These WORKING ASSUMPTIONS are offered as a philosophical framework, a foundation, for this justice workshop.
- Oppression is pervasive and hurts us all, but NOT in the same ways.
- Racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and every form of oppression is both a system of oppression AND a system of advantage.
- All prejudice was TAUGHT to us, and we resisted this teaching.
If we choose to, we can UN-LEARN it.
- None of us “invented” oppression; it is a legacy we inherited. Though its creation is not our fault, we must now accept responsibility for our role in its continued existence.
- All prejudices and oppressions are interwoven and entangled.
- “There is no hierarchy of oppression.” Trying to rank one group’s pain over another distracts us and prevents us from dismantling any and all oppression.
- All of us have had the experience as a target of oppression, as well as the experience of privilege.
- There is no such thing as “passive anti-oppression.” We are either actively working against oppression or we are colluding with it, allowing it to continue in our name.
- Individuals, organizations and communities can and do grow and change.
- Our commitment to eliminating all forms of injustice must be a lifelong one.
- Difference among humans is NOT a deficit. Cultural diversity is a gift.
(1995 – cultural bridges to justice; #6: essay title by Audre Lorde; #1 & 3: adapted from the work of Ricky Sherover-Marcuse; #2: David T. Wellman)