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CSA Anti-Oppression Training

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Transcript of CSA Anti-Oppression Training

Session Overview
Session Agreements
Activity: Power Shuffle
What is Equity
Systems of Oppression
Systems of Advantage
The Power of Language
Strategies for building an inclusive students' movement

Session Agreements:
Honor confidentiality: anything shared in this room stays within the group
This is a dialogue, not a debate:
agree to disagree
Respect yourself and others unconditionally
Share the mic: use the step back, step forwards model
Use "I" statements, speak for yourself
Actively listen: other people's words are gifts
Session Agreements
What is Equity?
Equity vs. Equality
Equality refers to a state of being the same
Activity: Power Shuffle
It is our differences that divide us.
CSA Anti-Oppression Training
Give caring feedback
It is okay to express your emotions
Take responsibility for your own learning - ask for what you need
Do not challenge others' lived experience:
everyone is the expert of their own experience
We're here to learn and un-learn together

It is our inability to
and celebrate
those differences.
Audre Lorde
Equity refers to a state of being just and fair
is based on the concept that everyone in society has the same status
this means that treating everyone the same should result in the same outcome
Equity vs. Equality
equity recognizes that people have diverse identities and need different things based on their experiences of discrimination and marginalization
identifying people's needs based on their social identity
treating everyone the same can perpetuate unjust power systems
giving everyone a shoe
giving everyone a shoe
that fits
Why do we talk about equity?
an irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of people.
you can be prejudiced but still a fair person if you're conscious of your prejudices and are careful not to act on them or further perpetuate any systems that encourage them

to act on prejudice
to treat people unfairly based on their sex, race, ethnicity, class, religion, martial or family status, sexual orientation, age or disability, either unconsciously or deliberately
discrimination and prejudice that manifest itself and impact people's lives
oppression can exist:
person-to-person (individual acts)
on an institutional level
on a societal level
Systems of Advantage
Systems combine social power, institutional power (policies and practices), cultural power and individual actions.
systems of advantage benefit some at the cost of others
specific forms of discrimination
'categories' in which discrimination and oppression occur
many times multiple 'isms' intersect in people's lives, and different times and at the intersection of different identities and experiences
“Not talking about money is a tool of class war. A culture that forbids employees from comparing salaries helps companies pay women and minorities less. Ignoring the mercenary grit behind success leads to quasi-religious abundance gurus claiming you can visualize your way to wealth.
… It’s easy to say that if people are just good enough, work hard enough, ask enough, believe enough, they will be like us.

But it’s a lie. Winning does not scale. We may be free beings, but we are constrained by an economic system rigged against us. What ladders we have are being yanked away. Some of us will succeed. The possibility of success is used to call the majority of people failures.”
the system isn't broken, it's built that way
the ability to do something
the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events

Systemic advantages based on certain characteristics that are celebrated by society and preserved through institutions. In North America, these can include being white, having money, being heterosexual, not having a disability etc. Frequently people are unaware that these characteristics should be understood as privileges as they are so effectively normalized
Privilege is unearned
Power + Privilege
the use of advantages that allow some groups to have preference over or dominate others
we are not always aware that we have power + privilege
Activity: the power of language
Gender Identity
avoid gender specific language
use masculine pronouns only when referring to males
endearing terms are demeaning/patronizing
take the time to listen and which pronouns people prefer using
'folks,' or 'people,' as a substitute for 'guys'
self-identification vs. societal prescription
do not use a person's disability as a way to identify them
disabilities can be invisible
avoid 'handi-capped,' 'challenged'
if retarded is in your vocabulary, find synonyms
Questions? Support?
Brittany Skelton: csalocal@uoguelph.ca

Sonali Menezes: csaext@uoguelph.ca
Because we have to!
How else are we to treat on another (more closely) to fairly? How else are we to create safe(er) spaces on campus? Or make sure that the diverse voices of students are represented and heard?
Who do we prioritize?
What structures do we challenge?
Let's talk about Dictionary definitions!
- who's has control over language/definitions/dictionaries
- who does this language/these definitions benefit?
System of disadvantage based on race. Racism isn't about attitude, it's about power.
a system that privileges able-bodied and able-minded people and discriminates against and disenfranchises people with disabilities
can look like: absence of ramps and elevators that inhibits the movement of folks with limited mobility/people in wheelchairs
can feel like: isolation when hidden disabilities like mental illness are ignored or dismissed as 'excuses' instead as being seen to barriers to participation
Anti-black racism: what is it?
Why is it important that we specifically address anti-black racism in our community (socially, individually and institutionally?)
What does BIPOC mean?
The fear, disgust, hatred or mistreatment of individuals who are trans or whose gender identity does not represent or differs from mainstream norms
Can look like: public services like healthcare and gender specific washrooms that are nor accessible to trans and gender non-conforming folks
Can feel like: disproportionate levels of violence against trans women and the continued denial of trans women in women only spaces
Preferred pronouns!
Refers to the legacy of exercising gendered power. System of advantage the privileges the masculine and downgrades the feminine.
The assumption that heterosexuality is the only valid sexuality. Heterosexism can express itself through assumptions, expectations,values and/or verbally. We see heterosexism play out through dominant narratives in the media etc
the violent taking of land, wealth and labour of indigenous peoples through domination, conquest and violence. Colonialism serves the needs of the dominant group + privileges Western institutions, customs and ideas.
Canada has a long history of colonization including genocide of the Indigenous peoples of Canada through (including but not limited to) the use of the Residential schooling system in Canada
Can Look like
: disproportionately low representation of Indigenous people within the post secondary system, and incredible high percentage of MMIW. Halloween costumes like "Pocahantas" and "Indian Warrior," which mocks traditional attire.
Can feel like
: Anger surrounding issues like the violation of treaty rights, stolen land and being prevented from speaking Indigenous languages in school
Can sound like
: racial slurs and referenced to "redskins," and "Indians," in popular culture, as well as assumptions that Indigenous people don't pay taxes.
Earliest school opened in 19th century, last school closed in 1996.
In total, 150,000 students forced to attend
Territory: Attawandaron (neutral people)
There's a colonial process which we have and continue to benefit from in order to be here in Guelph. How do we go beyond a land acknowledgment / apology and actively work to decolonize?
What does it mean to prioritize BIPOC voices and ensure there are BIPOC spaces?
Reverse Racism?
physical, anatomical sexual markers
Gender Identity:
Self conception of one's own gender
Sexual orientation:
who one is attracted to
Gender role:
public, social and/ or perceived expectations of gender expression

NOTE: prescribed sex does not determine gender identity, sexual orientation or gender roles!

: the gender you were assigned at birth is the gender you continue to identify with
the gender you were assigned at birth is NOT the gender you currently identify with

Cultural Appropriation
the appropriation of elements of one culture (marginalized) by another (dominant) culture. Cultural appropriation dis-empowers groups by; mocking people's cultural identities, perpetuating stereotypes, referencing histories of slavery, violence, genocide and colonization. It takes power away from peoples' control over their own cultural identities and gives power to dominant groups (i.e. groups that hold social power)
Coined by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw in 1980's to describe how oppression is not a singular process (cannot just consider gender when talking about feminism for example) but is a huge system of converging systems (race, ability, class, sexulaity etc all impact people's identities and experiences)
People experience marginalization in different ways at the 'intersection' of 'isms' which multiply, compound and create new forms of discrimination.
eg. a white, cisgendered woman experiences sexism
a trans-woman of colour experiences transphobia, trans-misogyny, racism (and at the intersection of these 'ism' she will be impacted by oppression by many, many other systems of disadvantage.
The Voice of the Media:
What is it? How does it impact society and who holds social power?
Whose voices/view/ narratives are represented?
Who benefits?
" We cannot blame the most vulnerable bodies in a system, we must condemn the system. It is not the fault of young black men that they look 'suspicious,' they never had a chance in a system that defines blackness as 'suspicious, dark, evil'.
Did you know Black used to refer to life because it was the colour of soil and white used to refer to death because it was the colour of bones? The system isn't broken, it was designed this way".
-Kim Katrin Milan
Activity: Take 5 minutes to

Brainstorm some systems of advantage that

from.Then we'll share with the group!
Last Activity:
In groups, come up with a list of ways that you will apply your new anti-oppression training to the work that you currently do on campus!

You have 15 minutes and then we'll share with everyone and brainstorm some more ideas based on the type of work that each of us does!
Thanks for participating!
Understanding anti-oppression is a process, not something you can be credited with 'completing'
We are constantly in the process of learning and unlearning, none of us are experts!!
Take the knowledge and questions you have today and take ownership of your own learning and unlearning
Full transcript