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Creating the Conditions
to Cause a Big Change

Tim Jackins
June 18


Remembering Goal Number One in RC

“That the elimination of racism, in particular the racism aimed at people of African heritage, be actively made an ongoing, central piece of the work of the Re-evaluation Counseling Community.”

This RC goal is a vital part of a more comprehensive strategy, ultimately aimed at eliminating all oppressions. Racism creates certain divisions among us, making it much harder to fully take on1 other oppressions, like anti-Jewish oppression, sexism, classism, young people’s oppression, and so on. Our full liberation will require us to come together in a bigger way. Prioritizing the elimination of racism, which directly impacts most humans, can greatly support this effort.

In this spirit of strategizing about liberation, we often set up our RC classes and other RC gatherings with considerable thought given to their particular make-up, for example, the proportions of women and men, young folks and older folks, Jews and Gentiles, people of the global majority and white folks. This is to create the best possible conditions for each person’s re-emergence. We don’t want oppressor patterns to dominate these gatherings, as it becomes much harder to contradict oppression. In the end, we want to create a noticeably safe and workable space for all involved.

In my local RC Area, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, we have made it a priority to create a diverse mix of people of the global majority and white people. As you might guess, this has meant welcoming more people of the global majority into the mix. Over the past three years we have moved from less than twenty-five percent people of the global majority to almost fifty percent. This has involved the entire Area taking on2 building fundamentals classes of mostly people of the global majority and backing3 our amazing people-of-the-global-majority leadership to teach. Our white Co-Counselors have introduced us to several people of the global majority with whom they have close relationships and whom they are excited to have as their fellow counselors. This has contributed greatly to our efforts in a way that continues to deepen relationships among all involved while simultaneously growing our Area.

On a more national and international front, I have initiated a similar project to create a more diverse mix of GBTQ (Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, and Queer) men of the global majority and white men who attend an annual constituency workshop known to many as the “January Workshop.” This project began with the vision of supporting us men of the global majority in these constituencies to build ongoing relationships with each other throughout the year and ultimately throughout our lives. My thinking has been that we will be more likely to attend this workshop and other RC workshops if we already have strong relationships in place.

We have been organizing conference calls of small groups of men to check in with each other and to strategize about ways to support our moving forward in our local Communities. In leading several conference calls this past year, I learned that the most important contradictions4 we could offer to the isolation that many of us have felt as GBTQ men of the global majority were our connections, getting to hear each other’s voices, and remembering the profound significance of our relationships.

Continuing to support a vision of deep connection and diversity, this year’s January Workshop included a twenty-four-hour pre-workshop exclusively for us men of the global majority. It allowed us to be well connected to each other, and consequently to the whole of the general workshop as it began. It also resulted in a historic forty-percent attendance of men of the global majority. Though this has continued to be a work in progress, I have been very pleased and hopeful about the possibilities presented by this most recent success.

This year’s workshop was a profoundly different experience for me and many other men, both global majority and white, whom I had the privilege of hearing from. We were more deeply connected to each other and consequently to ourselves. I was far less pulled by racism to take care of white counselors in the subtle ways I had in previous years. This was, no doubt, because of the connections that had occurred throughout the year, the pre-workshop, and of course the larger percentage of men of the global majority. These conditions made all the difference in contradicting racism, so I was less preoccupied by it.

Moving forward, I think we get to be really intentional about setting up the conditions for contradicting racism in all of our workshops. Don’t let this be an afterthought. And we don’t need to hold titled positions in order to take initiative here.

I have attended countless RC workshops over the years at which I was one of only a few people of the global majority. I have even been the only person of the global majority. On some occasions I have been asked by leaders of these predominately white workshops, “What would you like us white people to be working on?” Finally I have an answer:

I want you to make close friendships with people of the global majority, especially Black folks. I don’t want you to try to recruit us into your RC Communities; I want you to build deep relationships with us in your lives outside of counseling. (We all tend to share Co-Counseling with people we already have close relationships with.) If you lead or teach RC, I want you to be very intentional about setting up classes, groups, and workshops in contradiction to racism, not just have white people go away and “eliminate” racism. Of course there is important work for us to do separately as people of the global majority and white people, but it can’t stop there. Where you can tell5 it’s possible, make sure there is a diverse mix of people of the global majority and white people in your Areas and in your workshops. This will sometimes mean placing a limit on the number of white people.

Finally, I want you to discharge all the early chronic material6 that is likely to come up when you do all these things. This is the material that, despite your best intentions, plays out7 toward people of the global majority as racism.

In the end, remember that you are changing the world. You are creating a world without racism and ultimately without oppression. Don’t do this as an ally to people of the global majority but rather as a beloved fellow human.

“Gregory Peck”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

(Present Time 183, April 2016)

1 A goal adopted by the 2001 World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities and reaffirmed by subsequent World Conferences
2 “Take on” means confront.
3 “Taking on” means undertaking.
4 “Backing” means supporting.
5 Contradictions to distress
6 “Tell” means see.
7 “Material” means distress.
8 “Plays out” means is acted out.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00