As in previous years’ “Challenging Oppressive Statements” workshops, I found that most of the people attending this workshop find it frustrating when exposed to a statement they feel is oppressive to others. They usually express a desire to have some helpful tools to express their feelings about derogatory or abusive statements that others make when they hear them. The problem is that unless we have learned and practiced ways of expressing our concerns about behaviors like that, we have a tendency to escalate the violent behavior or just go away feeling frustrated.
The people attending this workshop were given some examples of how to think about the behavior in a way that may be helpful to decompress the frustration and speak out in a way that can be helpful to themselves, and to people who make insensitive, or abusive, generalized statements about others, often without realizing the harm they may be causing.
With a little guidance and encouragement given in the workshop, a little practice in small group sessions, and a handout they can use to construct further thought and practice for effective responses, I am hopeful the people attending this workshop went away with some feeling of empowerment to deal with these kinds of difficult encounters in their futures.