Academic vs. praxis of Anti-Oppression

The shared language used to signal safety. It used to identify the practice. We used to have to earn the anti-oppression education by demonstrating our ability to put it into practice.

People used to have to show up at organizing meeting to learn these things. We had to make mistakes publicly and get called out. We were taught how to take the calling-out respectfully. And we only deserved continued attention and education if we took the learning to heart and curbed our defensive reactions. And we were really building trust and acceptance this way.

Now the language has been popularized through books and other publications, and everyone can learn the language now. It no longer signals the membership in the group of people who practice it. In fact, people are picking up the term “praxis” from reading.

If you try to call people out on hypocrisy, they even have the language to dispute that too.

This has really shaken the community. We no longer know how to tell who does or doesn’t have the practice of anti-oppression. AND the society doesn’t know that either, so the implicit classism causes people to listen to and promote people with advanced degrees, rather than experienced activists.

This is a recent problem. And we haven’t figured out a solution.

For now, trust your gut. Does this person have the skill to make you feel alive and reflective, even while calling you out, or does talking to this person make you feel like an autopilot or a part of you just got silenced.

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