[permaculture] Re-Racism 101.

andylang andylang at gn.apc.org
Thu Feb 28 22:45:54 EST 2008

Thanks to rafter, michael, flick and others for making the effort to  
introduce some good thinking on the topic of racism to us permies.

Here's my take on it: -

As a white man I am sure that, whether I want them or not and whether  
I can see them clearly or not, I have been raised with racist beliefs  
and patterns. Thus one of my current pieces of self-liberation work is  
to explore how these destructive beliefs show up, how they were laid  
in and how I can loosen their grip so that they do not interfere with  
my capacity to create good designs that roll out well in diverse  

I have chosen to take what I see as a pretty logical stance on the  
subject of myself and my oppressor beliefs and patterns. It goes like  
this: - because I have been raised as a man I am bound to have hidden,  
embedded oppressor patterns towards women (sexism); because I have  
been raised as middle-class I am bound to have hidden, embedded  
oppressor patterns towards working class people and people raised poor  
and, further, to have internalized oppressions running around owning  
class people (classism).

I also know that, as a man, I have been deeply oppressed by the  
militarism, economic imperatives and emotional impoverishment that our  
culture dishes out to us men.

It helps me a great deal to acknowledge these issues (and I did not  
always have the sense to do this) because now I know that these  
dysfunctional memes are hiding somewhere in my psyche I can go after  
them in a systematic way and, bit by bit, eliminate their capacity to  
corrode my integrity. Nowadays, instead of feeling bad about this  
stuff, or wasting heaps of energy denying I have it, I feel positive  
about my progress in facing up to it and stopping it running in my  
life quite so much.

For me there is no way that I can expect to be truly effective in  
facilitating widespread, integrative and constructive changes in the  
world until I am ready to work on eliminating this nasty, de- 
humanizing stuff.

I'm so glad to see this thread entering permaculture consciousness -  
as Bill Mollison said, early in his permaculture career when asked how  
he expected to transform the world's agriculture on his own, 'well,  
now there's at least 3 of us'.

And, as for the hands-on bit, I am happy to share my (effective)  
methods around understanding oppression and how to go about liberating  
myself from being either a victim or a perpetrator ...

All the best

Andy Langford

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