and dynamics that are showing up in the current moment
where people use the knowledge around it, their knowing about it to weapon eyes and
make others less then or make others not ask, down or less woke. I started and what you will notice here is
about 49 or 50 dynamics that I am naming, and this is not to be an all exhaustive list
of the current date dynamics around diversity, equity, and inclusion. But it is to offer some of the many other
things that I have seen “Woke Olympics” show up in and around. So if you look at this list, I invite you
to think about what you’ve seen and/or experienced, and to consider the fact of where you fill
woke and where you don’t. And where you feel you have some understanding
and where you might have even experienced some “Woke Olympics” being thrown at you because
you were not as down with a particular issue. Just a quickie to move us through here, we’re
talking about power and privilege, entitlement, internalized dominance, marginalized and minorized,
internalized oppression, and horizontal hostility which are things that we experience. We are talking about how much I know about
that and MI able to talk about that and the words coming out of power and privilege. White fragility and white tears. What is white fragility and white tears? First Amendment and free speech. How we talk about and how we understand those
dynamics and how they again impact these conversations. “Battle fatigue”. I put that in quotations because there are
all kinds of battle fatigue but often in the context of weariness. Cultural fluency and competence. Microaggressions. Implicit bias. Collusion. Complicity. Intact and impact. A cumulative impact. And a perfectly logical explanation (PLE). Ally versus accomplices, in the dynamics of
what the differences are connected to that. Connected also is safe space versus brave
space or safe space and brave space. Mansplaining, misogyny, title IX Self-care,
community care, how we should be talking about that today. Non-binary. Universal design. What is social justice, diversity, inclusion,
and equity. How those get defined in absolute ways in
different spaces. Dream Act. Understanding ofThe Dream Act and DACA. Demand Culture. As we talk about the demand Culture and there
have been uprising and expectations of shifting the culture there that has shown up in a way
that is not inviting necessarily folks. To be a part or be engaged in a process. It is demanding immediate culture change Here
me as I say all of this, none of it is about judgment but how the dynamics show up. Kaplan millennial’s, Centennial’s, social
media, trump effect, individual group and organization, energy triggers, Islam a phobia,
anti-Semitism, colonization, ethnocentrism, environmental justice, size oppression, ageism,
classism, Christian hedge otomy, intersectionality, neoliberalism, Black Lives Matter, Meet You,
“Woke Olympics” Social Justice Arrogance, and More.>>AJIA: Dr. Washington, we have a few questions. Moses David asked if the colors coordinate
to certain groupings.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: The colors coordinate to
what the PowerPoint did [CHUCKLING] as I continued to add. It does not come to court Nate to any group. That’s an interesting thought though! Was there another?>>AJIA: I thought that I saw someone raise
their hand. Would you mind putting your que Will we
have an opportunity to capture the presentation slides and will you be giving those out after
the presentation?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Yes I will.>>AJIA: Okay what I will do is allow Dr.
Washington to continue his presentation and then we will take questions at the end.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: This is fine. And I don’t mind if you want to pause me in
the middle, that’s fine as well. And we can also I am going to create space
for questions at the end. Something is up and I said something that
was unclear and you’re just wondering what I meant about that, that is absently fine. You just flashback on and say we’ve got a
question right here.>>AJIA: Okay I going to come back often. When I come back on it will be because someone
has a question.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Thank you very much! So again folks, as I name, I don’t have this
to be a start all and all and what I am offering are the ways in which I have seen social justice
dynamics and issues weaponized and what I want you to invite to think about is what
I know about some of this or all of this or any of it or all of it. The more woke you are the more you know. And how do I use the knowledge, the experience,
the information and the knowing that I have around all of this which is all that matters
and it is important in terms of helping us to continue to move ourselves and our organizations
and our campuses and communities forward. But how do I build my capacity in knowing
about this but also build my capacity to be able to engage it. I want to offer for us next to consider a
number of ways in which knowledge, what informs some of the “Woke Olympics”. One of the things that I have experienced
is that we come at this knowing and that these topics from a myriad of interdisciplinary
ways of knowing and sometimes “Woke Olympics” can show up as if my disciplinary way or my
lens to which I enter the conversation is the way that we should be engaging and/or
thinking about this discussion. And so for example, I might show up as identifying
as a sociologist that says engaging this conversation requires a sociological analysis and perspective
and that perspective is more than a psychological perspective. Or that perspective is more important than
an economics perspective. Or the law perspective is more important than
the educational perspectives. So I just want to offer that all of these
disciplines and ways of knowing make sense and are important as we address the issues. So sociology, psychology, history, physiology. This matters is what impacts our bodies. Biology, anthropology, understanding theology
and sometimes the whole notion of how we operate theologically in the world and what that means
is and is important part of this discussion and is often unnamed. Legal, law, linguists, organizational leadership
and behavior. As we talk about how we do organizational
and cultural change and how that dynamic informs the knowing. There are more than these 12 knowledge spaces
as we consider how the Olympics can show up in the dynamics can show up was not when we
show up in this absolute one box matters more than the other box or one discipline matters
more or is more important than the other disciplines, then we can miss some really important and
powerful learning that might inform and help are engaging around the conversation. You will see the graphic or image next to
the knowledge base. I want to just offer what I believe is one
of the ways that social justice arrogance and how it plays out. And how it can often stumble out our efforts. And I often refer to this as the three C’s. That is convincing, converting, convicting. I just want to put these three C’s in context
and how when I am talking about creating environments where it is okay not to know and I don’t have
to have all of the right words in the language, I am talking about a learning environment. Learning organization or a space where it
is okay for people to be exploring and considering. I really wanted to name that context because
sometimes we are in a context that isn’t necessarily about people exploring, engaging, and learning. I find that most of the time in higher education,
I would hope that we are in that context but I do understand that that is not always the
space that folks are operating in. And so please hear this in the context of
creating a learning environment inviting people in to unknowing and a way for them to engage
for themselves. I often will say particularly to the folks
that I’m helping to prepare and build their capacity to facilitate and engage around social
justice diversity and equity issues, that if you are in a classroom situation and teaching
content tray population through any of the disciplines or whatever, I am not talking
about that necessarily kind of context. We all know that there is material that needs
to be covered in sociology 101 and 301 and history 205 and so on and so forth. In those spaces, we are talking about a different
kind of engagement and that can be another webinar altogether. In this space as I talk about these three
C’s, I’m talking about whether I am in a meeting with a conversation with a colleague in staff
development or doing student learning space or session, I want us to pay attention to
inviting a space where folks can consider things. If we are avoiding convincing, converting,
and convicting, then we create a space for learning. If I’m showing up with the intention of convincing
you that what I know is right and what you know is wrong, that is a very different energy
than me showing up and inviting you into a conversation or dialogue with me. It creates the energy of right and wrong. I need to convince you that I’m right and
you’re wrong. If I show up with the intention to convert
you, then my engagement with you is not a successful engagement unless you have come
over to my way, unless you have come over to my way of thinking and using my linkage
and engaging in my ways. I am trying to convince you so that I can
convert you to a particular way of thinking or I am convicting you and wanting you to
feel badly because of what you are knowing and you are thinking is. So if I have not converted you, I minimally
want you to feel convicted in terms of how you engage with me. Looks like we’ve got some questions, I will
take a pause there.>>AJIA: Saw Mohammed at the Mills international
center at the University of organ asks what are your thoughts on the intersection between
social justice work and political correctness? If there are any, is there any danger with
that? And how do we promote social justice without
making social justice and ideology of its own to avoid the “competition sense”?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Thank you for your question
Mohammed. I want to make sure I am capturing. So the difference between political correctness
and social justice knowing?>>AJIA: The intersection between social justice
work and political correctness.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Sure, okay. The challenge around that is what do we mean
when we say political correctness? Social justice work and political correctness. So when someone will say to me, if I start
naming my pronouns and before I would gender anyone, I would invite them to share with
me what their pronoun is so that I actively practicenot operating out of my assumption
around how people identify and what folks gender identity is as that is maybe different
from their gender expression or whatever. If I take the time to ask what your pronouns
are and if someone names that is political correctness, I would push back on that. What I would say is what you are framing as
political correctness I would frame as an intention to honor who people are. Me starting this session with a land acknowledgment,
if someone says that is political correctness, I would say that differently in terms of my
intention is to recognize the space and really truly honor where I get to occupy and whose
homeland it was. And so I think sometimes we use political
correctness as another way in some levels of weaponizing and resisting and sabotaging
the effort. So if political correctness gets named as
a way to shut down the conversation, I would just invite a reframing of political correctness. Like if you care about how people are seen
and see themselves as being politically correct, then I guess I am that then. But that’s not what I mean that’s not why
I am doing it. I am not trying to be “politically correct”,
I am trying to live congruently with my value around humanity.>>AJIA: So the second part of that is how
do we promote social justice without making social justice and ideology of its own. To avoid the competition since.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Yeah so that’s what this
whole conversation is about. In many ways, kind of the whole social justice,
diversity, equity, the way it works. Any area and any discipline, it can kind of
be it something, and ideology of its own and how we then share that is the space that we
have to be careful of creating the weaponization and kind of the competition around. So we get to share that in a way that acknowledges
and honors that this is a knowledge base. Social justice, all of the steps we are talking
about and all the things that are named and all the disciplines and dynamics is a knowledge
base. And we want to pay attention to as with anything
how that knowledge gets used. We don’t want to use this knowledge or use
ideology in a way that is hurtful or harm or limits our abilities to kind of move our
efforts forward.>>AJIA: We will continue on and then come
back to some of the other questions. Claudine asks how would this look if someone
attends a learning opportunity with a comment “I have not experienced racism and I am married
to a white man and we have children. I feel like the conversation is blown out
of proportion. “How do we begin to navigate and explore
the answer without redirecting to the group and without employing the three C’s?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Say that first part again
one more time.>>AJIA: How would this look if someone attends
a learning opportunity with a comment, “I have not experienced racism and I am married
to a white man and we have children. I feel like the conversation is blown out
of proportion.”>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Let’s pause there. I am married to a white man and I have not
expense racism. We do not know the race of the person who
is saying this so I am assuming that based upon what we are talking about that that is
a person of color.>>AJIA: Yes Claudine just said they are a
person of color.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Soy person of color who
has not experienced racism and I am married to a white man, and was there any more than
that?>>AJIA: I feel like the conversation is blown
out of proportion. That is the end of the statement. And then the question is how do we begin to
navigate and explore the answer without redirecting the group and without employing the three
C’s?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: So without redirecting it
to the group or employing the three C’s. So here’s what I want to offer, appreciative
question. Couple things. Redirecting to the group is always an opportunity. Without redirecting to the group, I’m not
saying that is the strategy or intervention always. But often, depending on where you are, there
is a very powerful learning opportunity window learning comes from amongst us. Right? So someone else might be like that person. So I am a person of color, I am married to
a white person, and so here is how my experience is different than that. So that is an opportunity where I don’t have
to necessarily just show up as teacher if I am in the facilitator role. And how else I can engage that conversation
is invite in the room how many folks relate or how many folks have seen that or how many
folks would agree that they have n or whatever. So there are a number of folks who will name
that they have not experienced racism. How many folks would say that they have? So your experience does not have to be invalidated
for others’ experiences to be real. Right? And you’re feeling or a particular person’s
feeling about it being blown out of proportion is based upon what they are experience is. I feel like it’s being blown out of proportion
because I have not experienced it. So just to help folks understand and that
is why utilizing the knowing and the experiences of the group is an important space. What I am offering here is strategy. Not the right answer. Because again, I don’t know what is in the
room. It depends on what comes up from that space
in terms of how you might continue the dialogue. But there may be an opportunity or a teachable
moment in that where you get to share what your own journey was or how you relate to
what that person’s experience was. Part of what I often will say to folks particularly
if you are facilitating and leading a discussion is has there ever been a place where you felt
like, “Well I don’t see that.” Or, “I think this is being blown out of proportion. It’s more than what I see.” If you can relate to the energy that you can
show up not necessarily operating in the three C’s. So if you can find that in you where you have
not seen that as big, you can find yourself in a different conversation and engage with
the person. That person generally is not sharing that
because they necessarily want to do harm. They often are sharing it because it is what
they see. And it has been their experience. I very much can relate to being in the space
in my own racial consciousness and my own racialized identity knowing where I would
say where I would have been able to say a similar kind of comment. Just because I had not felt racism doesn’t
mean I have not experienced it. I might have been calling it something else
because I didn’t know how to call it that or how to engage it is that and so on. With the intention of knowing that we are
all in different places on the journey and that if we are in the role of facilitator/educator,
we want to bring people along on that journey. One of the things I will often share is that
we have been taught particularly in traditional higher Ed student affairs psychology or counseling
or sociology spaces to meet people where they are. The importance of being able to meet that
person or that woman in the space that she is. So meet them where they are. What we have not been able to do effectively
is be with them in that space. So we have met people where they are so here
I am, I am meeting you where you are, but when we have gotten into the space, we have
actively grab them by the color and attempted to drag them to where we need them to be. So the meeting the person that where they
are is only the first part of the work. The next part of the work is staying with
them where they are long enough to understand why their perspective or worldview is different
than yours. Right? Okay so you have not experienced racism. Talk a little bit about why this comment is
coming up for you? Why do you feel like this is being blown out
of proportion? How does it feel for you as it is being blown
out of proportion? So in some wayseven as I am talking about
this, I am imagining that some of this is feeling like while you are talking about my
husband! You are making my relationship bad! You are making the person that I love wrong! Like if you’re talking about whiteness or
white people. So that might be what is coming up but an
attempt to stay long enough with people to find out what energy is there and what’s important
is as important, not just to become woke. Like their inclusion or internalized oppression
and I feel like I need to get them straight versus being with them on a journey of knowing
themselves. I will keep moving. I’ve got a few more things I want to get us
in on. Is that okay? All right excellent. Here’s what I want to talk about. Similarly to what I have already named are
some key concepts and dynamics to the “Woke Olympics” and what shows up in there. WOSJA can unintentionally sabotage efforts
as it reduces an environment of safety and bravery for engagement. In the example that was named so beautifully
around a person of color names they have not experienced racism and I am married to a white
person, are we engaging that person in a way that has us not shut down the environment
for anyone else showing up in their truth. Alright so if that person makes that statement
and I just show up and say well that’s about your internalized oppression. While it could be, you know, I am not saying
it is not. And how am I going to be in that conversation
with the person that helps them even know what internalized oppression is all about?If
I show up in that way with that person, it does not just impact that person. It impacts the room. So if I am sitting in the room and I happen
to be another person of color and well I am not married to a white person, I feel like
this is being blown out of proportion as well and I have not experienced racism so I don’t
dare say that or anything else that is going to get me in trouble with the social justice
police. Right? So it impacts and creates an environment that
reduces the space for people to show up authentically in what their individual lived truth is. What I will sometimes share in this conversation
is all of us operate this discussion at the individual, the group, and at the system level. Those three different spaces are in operation
all the time. But most of us have only engaged at best at
the individual level. And maybe if we study or come from an environment
that invites us so to some systems or organization or cultural level, we have engaged in those. So I am an individual, I show up as a good
individual engaging, and here is what I may know about my experience and here’s my knowledge
of the system. Those two parts of the dynamic leaves out
the middle place which is owning our group experiences. As an individual black person, I may have
not ever experienced racism. But as I own I am a member of the group of
black people, do I know black people who have? And how is my experience different from theirs? And what do I think that’s about? If I don’t own my group identity, then I am
likely to stay at the individual and interpersonal level. And often than not able to see how the systems
and cultures have been set up to treat certain groups differently than others. So creating an environment that unintentionally
sabotages efforts for bravery prevents us from being able to help folks see that your
individual experience is one piece of the analysis that you need to be able to navigate
creating full diversity, equity, and inclusion in your communities. WOSJA is often difficult to address as it
is loaded with accurate information but poor engagement. As I said before, if I just said that that
comment was about a person’s internalized oppression or about collusion or about complicity,
while the information may be accurate, the engagement of it does not create the energy
for deeper exploration. And we can’t control all of that. We can’t absolutely because I asked the right
question or because I don’t call them out. But we can definitely create an environment
where we can ensure that that is not likely to happen. As you will see in the next statement there,
“Woke Olympics” often then takes us to an intention to “call out” and not “call or invite
in.” Some folks have pushed back on me around some
of this language about calling and/or inviting in is supportive of dominant culture or dominant
folks or white supremacy. It is an extra labor on the minoritized person. They always have to deal with the impact and
so we just need to call out the dominant person I don’t agree with any of that. Absolutely do feel sometimes that it’s important
for people to be called out but what I am talking about in this particular context is
what I am talking about calling in and inviting in is I am talking about on our role as educators
and what is my positinality at the moment and how does my position and my exes and my
privilege give me an opportunity to create a environment to create a learning space where
folks can go deeper and unpack and find themselves and find where internalized oppression or
heterosexism or homophobic or misogynist or ablest or ethnocentric has been ingrained
in them. Am I able to call them out or does it shut
them down from being able to even look inside? So the call out that I am referring to is
one that says my intention in my comment is to invite you on the journey that I have gone
through. Under that is I have not always been here. I didn’t wake up social justice salary or
social justice Jamie. I have been on a learning journey. I didn’t get here accidentally. Somebody had grace and kindness and educated
me. So call in and invite him is to invite people
into the journey. The litmus text and Gotcha Culture. What I mean by that is when we create an environment
of social justice and “Woke Olympics” is it is often felt that someone is just waiting
for me to mess up. So if I am getting up, I am the vice president,
I am a Dean, I am a director, I am doing an announcement or an acknowledgment. I am doing an opening of something and I am
feeling the energy of folks in the room simply waiting for me to get it wrong. So it is a gotcha culture. Yes you started with the pronouns but when
you did the land acknowledgment, you pronounced the tribes wrong. Yes you did the land acknowledgment well but
you stumbled over LGBTQAI. Yes you did this but you used ablest language
when you said if we could all get up and walk to the back of the room. Someone is waiting to get me and it creates
a gotcha culture. And a gotcha culture is not an environment
where it is safe to really fully be and be able to learn in those spaces that you might
not know. You often are in those spaces walking on—moving
on eggshells. There you go! Because I don’t want to get it wrong. And this becomes particularly a challenge
when folks are in “position.” So if you are the diversity person, you’re
the director of equity and inclusion, you are the social justice educated for your campus,
or whatever. Because of your title you’re supposed to show
up knowing. But particularly if you’ve got a diversity
piece in your title, you’ve got to know everything about everything! Right? I noticed this dynamic particularly with my
colleagues who work in multicultural affairs or within diversity, equity, and inclusion
offices. We have shifted those names. I might have come into this work with my commitment
to work with Latinx and Chicanos because I have studied those people and those are my
people and I’m here at this campus because I want to make sure that population is moving
through successfully that they have a role model and someone they can talk to that has
experienced. But now what I’ve been invited into is we
have pulled all those centers together. Th Native American/indigenous,African-American,
Latinx were just going to get Yelin the same space and yell supposed to know everything
about each other. When in fact, when would that happen? *y’all So there can be a sense when you get
into those kind of spaces if social justice arrogance and “Woke Olympics” is playing out
that we can do harm to each other because we don’t know each other’s experience, language,
history, culture, the dynamic in which things play out in our particular communities. Throw in LGBTQANI and you’ve got a whole other
dynamic that shows up because in many of those spaces, we enter then not only minoritized
folks of color but often folks identify as white. So the gotcha culture. “Woke Olympics” and social justice arrogance
also posits an understanding of “intent and impact” but behaves with little to no embodiment
of it. What that means when I talk about it is we
are often we know the content of “intent and impact”
and we often hurl that to folks who have done harm maybe to focus on your impact. It’s not just about what your intent is and
I don’t care what it is and I don’t want to hear what your intent is. And while doing that, We are not paying attention
to how that is impacting the way we are engaging! It
is problematic and is a shame blame convincing converting. That’s the impact of the way we have shown
up in that conversation. There is a cognitive knowing of how intent
and impact shows up but we are not embodying that around with intention around how we can
engage when things happen. The last thing there is that when folks are
triggered in this whole “Woke Olympics” Dynamic, we are often triggered out of our minoritized
identity. I might get triggered as a Black man, but
in “Woke Olympics”, I might show up in dominance or privilege. So I sure up in arrogance and intellectual
knowing as an academic or scholar or PhD or person who has studied abroad or done all
this stuff. I show up in all the arrogance of all of my
knowing and where I come from and what I’m able to do and how I’m able to articulate
this stuff in ways that you are not to make you feel less than or that you don’t know
or to let you know how just how smart I am and how not you are. One of those sneaky ways that “Woke Olympics”
and social justice arrogance can play out is in a moment of being triggered. I am triggered and I am impacted out of my
minoritized identity but my response shows up and manifests out of dominance and privilege. Pause!>>AJIA: We are right at 4:10 PM. I want to give folks because there are lots
of questions. I wanted to make sure folks had that opportunity.>>From LaKendra H. to All Panelists:
Where might these appearance of WOJSA or “making people feel bad” when addressing inequity
or potentially tainted comments actually be pushing back against feeling called out?>>AJIA: I’m not 100 percent sure I understand
the question. I will ask it again. Where might these appearance of WOJSA or “making
people feel bad” when addressing inequity or potentially tainted comments actually be
pushing back against feeling called out.>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: I hope I am addressing this. When does”Woke Olympics” or social justice
arrogance kind of get put there or that gets named as what is happening or the feeling
that is happening when in fact what is going on is simply mean naming a dynamic or calling
someone into question and the person is responding out of discomfort for having that been called
into question. What I want to offer is that absolute is a
possibility, that I did not call you out or I did not try to convince, convert, I wasn’t
doing any of that. What I was doing was just inviting or naming
what my experience is in the room. So for example, I might name that I have experienced
every time a black person has spoken, their experience has not been acknowledged. So you are calling that “Woke Olympics”—and
this comes up in my last piece I have to check what my intention was in that. Was my intention to show how woke I was around
being able to read the room and see the dynamics? Or was my intention actually to raise to our
consciousness a pattern of behavior that is happening in the room that I am not sure other
people are noticing? So it goes back to yes, our practice of naming
and addressing and engaging dynamics of social justice, injustice, and difference can get
seen, and we could get called social justice police or showing up as social justice arrogance,
that doesn’t necessarily make it that because that is a another way that resistance will
show up. I fully get that. What I am talking about in this space is when
in fact our intention is to show up as if we know more as if we are better. So at the end of the day, what is your intention
in your comment? What was your intention in naming that for
the person?And was it about creating a space of inviting in further learning?Or was it
about getting them straight? Was it about making them wrong? That is a critical piece in how you can distinguish
and tease that out. Live in the tension of that. Someday can enable me as my interaction being
that “Woke Olympics” or social justice arrogance. What I want to do is check myself around that. Was that why something was coming out? Or that wasn’t what I was sending but you
are receiving that out of your own resistance or struggle with it being true or your privilege
or whatever. So it is a tension around intention.>>AJIA: LaKednra says thank you for giving
her the language to sit with and handle those. Another question is is there a difference
between readjusting or reinforcing behavioral norms within an organization and welcoming
fix in social justice arrogance? For example, repeatedly challenging a viewpoint
or opinion that is uninformed versus shaming someone for ignorance. What defines the difference?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Intention! [CHUCKLING] Right? Kind of the repeatedly naming, inviting folks
to consider. My intention is to reiterate yet again that
this is what is happening and this is what I am experiencing and this is what the impact
is and so on, versus my intention is to make you an idiot. My intention is to make you feel your commitment
to this issue is not real. If the intention at the end of the day is
harm and not help, then that is kind of the distinction for me. Always paying attention to that. And that’s why so importantly for me as we
are in this work is the work of self-healing, community healing, self-care, community care,
so that when we show up engaged in these conversations in this way, that we are showing up as clear
instruments. Right? And not necessarily with a legacy of unhealed
pain. We’ve got a legacy of experience and residual
impacts and all that stuff, but that’s why it is so important for there to be space for
us to navigate that battle fatigue, for us to navigate the isolation and loneliness and
emotional labor that is in place. As we navigate these things so that I can
be in it. And folks, I really cannot emphasize enough
how important it is not to make people wrong who don’t want to be in it. Or who don’t feel like they can be in it without
calling people out or taking people out. Right? So I don’t make people wrong in this space. What I am offering is how do we be most effective
in helping to move organizations and campuses forward. And why I am saying that is I have not found
shame and blame to be as effective learning tools. That’s just not what I have found. They’re just not effective learning tools. I’m not saying that they have never been useful
before because there has been a place but as an educator I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to create spaces for trauma for
folks where humanity is like it has not taken into consideration. Even when I am pissed that you like I just
can’t understand why you don’t get this. Even when I’m in that space and I have been
in those spaces often. I want to be able to do at the end of when
I lay my head on my pillow is know that I did not show up with the intention to do harm. That is a value that I hold.>>AJIA: We have three more questions. It says thank you for the three C’s. Understanding that it is important to understand
positioning them as or to surface the various perspectives and experiences in the room or
what would you—>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Take that question. Here’s what I often offer in place of the
three C’s is the three F’s. And for me the three F’s are felt, found,
and feel. So instead of convincing, converting, and
convicting, what I do as I named earlier is I invite people on a journey. Which is my journey. If I’m able to do that. It’s an intervention or a strategy that I
am talking about. So someone says like was named earlier in
the webinar I have not experienced racism as a person of color and I am married to a
white person. So in essence the unnamed syntax is I am a
person of color and this has not happened to me and I am close to white people. So there can’t be racism. Or this is not true for everybody. That is the unnamed in that as I received
it. So for me the three F’s instead of convincing,
converting, or convicting, would be first I felt the same way. When I arrived here at whatever University
is a first year student when I got here, I felt that kind of racism was just the Ku Klux
Klan. Or if someone had done a noose. I didNobody had ever called me the n word
or anything like that so I felt like it wasn’t really that much racism where I was because
I didn’t feel it. Well then I found that I was impacted by racism
even though I wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t realize I had come from the school
system they have received the second books are the third books. Didn’t realize I had come from communi and
thus for the grocery stores in that space. I didn’t realize that there were so many other
ways in which I was assumed to be the exception and that I was different than the others and
how that was a manifestation of racism. I felt and then I found that these things
also represent ways in which minoritization with the lens of race was showing up. Today I feel that as I consider how race and
racism shows up, it didn’t necessarily look like how I thought it had to look in order
for it to be. Now what I didn’t feel before, I feel it all
the time. I feel it because I didn’t have an analysis
for it before. And what I also didn’t realize was that it
wasn’t about white people being mean to me as a person necessarily. Some of that was happening at the interpersonal
level but they didn’t necessarily know that either in their comments and their microaggressions
and their implicit bias and all of those things. So I see that differently today. Felt, found, feel.>>AJIA: That is really powerful! That is a lesson in communication! We have even though we have four more questions. We have time for one more. So Kimberly asks how do you recommend Responding
when students are calling each other out within and learning environment?>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Yeah so that’s a big one
right now for us to have to navigate and deal with. That students don’t necessarily have all of
the skills to engage in the three F’s. The only way that they know to often engages
from a weaponized place. There is an energy that feels like that is
an important way. So what do we do? I will often return this to it is important
to create environments that are helpful for learning. If we are creating a space, we must start
with learning co to behave? How do we agree to operate in this experience
such that we all can be heard? And engaged learning? Is this a space for learning, is that what
we want? So then we can refer back to that. When folks are calling each other out, can
go back to our learning agreements and learning community norms to say—even if we don’t
specifically point to an incidence, we get to say is I want to remind us of our learning
community norms and agreements and invite us to take deep breaths and operate with intention
in those. That is an intervention. Another intervention might be I am experiencing
this as a judgment space. Or that comment as judgment. We agreed that we were going to withhold judgment,
we were going to seek understanding. Is anyone else feeling or experiencing that? Just to name the dynamic as you see it but
set up a way to engage that from what we have agreed and how we have agreed to operate. I do want to say really quickly just a few
less things. As you go and think about how to distinguish
things, check your intention! What is my intention in my comment? To both engage the intent and the impact as
I said earlier. Not just what is the intent of the moment,
but what is the impact of the moment you have shared what you’re thinking is. Consider the impact and the nuanced complexities
of intersectionality and intersecting identities. I don’t want us to leave this thinking this
is all easy, either or, black or white, it’s binary. It’s not, it is nuanced, it is complex, and
somethings are coming up based on intersectionality and intersecting identities. As I said earlier, intersecting based on our
identities. Remember that in our roles as educators, we
must consider what’s important for a learning environment. So I know that everyone and every time you
are engaged with a dynamic around diversity, and inclusion, you are not in the educator
role. So sometimes I will hear minoritized folks
say it is not my job to teach whoever whenever the other group, the dominant group is. As a black man come not my job to teach as
a queer man or as heterosexual. In that social identity, it is not your job. But as an educator, it is your job. So to get clear about the role in which you
are operating. My role as an educator, it is my job to educate. And what I must do then is create an environment
for learning. Outside of your role as an educator—and
that is a whole other webinar of how do we distinguish those faces—and maybe as a black
men as I walk into the airport, I am not in the role as social justice educator. If someone says the wrong thing, in might
be a long day and I might be tired and I might not be educating, I might have something to
say! But when I get to my class and get to my session,
that is a different thing. And remember we are all doing the best we
can most of the time. Most of the people who show up not as effective
did not get up this morning saying they’re looking to do some racism or transphobia today. It’s Tuesday, let me see what I’m going to
do. Most of us don’t show up with the intention
to do others harm. I’m not saying that some of that is not out
there but I do want us to pay attention to being with people and offering them some grace.>>AJIA: Dr. Washington, Rev. Dr. Washington,
thank you so much for your expertise nd skill and knowledge for this webinar. I couldn’t be happier. I just have one crazy story to tell. I attended Dr. Washington’s session at NCORE
and I ran up to him and said you have to do this webinar! And I just want to let everybody know that
I convinced him to do this webinar! This is not generally how webinar facilitators
work, there is a very formalized abstract process that I follow in order to identify
folks but I felt like this was a really important webinar to start our school year off with. As we do this work, that we think about how
we do this work best. And this is a really great frame to start
the semester with. So thank you very much! Participants, you all will get a survey by
email tomorrow. Please fill the survey out, it helps us to
strengthen our webinar program. Thank you and have a wonderful afternoon everyone!>>REV. DR. JAMIE WASHINGTON: Have a great semester!




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