When I was adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Sandra Pacheco shared her work on Levels of Engagement. I learned about this analysis close to the same time that I was developing the first volume of curriculum for World Trust Educational Services.
Levels of Engagement: Situating Discourse is a way to look interpersonal communication in relationship to race and power. It examines how you view the world and what your sphere of influence has been.
For many, a discussion of race is limited to home, family and how one is affected personally. In conversations about systems or privilege, the view is broader it takes into account a larger sphere, one that is made up of laws, history, and external advantages. When two people are discussing oppression it is helpful to determine how one is thinking about (and therefore discussing) the information.
As an adult child headed home for the holidays, conversations often turn to how and why the world is as challenged as it is. For many of us, we examine oppression in a larger way. We are able to see the accumulation of history, and how people can hold privilege and still work hard or be very poor. For folks that are considering oppression from a purely personal lens, it is very difficult to determine how they are participating in the system.
Sandra does an expert job of breaking down the different spheres that we inhabit and examining how we miss one another when trying to talk about race, power and oppression.
What lens are you looking through?