Re: conflict sources -ism education
From: Christy Collins (
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 07:08:03 -0600 (MDT)

This brings up something I've been wondering about: how common is it for communities to agree to do workshopping / education around the various -isms that inevitably are an issue in community life. We are, at this point, saying that we'd like to have all kinds of diversity in our community, and I am thinking that we need to be ACTIVE in educating ourselves and exercising anti-racism, ageism, sexism, homophobia, etc. My feelings about this come from participating in online communities that had a lot of trouble dealing with this issue, with marginalized groups repeatedly getting insulted by posters who needed a lot of education - often, these posters were people who were sure that they were the most liberal, sensitive people around.

Is awareness and education about these issues a regular, active part of life for any existing communities?

-Christy Collins
Columbia County, NY

On Thursday, May 22, 2003, at 08:15 AM, Catya Belfer-Shevett wrote:

To add another arena, from a group yet again back to land search..

(this is, of course, only my personal take, and i'm not speaking for the group.)

I'd say our largest recurring conflict, or perhaps recurring heavily-emotional-issue, has been how newer folks to the group deal with those of us who are out of the closet as poly and/or queer. Three aspects generally show up - personal comfort, PR, and marketing.

We have some stuff in place to try to deal with this, and we get better at it with each semi-regular meltdown about it, but WOW is it hard.

Our current solutions include:

PR: Strategy - keep a low profile
1 - no links to personal home pages off of the website, and no full names on the website. 2 - keeping those of us who are out of the closet, especially with easily web-searchable names and web presence, out of town meetings, newspapers, press contact, etc.

Marketing / Prospectives: be open about it
The last thing we want is to surprise anyone months down the road, so from introductory meetings (which i run) onward, people who are out of the closet stay out of the closet.

Personal Comfort:
1 - Mentors check in with new folks to see if they have any questions / concerns
2 - Q&A and discussion as needed

Advice on this one is welcome, I could really do without completely derailing the work of the group onto people melting down about this stuff, again.

        - catya
Catya Belfer-Shevett  ____\  /      Interested in
catya [at]       \  / \/      Cohousing in MA?          \/
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