A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
Most groups or organizations want the
no means an exhaustive list; it is only a
largest base of support possible.  When
brief sample of oppressive behaviors.  
members of a group, or the group as a
whole, behave in an unaware, insensitive
Most of these behaviors are unintention 
or oppressive fashion, then those people
al; unfortunately, intended or not, they
at the receiving end of these behaviors
have the same devastating consequences.
( target *) tend not to join a group.  They
Members of targeted groups experience
lose effectiveness and motivation, and
innumerable versions of these unintend 
their morale and investment in the group
ed,  little  things, day in, day out, year in,
decreases without anyone necessarily
year out.  These  little  things form a pat 
understanding what is happening or why.
tern, and the pattern is debilitating. 
One thing to remember is that dealing
In the process of growing up,
with issues of diversity means dealing
all whites have learned
with feelings.  All sorts of feelings  
racism   the question is not
anger, sadness, discomfort, guilt, embar 
whether whites are racist, but
how and what are whites
rassment, confusion.  People who have
doing to change?
been targeted by racism, sexism, anti 
Semitism, classism, ableism, heterosex 
ism and so forth may be angry or mis 
Your group will be most effective when it
trustful, or appear to those of us on the
is one that is welcoming to folks from tar 
other side as  oversensitive.   It's hard to
geted groups:  racially oppressed groups
  African Americans, Asians, Latino/as,
*
Target:  person who has lit 
Native Americans and others; women,
tle access to social power
poor and working class people; Jews;
and resources and has to
people with disabilities; older people and
deal with mistreatment by
younger people; and, depending upon
those who do.have access to
your goals, people who are bisexual,
social power and resources.
transgender and, at times, heterosexual
allies.  People from these groups are often
targets but at  times they can be agents as
know what it's like to endure the daily
well.  Remember that white, able bodied,
 little  things.  Those of us who have not
Gentile, middle class gay men can be tar 
been the target of other forms of oppres 
gets too.
sion may think we know it all because
we've been oppressed as lesbians, gay
The following will give you a few con 
men, and bisexuals.  We may know some
crete examples of behaviors that occur in
ways that oppression operates, but each
groups that make a group less welcom 
form of oppression is unique and differ 
ing.  We assume the reader to be lgbt and
ent.  We can fall into feeling guilty,
the groups in question to be lgbt groups;
defensive, or confused.  It is important to
however, these examples may very well
keep in mind that ridding ourselves of the
apply to others too.  It is important to
attitudes and behaviors we have learned
address the special needs of other groups
is a challenge and takes time.  
with the same sensitivity we want and
expect for our own.  The following is by
M a n a g i n g   Y o u r   G r o u p
M     6 7






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