Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lessons Learned: Clique-y-ness

Clique-y-ness affects more than just the group - it affects us as facilitators. I think it is partly in our nature as humans to form up into groups of people who we feel are like us. I can even admit that I was part of a few cliques when I was in high-school and middle-school.  However, I have to own up to the oppression I perpetuated while in those groups. And now, looking back, I know I should have branched out more.

In RAPP, we ask students to do the same. Own up to oppressive situations you have played a role in, but also branch out and meet new people! Try new things and talk about it afterwards! As the late Maya Angelou once said, "You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there." RAPP is meant to teach us how to communicate across difference. If all you ever do is hang around the same group of people with the similar ideas and upbringings, you will have a very limited view of life and a lesser experience.

This clique-y-ness affects us as facilitators too. We have to make sure that certain clique members aren't in the same groups and if they are, we usually have to spend extra time keeping members on task. On the flip-side, facilitators have to make sure people outside of the clique don't feel left out. Sometimes, I've even felt myself getting caught up in the drama of a clique, just by being in its presence.

All of this becomes a distraction from (and often works against) our program's mission, which is to fight oppression through individual awareness and collective action.

Lessons Learned is a RAPP Blog initiative intended for folks who hold formal leadership positions in RAPP programs to share what they're learning through their process

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