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Accountability on this journey

ableism accountability ageism fat phobia internalized racism racism sexism transparency transphobia vulnerablility Aug 09, 2022

Hi Everybody,

Today, let’s talk about accountability and how that might drive change on your journey. 

At SAIR, one of the ways we do accountability is a little thing we call ‘Testimony Tuesday’.  Yep.  Every Tuesday, we gather around the virtual water cooler and testify in front of each other at least one thing we did that was sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist - anything that prevents Belonging. 

Now, we have some community agreements in place for this activity.  Like giving trigger warnings and naming the harm that may come to those sharing the identities being spoken about prior to sharing some stories.  We have agreed to be kind to each other and ourselves as we talk through these things.   

Wait, What?  People who ‘know all the things’ are doing harm still?  Yes.  The more you learn, the more you practice rooting it out, the more you will realize this is a lifetime journey. 

So let me start by giving you some of my own examples. 


Ableist Harm:  A friends disabled child going off to college surprised me.  And with exploring that, I found all kinds of ‘little’ presumptions I was carrying from how fully abled bodies were exalted and centered my whole life.

Ethnic Harm: I was surprised by how easy a foreign name was spelled.  And I said it OUT LOUD In a SURPRISED VOICE in front of the person whose name it was. 

Internalized Ethnic Harm:  Referring to ‘my inner Jew’ whenever I am talking about not spending money.

Racist/Sexist Harm: Naming my cars after Black women/tropes.  Even when it is meant as a compliment, it is still a racist, sexist thing to do.   

Internalized Transphobic Harm:  Telling myself I am not being a man or ‘man enough’.

Fat Phobic Harm: Having thoughts that someone should ‘eat a burger’ or someone else ‘shouldn’t wear that’

Ageist Harm:  Presuming Boomers don’t care to learn about pronouns

How does listing all these things I have done help drive change?  I do get better.  I pay attention more, slow down and when I hear these words coming out of my mouth, I stop wherever I am in the sentence and out loud, fix it. 

What does fixing it look like?  Sometimes it is verbally acknowledging it in the moment, sometimes it means doing some learning, and sometimes it is just the act of sharing it with other people as one way of holding myself accountable.

And when we share, we are not alone, and we help each other see things we might have missed in our own behaviors. 

IMO vulnerability and transparency are two of the biggest tools on this journey. 

What ways are you holding yourself accountable? Share your tricks with us:  [email protected]

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