This spread came about as a result of my needing to ground myself after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend. For the record, Black Lives Matter, Fuck White Supremacists, and white folks let’s examine all the subtle ways we (myself included) are inadvertently propping up this system of oppression. Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of people expressing a desire to help, to do more than just reposting a meme or expressing outrage on social media. But where to start? For myself, I needed to ground and check in order to figure out where I could actually do some good.
I, and I know a lot of you, have intersecting identities and degrees of abled-ness, which dictate what we can do, and how much we can do. The spread spends a lot of time focusing on self assessment, so you can get a realistic picture of what you have to bring to the table and how you can bring it most effectively.
Card #1: myself right now in the context of this situation – This card will help you ground into what you are feeling and how you are reacting and give you a sense of the role that will be most appropriate for you to play moving forward.
Card #2: What strength can I utilize at this time? – This card will highlight a strength or area of expertise that will be most helpful for you to use right now. When you are considering ways that you can contribute to dismantling oppression and white supremacy, where would that strength fit in? For example if you are a good communicator you may be able to facilitate hard conversations and speak up in ways that call out, but also call in. Maybe your strength is that you are very educated in this topic and you can provide information and teach others. Remember, your strength is where you can be most effective, so try to find a way to contribute that plays to that strength.
Card #3: What weakness should I be aware of as I proceed? – Just as your strength is where you will be most effective, your weakness is where you will be least effective. So if you pull a card that indicates that you are actually not a great communicator or your words aren’t your most powerful weapon, perhaps look for something that you can do that doesn’t rely entirely on that skill set. This card could also point to where you need to improve. For example this card could indicate that you aren’t well informed on the issues beyond scary photos of torch wielding Nazis and news story sound bites. Go learn about the subtle ways that oppression goes unnoticed. Go learn about what is happening that isn’t big and flashy and full of shock value, but still just as problematic. Being better informed means being better equipped to help.
Card #4: Where do I need to push my limits? – Let’s face it, we’re all probably going to need to be pushing ourselves right now, but knowing where you can most effectively push yourself is helpful because that is where the most progress can occur. Just like focusing on work that plays to your strengths instead of your weaknesses, pushing yourself where you have room and capability to expand is going to be more powerful than pushing yourself where you really don’t have that much flexibility, so card #4 is meant to help you know where stepping out of your comfort zone will bring growth as opposed to harm.
Card #5: Where do I need to accept my limits? – …which brings us to this card. You can push yourself too hard or in the wrong way. A lot of us want to go charging into the fray right now, we’re feeling gung-ho and galvanized to act. Awesome! I don’t want to dissuade anyone from that, but it is important to know how much we can realistically do given our finances, time, level of ability, etc. This is a marathon, not a sprint (you think this will all end when Trump leaves office, think again), and we need to be contributing in ways that are long-term sustainable. This card will point to an area where you need to accept that you are limited, because pushing that particular limit won’t actually be helpful, it will do more harm than good and we don’t want you to burn out when you are still needed.
Card #6: What is the most potent thing I can do right now? – This card will point you towards an action that will play to your strengths, challenge you in a healthy way (even if it doesn’t feel like it at first), and that you can do now…like today. Take the information from this card and then start brainstorming and looking around for ways to help. See what opportunities line up with this card and what resonates with you. Remember, we are all being challenged to step out of our comfort zones, and for many of us we are being asked to step out of the insulation provided by our privilege, so prepare to find great opportunities to contribute that also make you a little uncomfortable. Lean into that discomfort and move forward anyway.
I hope you enjoyed this spread and that you found it helpful. I welcome feedback and dialog in the comments, though I reserve the right to delete anything biggoted, overtly baiting, or otherwise nasty. Keep kicking ass and showing up for racial justice y’all.