5 Oct
Posted in: CDL
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Dominate or Subordinate?

One of the workshops that I think I really “got” at the recent CDL (Community Dharma Leader) training retreat was the one led by Ruth King on the Five Characteristics of Dominant/Subordinate Dynamics, specifically as it relates to interactions between racial groups in the US. (Ferguson anyone?)

One of these characteristics is Cultural Conditioning:
* Dominant members live at the individual level. (“I’m not racist. I never owned slaves. I’m a good person.”)
* Subordinate members live a the group level. (“Black men are often perceived as dangerous by white people, so as a black man I have to get used to white people locking their car doors when I walk by.”)

This has so many implications! Frankly, I had no idea. But I’m starting to.

Here’s a way to practice waking up to this dynamic:
* Consider: In this relationship, am I in the dominate or subordinate group? In this instance, am I consciously aware of myself as a part of a group? Or not? How about the other person (people) in this relationship? Do they seem to be talking about themselves as an individual? Or as a member of a group? How do they seem to be relating to me — as an individual or group member? If there is a difference between how we think of ourselves — and each other? Is this getting in the way of our being able to understand each other?


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