HFF22: ACCESS COMMITTEE LISTENING SESSION PUBLIC NOTES
by bella luna ·
HFF22: ACCESS COMMITTEE LISTENING SESSION PUBLIC NOTES – JULY 16, 2022
The following questions were posed by our access committee and answered by members of the community. This roundtable discussion was a great opportunity for us to learn from each other’s experiences.
What is a microaggression?
- Microaggressions are exactly what it sounds like, a micro aggression. You may not even be aware that you are guilty of it in the moment, but that doesn’t lessen the harm they cause.
- This video provides a comprehensive definition of microaggressions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450
What does intention vs. impact look like in our community?
- It may be well-intentioned, but the impact of an action can spread far beyond the original intention.
- Sometimes it’s very small things. (Microaggressions)
- What we are trying to do is find our ‘knowledge gaps’ so that we can deal with them as we need to.
- Is our intent coming off as we intended?
- Is everyone being heard?
- The intention may be to make it more accessible, but if the impact separates some people in order for them to access a different version of it, then it is not truly accessible in the first place.
- We use pronouns and land acknowledgements because we are in a different place of learning now. In the past, we weren’t thinking of things like visual descriptions, but we’re getting used to thinking in a more intersectional way.
- We have new information and new ways of doing things.
- It takes a while for that to be a part of our normal procedures.
- Language is important.
- Acknowledging that words like ‘blindspot’ are a form of microaggression.
- Another is when the response to “where are you from?” is America, and yet the inquirer keeps pushing.
- What to do when someone tells you you’ve said something that is a microaggression?
- Acknowledge the impact, identify the issue, apologize, and learn from it.
How do you apologize to someone after causing harm? What does taking responsibility look like after a mistake has been made?
- Marginalized communities are NOT responsible for educating individuals
- They are tired of being responsible for explaining when something wrong happens.
- Ask people in your own circle, watch videos, read, listen to podcasts, etc.
- Acknowledge that people make mistakes so that there’s room to grow
- We all are ‘speaking in draft’ here.
- Not being afraid of ‘cancel culture’ allows us to apologize and change.
- If people are scared of being canceled then their immediate reaction will be to defend themselves.
- Art should have a certain sense of joy and comradery.
- Have a personal understanding of why it is important to show up for these conversations and put this work in.
- Accountability culture allows for empathy and deeper understanding.
- How do we acknowledge the intention while also holding ourselves accountable to the impact?
- How do we get comfortable breaking things down and feel safe having difficult discussions?
Calling Up Justice: What does being ‘canceled’ actually look like in our community?
- Is cancel culture a form of bullying?
- Most times people in power who are ‘canceled’ retain their power.
– Theatre strives to be a safe place where we should feel free to share things that might not be widely accepted.
- Cancel culture vs. accountability culture
- Pushing back on someone and letting them know that’s offensive
- They’re NOT trying to ‘cancel you’ when they alert you to harm you’re potentially causing or perpetuating.
- Consequences/being held accountable for behavior
- Accepting that there are consequences for your actions.
- There is no ‘war on comedy’
- Audience members don’t have to like a joke, they have the right to question it and push back.
- As creators, we have to be okay with everyone not being okay with what you put out there.
- It is OK to make mistakes.
- Rejecting the impact of your actions by labeling the response “cancel culture” is ignoring, marginalizing, and oppressing members of the community.
- People often mistake ‘cancel culture’ with accountability culture.
- Particularly those who haven’t traditionally had to reflect, take responsibility, and accept the consequences of their actions.
- Accountability culture
- Some people internalize being ‘called in’ and start to question everything interaction they’ve had.
- In the beginning anxiety can get in the way of your own growth.
- Questioning yourself is going to be uncomfortable, but it is how we grow
- The power of forgiveness.
- People have the RIGHT to forgive but they don’t HAVE to forgive — they can choose to do it on their own terms.
- We often EXPECT forgiveness
- The importance of learning and adapting after being forgiven (or not forgiven).
- Examining WHY we ask forgiveness in the first place
- Recognizing the impact on our own
- Understanding the actions were wrong and need to be corrected
- Being ‘called in’ and taught that those actions caused harm
- Everyone will interpret things differently depending on their background and experiences.
- Whether you meant to say it a different way, the impact could be that someone is offended and hurt by it.
- And their reaction and experience is valid.
- Be willing to be ‘called in’ so our community can put in work to change.
- We have discussions to find resolutions for people who are offended or hurt.
- The only way you can learn is through uncomfortable conversations – especially after people have been triggered or hurt.
- Misunderstandings are inevitable given the diversity at this festival.
- We strive to find more safeguards to help us all deal with these moments.
- Providing everyone a safe space to clearly communicate their feelings.
- Whether conscious of it or not, words matter.
- What is the motivation?
What more can we do to educate and empower our community?
- Something similar to DE&I educational sessions in the corporate world?
- Including and fully explaining our Code of Conduct in more participant emails and events leading up to the festival