I was told that one of my skills in dialogue facilitation is socio-emotional intelligence. I assume a lot of this comes from my social and oppressive background. During dialogue sessions (especially in a black and white group) I could clearly see differences in cultural attitudes.
I spent the summer studying why people listen to music, and I learned a bunch. Bringing a bunch of strangers together to communicate is hard. As we’ve learned, people are socialized so differently; it’s hard to try to relate to someone when we all claim to be so different. It’s hard to compromise (beliefs). We’re always looking for the balance between self-care and social awareness. I think this is what we mean by the individual/social mask activity. I think it’s a great tool because it creates conflict within the youth. They have to finally acknowledge their insufficiencies (and this is probably the first time formally). It can be extremely difficult to be vulnerable and share your self with others. It can also be hard to know how much of your self to give. Talking about social and racial injustices has helped us to visualize social identity conflict through certain mediums.
Balancing personal beliefs and outside perspectives can be an extreme conflict. We have different background experiences. Being the facilitator, I have had to take on an encompassing perspective. I’ve had to consider those around me before reacting. I’ve had to be very aware of triggers. I think this is why I pay such close attention to those around me, because I am looking for triggered reactions. We all have to pay attention to reactions in order to judge the way that we will respond. As a facilitator, I’ve had to be more mindful of my emotions for the greater benefit of the space. Now that I know the power of dialogue, sharing, and listening, I can continue to use these tools in daily life to continue the work.
Alex told me that I’m pretty good at code switching. At first, I had a negative reaction because I’m used to hearing it in a negative context. But then I thought about it. Code switching is necessary, especially when we’re exposed to so many different people. We have to know how different people communicate and receive information.
I find myself always considering the standard codes of the world. We find out that there are norms that people aspire to embody for whatever reasons.
I found myself comparing appropriative and appreciative inquiry. Often we try to get information from others to benefit ourselves. And less often we want to get to know about other people to develop diversified perspectives. I think that this is how truly beneficial relationships are developed. After we get over finding out about a new person, and we think that it’s safe, it can be a more mutually considerate relationship. We learn what the other person does or what interests them. And especially as we find similarities, we begin to appreciate their qualities.
It may be a strange concept to want to get to know people without necessarily wanting anything from them. As I worked with all of the SYD family, I’ve learned that, even if people don’t have much to give you, their individual self can be enough. But a lot of people don’t know that. This is why it has become so important to invite others to be themselves. We cannot continue to live in a mindset that there are appropriate ways to act. When we do that, we tell others that they are not good enough, and they should do something different. This different thing can be uncomfortable, and there are limitations on what a person has the ability to do. I want to be more considerate so that I can continue to understand that we all have different needs.