Unpacking Race 2016, Part 5:
"Solidarity Means Running the Same Risks"

In early 2016, T.O. Philly hosted a workshop series on race and undoing racism. Each week we posted material here for folks both in and outside of the workshop to use. Each page archived here contains things to read, watch, hear and do:
"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
       -- Lilla Watson, Indigenous Australian activist and academic
In our workshop this week we discussed the risks and benefits of taking action against racism. We've started a list of examples: acts of solidarity that can look very different from each other, but all interrupt racism in their own ways.

What other acts of anti-racist solidarity do you know of? Journal about them. And send us links to more examples with by emailing "tophilly@gmail.com"

Below are some terms that are helpful in understanding this work. First the basics on Power, Privilege, and Oppression:
  • Institutional Power: The ability or authority to decide what's best for others, to decide who can access resources, and to exercise control over others.
  • Privilege: Personal, interpersonal, cultural, and institutional systems that benefit members of dominant groups at the expense of members of target groups. Literally means "Private law."
  • Oppression: The combination of prejudice and institutional power which creates a system that discriminates against some groups (often called “target groups”) and benefits other groups (often called “dominant groups”).  

Next are five main archetypes of roles played out in Theatre of the Oppressed, and also in real situations of oppression: 
  • Oppressed: Anyone who is subject to others having power over them.
  • Ally: A person with privilege who takes action in support of oppressed people. 
  • Potential ally: A person who has some power to help an oppressed individual or group but may not have taken actions to actually help.
  • Passive oppressor: A person who oppresses by taking actions that support oppression and/or failing to take action to help the oppressed.
  • Oppressor: A person who exerts power over another person or group of people. 

Finally some terminology that's specific to (though not unique to) Theatre of the Oppressed:
  • Image: A motionless sculpture made from human figures.
  • Image Theatre: A form of Theatre of the Oppressed that uses collectively constructed still images to convey meaning.
  • Objective Observation: Responding to an image or situation with commentary on its physical nature alone.
  • Subjective Observation: Responding to an image or situation with commentary based on investigative perception, speculation and intuition. 
  • Dynamization: The process of adding movements, sounds and words into a piece of Image Theatre.
  • Spect-actor: A participant in the Theatre of the Oppressed, both spectator and actor.
For more terminology used in Theatre of the Oppressed, see our glossary.

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