This week in house news there was a instance of crossing boundaries…what could have been a simple conversation where one party accepted that they had crossed the other party’s boundaries has turned into a week long nightmare of gaslighting and crying and now we can’t live together anymore.
Let’s get real folks…WE ALL CROSS EACH OTHERS BOUNDARIES FROM TIME TO TIME! If we are singularly unable to accept that our behavior made someone uncomfortable or unsafe then we are not committed to being anti-oppression. Most callouts can be simple conversations between the crosser and the crossed, and resolution can be met (the crosser gets an opportunity to work through their shit). All communication ceases when the crosser attempts to make it about them and their hangups and when they are unable to amend the previous oppressive behavior. Seriously even if you are a somewhat polite person someone saying “hey that thing you did made me uncomfortable” should result in sincere apology and attempts TO NOT DO THAT THING AGAIN.
Does this mean that we should walk on glass shards around each other or that folks should make every disagreement into a formal process…NO. Sometimes folks who could otherwise be great friends to each other step all over each others buttons when living together simply by being themselves. Some people cannot get along. Sometimes we need to admit that we are not all capable of being besties even for the sake of a mutually held ethical stance.It is ok!
I would like to come back to this conversation some time in the future but for now I leave you with some things I would like to see in radical anti-oppression communities:
No excuses for perpetrators.
Stop making life miserable for each other through endless trolling, vicious gossip, and scapegoating (not to be confused with legitimately telling perps to GTFO).
Take safe space seriously (and actually know that safe space is imperfect and occasionally we still need to have tough conversations).
Be willing to tell someone to GTFO if they are toxic, perps, unwilling to be held accountable.
Being kind but certainly not permissive (this does not mean that anyone has to non-consensually “teach” oppressive folks)to those who are newer and encourage growth of anti-oppressive ideas.
Take personal responsibility for our actions.(Neuro diversity, disability, triggers, etc does not excuse shitty behavior).
Ask don’t demand support and respect that folks might not have enough spoons to help (and that doesn’t mean they don’t care).
Admit that language is a powerful tool to liberate or oppress…modify socialized ways of talking to foster inclusion and bring the end to oppressive speech, jokes, or memes (be open to further modification when folks highlight behavior you didn’t previously recognize as oppressive).
Apologize sincerely…make amends sincerely…stop replicating the power games that are played in society because that shit is divisive and oppressive…be fucking real in your interactions