At 3pm in Seminar Room 7 on Wednesday of RollerCon 2019 this class will happen. I am going to edit this post after the class takes place to fill in notes and (hopefully) upload a video of the class itself, which will also go on the AFTDA’s YouTube Channel. For now, here is my outline of the class ahead… and sorry about the formatting. Google Docs to WordPress was not the best copy/paste decision I’ve ever made.
Who am I?
President of the AFTDA, skater/writer/coach for 9 years, ref for 4 years, announcer for 3 years. I have been a vendor and brand rep, I have traveled the world. I have spoken to people about derby and who are involved in derby from all cultures and backgrounds. And yes, I too have made mistakes.
Why this class is important:
People of privilege and those who do not live in certain worlds are often caught up in their own language, manners, and behaviors that they do not realize when something can be offensive, hurtful, or downright rude. This is meant to be a discussion and information session as much as a ‘class’, since as a person of privilege myself, I certainly cannot TEACH others.
To discuss the microaggressions and language we use as announcers in Roller Derby and bring further awareness to the struggle of the humans in our community. To help people understand how their words have an effect on the community, and how we can learn and grow to become better humans together. To teach individuals how to handle receiving and giving information to friends and partners about offensive language or hurtful behavior. To have open discussion from the attendees about their feelings about language and how to improve the community at large.
LET’S DIVE IN!
- What is a microaggression?
A statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority. Examples:
- Calling a player ‘black’ instead of by jersey color
- Commenting on how capable someone with a disability is “despite”
- Female-identifying skaters being called ‘more aggressive than typical’
- Racially-charged slang (gypped, scalped, tomahawk, mohawk, thug, pow wow, war paint)
- When we hear a microaggression, how should we respond?
- Getting angry is understandable, but not always the best approach
- Be honest and direct about what has been said
- Ask the person to correct their language moving forward
- How should we respond if we are confronted about microaggressions?
- DON’T GET MAD OR DEFENSIVE! We all have committed a microaggression at some point. The person pointing this out is doing the right thing, even if we may feel guilty about having made someone feel bad.
- OWN IT
- Process what has been said, and correct behavior moving forward
More great reading!
OPEN TO DISCUSSION ABOUT THE MOST COMMON DERBY MICROAGGRESSIONS:
Gender in roller derby
- Gender is a social construct.
- Not up for debate. Let me Google that for you: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=gender+as+a+social+construct&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart
- Understanding that someone else’s gender construct is different from your own personal definition is critical.
When in doubt, eliminate pronouns
- Using a skater’s name, number, color jersey, or positioning is just as appropriate as a pronoun.
- Yes it takes practice, do it anyway
DO NOT MISGENDER!
- Mistakes happen, especially if we don’t have the information, but do not purposefully misgender.
- If you do, See instructions for microaggressions.
Remove gender from your salutations, introductions, and generalizations
- No “Welcome, Ladies & Gentlemen”
- No “These ladies are really tough”
- No “These are the hardest working men in derby”
OPEN TO DISCUSSION ABOUT OTHER WAYS WE CAN SUPPORT OUR FLUID, NONBINARY, AND TRANS FAMILY MEMBERS, AND MAKING A LIST OF OUR FAVORITE NONBINARY SALUTATIONS
Stop talking about body types in derby
- “Big like a blocker”
- “Strong for her size”
– You wouldn’t say, “7 is pretty think for a quarterback”, so don’t say it in derby
Find language that talks about the play without body size
- “Using their momentum”
- “Muscling the opponents out”
- “Taking advantage of every inch of track”
OPEN TO DISCUSSION ABOUT THE MOST COMMON PHRASES WE HEAR AND SOME SENTENCES WE CAN USE TO REPLACE THEM.
Misogyny on the mic
- What does it look like?
- Correcting a partner/responding with “No”
- Cutting off a partner
- Not allowing your partner a word in, even during color or sponsors
How do we approach it?
- If you have a producer, or are a producer, POINT IT OUT. You may have to wait until halftime, but have the discussion
- If you don’t have backup, be calm throughout the call. At halftime, have the discussion with them. Point out what has been going on, how you have felt stymied, and what they can do to help
- If they get defensive, go on the offensive, or refuse to change, go to your THR or the Game Coordinator for a home game to explain the situation. Do not be afraid at home games to leave the mic.
OPEN TO DISCUSSION ABOUT EXPERIENCES AND HOW WE HAVE HANDLED, OR UNDERSTOOD THIS BEHAVIOR.
OPEN TO DISCUSSION ABOUT ANYTHING WE MISSED.