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Anti-Oppression Training

MSO. September 2013.

YFS Campaigns

on 3 September 2013

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Transcript of Anti-Oppression Training

MSO Staff Training - September 2013

Anti-Oppression Training
Why do
Questions and comments are valuable and welcome
Speak for yourself. Use "I" language
Maintain confidentiality
Be willing to make mistakes and learn from each other
Share ideas openly and respect differences
You do not have to reveal anything you are not comfortable discussing in a group setting
To understand equity
To provide an understanding of how power and privilege operate
To become mindful of different forms and effects of oppression and power dynamics
To become an ally
To begin to combat oppressive ideas on campus and in society.
To understand your power in your roles as MSO staff and learn to create a safe(r) and inclusive environment for students.
A way of exposing a participant's identity

An exercise that shames privilege

An exercise that takes away your individual power or agency
The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities
Equality is about "sameness"
A formal 'equality' approach means that the rules are the same for everyone.
This approach assumes that if the same rules are applied to everyone, it will produce equal results
"Equity" is a multi-layered approach.
Equity is about fairness
Acknowledges that marginalized communities experience discrimination differently based on the context of lived experiences
This approach acknowledges that there is not just one way to combat systemic barriers
Key Terms
“An invisible package of unearned assets that [one]can count on cashing in each day, but about which [we are] "meant" to remain oblivious….it is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions and blank checks.” -Peggy McIntosh
"Power is not to be crossed; one must respect and obey. Power means strength..." -Saul Alinsky
White privilege
I can turn on the television, open the front page of the paper, buy books, postcards, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's books and see people of my race widely represented.

I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

I can chose blemish cover, bandages and make-up in "flesh" colour and have them more or less match my skin.
Heterosexual Privilege
I can travel with my spouse or partner without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

I do not fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.

My children are given lessons and texts which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
Male Privilege
My textbooks and other classroom materials reflect people of my sex as heroes, nation-builders and leaders while there is little mention of the contributions of any other sex to our society.

I never worry my clothing choices will reflect on my sex or put my personal safety at risk.

My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex.
A note on Anti-Oppression
Anti-oppression is a process.

Because we have all been socialized into a system of domination, anti-oppression is a life-long process of unlearning, relearning and resisting.
How to be an ally
Treat others how they would like to be treated. Ask about boundaries and always ask for consent.

Acknowledge privilege. Dissolve guilt.

Make mistakes. Don't repeat them.

Educate yourself. You are no one else's responsibility.

Respect the community's wishes. Those with the experience know best. Fall back.

Another's experience does not invalidate your own but it should and does complicate your own.

Your ally card expires everyday.

Our identities are shaped through systems of power relations, and through experiences of oppression.

The word "intersectionality" was coined by critical legal theorist Kimberly Williams Crenshaw to explain how race and gender oppression interact in black women's lives.

Thank YOU!
Safiyah Husein
Vice-President Equity
York Federation of Students,
Local 68-Canadian Federation of Students
336 Student Centre

“Of all the weapons of destruction that man could invent, the most terrible-and the most powerful-was the word. Daggers and spears left traces of blood; arrows could be seen at a distance. Poisons were detected in the end and avoided. But the word managed to destroy without leaving clues.”
-Paulo Coelho

A group or combination of interrelated, interdependent, or interacting elements forming a collective entity; A Combination of social power, institutional power, cultural norms and individual actions

An irrational feeling of dislike for a person or group of persons. Prejudice is usually unconscious and is based on stereotype(s).

Takes place the moment a person acts on prejudice.

A pattern or system of inequality that gives power and privileges to members of one group of people at the expense of another.

Working in an anti-oppressive framework involves making your views of the world large enough to include everyone—looking for ways to make connections among different people’s struggles and finding ways to think about how issues affect different people in different ways.

Patterns of discrimination against non-whites that are institutionalized through government legislation, cultural "norms," representation in the media, etc.


The violent taking of land, wealth and labour of indigenous peoples through domination & conquest leading to their extermination in some cases, and a Trans-Atlantic slave trade which created an underclass based on race and gender that persists today.

Recurring patterns of discrimination based on perceived sex and targeting women. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a group are privileged over women as a group.
Able-Bodied Privilege
I can spontaneously participate in activities. I do not have to pre-plan my trip or outing in order to get around
I can be assured that assumptions about my mental capabilities will not be made based on my physical status
I can do well in challenging situation very often without being told what an inspiration I must be to other able-bodied people.
CIS Gender
A cis-gender person is someone who identifies as the gender/sex they were assigned at birth. For example, your birth certificate says female, and you identify as a female woman.

What Anti-Oppression Training is NOT:
Truth Moment
This training is meant to challenge us and can sometimes take us outside our comfort zone.

If you are uncomfortable at any point, you can:
Bring it up during the session
Bring your concerns to the facilitator privately, following the session
E-mail or call the facilitator with your concerns/comments/questions
Means having the ability to change the way things are.

The ability of people- in particular the least privileged- to access resources, obtain goods and services and participate in the development of public policy and decisions that affect them.
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