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Day 13: 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Welcome to Day 13.  Missing something?  Go here to start Day 1 and here for yesterday
Watch John Powell’s brief talk (7 minutes) on “opportunity structures.”
How do you see these structures playing out in your community/state/region?
How can we shift efforts to “fix people,” in the direction of “fixing structures” that create more opportunities for more people, and especially those who lack opportunity?

Post responses in comments section below.  We encourage you to share on Facebook and/or Twitter, too, with hashtag #IDPEquityChallenge.

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This is a superficial

This is a superficial observation but the very first thing I noticed is that no part of Professor powell's name is capitalized. At first, I thought that was either a very unfortunate oversight or an example of a micro aggression. Then I saw that even he doesn't capitalize any part of his own name even on his PowerPoint slides. That got me very curious to know more.

I also particularly loved his observation that sometimes we need to give different things to different people. Like the guy in the wheelchair needing to get upstairs. He needs different resources than someone who is not in a wheelchair. That's an example that's non-controversial and easily accepted. Would the same principle, applied to race or other such factors, be as widely embraced?

Process of Othering

Listening to this today seems very relevant. Who is inside the circle of concern? What happens when you fall out of the circle of concern? There is a personal circle as well as a cultural circle. Where are they located within structures?

It is easier to think of changing the circumstances of the individual rather than the structures. When the picture of the Syrian boy is being circulated on FB I think it easier to think about that boy but struggle to understand how to solve the larger issue of how to deal with the refugees. The systems feel large and difficult to change but giving your heart to the one is much easier to consume.

At the end of the video, he asks: How do we actually a maintain a healthy vibrant inclusive democracy? That is what we should be aiming for.

Right now we feel a bit backward to all of this but maybe a step back helps us have a window into the step forward we really need to take.

Othering is Universal

The practice of othering exists in all cultures and enables violence and injustice, even in traditional cultures (like the Korowai of New Guinea).  Of course I do it too and am so curious about what it takes to stop us from doing this and to open our circle of concern.  One way that is useful for individuals is lovingkindness meditation, there's evidence it grows compassion for groups that we have biases against. 

Structurally, it feels overwhelming to know where to begin.  Might start with compassionate law-making:  laws that are created and enforced that protect rather than punish.  That focus on what is best for the collective good rather than blaming and/or holding individuals responsible. 

Renee, it does feel a bit backward today and hard. 

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