Working for racial justice is a shift in perspective—a shift in understanding and empathy that leads to a change in our actions: to listen instead of talk, to follow instead of lead, to yield rather than dominate. And to accept that I will continue to mess up. Part of working to undo racism is having the humility to know when our own understanding is limited. Read on for more this, and how it relates to meditation -- plus personal and collective liberation.
The existing unequal risks and impacts people of certain race, class and identities face in society is magnified in these strenuous times -- especially with things such as illness, financial well being, discrimination, attacks, and death. As responsive NVC practitioners we can stand in solidarity with those who are differentially impacted. Read on for this, and additional ways to spot common pitfalls of doing so.
Amidst racial violence, there are things that NVC can offer. And there are places where NVC culture needs to be more vigilant. Here are examples of where, amidst incredible loss and pain, "allies" and communities commonly (and often unknowingly) create false equivalences, minimization and re-injure those who've been historically marginalized -- even when they offer empathy, or aim to stay "safe". Read on to cultivate greater understanding and ways to respond differently.
"All humans share the same needs" -- tragically, this idea can hide the reality that some people with less power in society have needs that go unmet to a greater extent, much longer, and with more dire consequences. Often, when the marginalized bring up experiences related to their membership in a certain group, their pain isn't acknowledged, and focus shifts to the listener's discomfort. The concept of universal human needs can be used to silence and minimize their pain. Read on for how to proceed.
How much money to pay? And how much money to ask for? The supply and demand logic basically say that we ask for the most that “the market can absorb” and pay “the least that we can get away with.” We can instead, we can engage in experiments that focus on connecting to and satisfying needs. We can also engage with our varying degrees of access to resources within the existing economy and consider how we want to make choices about resources, especially when we have access to power.
Our world trains us to think in terms of providing for everyone’s needs because they deserve it, earned it, or they possess the resources -- it's fair, socially just, supports equality or because people have rights. Instead, can we step outside this worldview to look at providing for everyone’s needs because those needs exist -- can we hold this basic reverence for life? Are we able to have a needs-based dialogue when such a reframe could alienate those who live in the worldview of earn/deserve?
When someone's in immense pain and uses words that are hard to hear, see if you can bring in as much attention and compassion as you would to someone who was cut with a sword. Focusing on what's important to them, and not so much on how it was said. This may support greater understanding and healing. Otherwise, we risk prioritizing needs, norms, and inequities of the dominant culture, over caring for people who bear the invisible brunt of such norms.
The more we can support an interdependent flow of resources and energy in society and the economy, the greater we can increase both natural abundance and the chances of averting extinction. Accumulation is a strategy born of mistrust. It’s an attempt to control the flow of life to guarantee that we will have enough for the future. Accumulation and exchange has blocked this interdependent flow. We can transform this blockage by uncoupling giving from receiving, and shedding excess as much as we can, so that energy and resources can travel further to those in need.
In learning how to re-invent the economic system so that it distributes resources in a way that includes as many people's needs as possible, we would need to be in a process of mutual influence with one another. However, addressing resource distribution can be complex when people in different social locations have 1.)a different sense of what's considered "enough" 2.) different capacities to find creative strategies that work within the given limitations, and 3.)different levels of self-doubt, shame and capacity to put their concerns and needs on the table. Can we collectively create conditions that support people to stretch productively so that included in the outcome are the needs, perspectives, ideas, and concerns of people who are less powerful? What needs to be in place to support the way towards a better future?
What can we do when someone tells us we're contributing to a pattern we're genuinely not seeing (nor experiencing)? What makes these patterns visible to some people but not others? This article addresses these things by talking about what to factor in when receiving feedback; handling feedback; responding relationally; paying attention to social location; considering impact; plus, broadening our perspective to bring in greater care and awareness.