This month, I want to build upon a question Maddy Frey (last month’s RAD guest) was reflecting on, which was (1) recognizing the power held and (2) wrestling with whether or not we should be giving up that power (knowing it’s at least in part a derivative of privilege and social capital).
I’m particularly drawn to this as we seek to radically reimagine, because of the power and privilege that inherently accompanies the position in society to do that. The fact that we (three educated, white-identifying folks) can use that word and grab some attention is a symbol of the embedded power structures. Do we give that up? Join me while I take a step back to better reflect on that.
In my own journey of understanding my privilege and positioning myself to be the ally needed (versus the ally I think I should be), I’ve struggled to escape the ongoing white guilt – one that feels like it could be absolved through giving up my power.
Although relinquishing space is fine and appropriate in some contexts, in many of the situations I’d consider doing so, the redistribution (if it even occurred) would be paternalistic at best. Instead of sitting in that admitted place of privilege, I have renewed focus to better understand how I can be leveraging my social capital, privilege, and positions of power to allow others to reimagine the space. It’s felt refreshing and action-oriented and something that moves beyond the space of being apologetic. I’m excited to share more during our conversation happening later this month.
What about you? As you’ve considered your own context, how do you see social capital and power showing up in your work? How are you (or could you) be conscious of that power and intentional about using it to radically reimagine?
~Deven Wisner, March 1, 2021