TED x Allyson Robinson

Posted by – February 25, 2013

I suppose I can say “we knew her when” as Allyson was a member of our community forums for a long while.

To me, these are the standout pieces, but do go listen to the whole thing:

” In our society, and in all the groups and subgroups and sub-subgroups that comprise it, we treat inclusion as a good, a commodity. The work we do to secure this good for ourselves is conformity. It’s true, isn’t it? We perform a labor – we wear a particular kind of clothes, we speak in a particular way, we show interest in a particular set of things, we adhere to the norms of a particular group – and we’re rewarded by that group with included status. When we do the work of conforming, it’s like we’re buying inclusion; when we require others to conform in order to be included, we sell it. Are you with me? This takes place in a particularly transparent way among children and youth in traditional educational settings — think cliques — but we all do it. Our methods just become more sophisticated and more subtle as we mature.

And so we create a market, where buyers and sellers of inclusion come together to trade and the forces of supply and demand affect costs. In the social inclusion marketplace, a person’s ability to gain entry into a group is limited by the price she’s able and willing to pay, the norms she can and will adhere to. For some, those whose natural inclinations and disposition line up with the group’s norms, it’s literally a small price to pay. They receive the good of inclusion, and their need for belongingness is met, simply by virtue of who they are, like a privilege. But what of everyone else?”

and this:

” … we teach the natural conformers that norming others into submission and sameness is an ethical practice that brings about a common good. In fact, we teach that homogeneity is a common good, contrary to our message of respect for diversity and difference. We instruct non-conformers in the internalization of oppression, and everyone else to become oppressors themselves … “

And I’m so pleased to see her doing this kind of work, and doing it so well.

1 Comment on TED x Allyson Robinson

  1. Emily says:

    Inclusion as a commodity. Simply beautifully presented. It’s like the subtext of what I felt that Lana Wachowski was saying in her speech to the HRC last fall. The struggle for identity, and yet the unavoidable link between identity and inclusion, being unable to develop ourselves in the absence of acceptance for that self. Really, really a thoughtful piece – and yet the language and idea is broad enough to span all the specialized aspects of inclusion.

    And Alysson gets to talk about being trans *and* being a teacher! Somewhere there is a community that is getting a grasp of inclusion and the value brought to the community through practicing diversity.

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