, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
A short thread connecting the dots from one of the most useful articles I've ever read to one of the most important things I've learned from people of color on Twitter. 1/
First: this article is one of the most useful frameworks ever. It's short and great and you should read it. Still, I'll sum it up in a few tweets 2/ articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/op…
"Ring theory" is about how not to say the wrong thing to someone going through a crisis (e.g., cancer). The person in crisis is in the center circle, their partner/close relatives in the ring surrounding them, friends around that, then coworkers, etc., and on out 3/
Whatever ring you're in, you must deliver only comfort & support to rings closer in-- in the way THEY want: listen, bring food, say "this must be so hard." No advice unless asked, no "it's hard to see your wife so sick." 4/
If *you're* sad or scared or angry-- which you're allowed to be!-- you can say so, but *only to people in rings beyond yours.* Comfort/support IN, dump OUT 4/
The other day @AngryBlackLady said something that made me see how Ring Theory might be a useful framework for seeing oppressed groups, and the people ("allies" and the like) who want to help remedy injustices. 5/
In the crisis of systemic racism, people of color are in the center circle. White people who want to help? We're in an outer circle: we must listen, support-- in the ways POC want. Comfort/support IN. 6/
If we're told we're saying/doing the wrong thing and that hurts our feelings? Because we meant well? Shhh. Then share hurt feelings in private, to other white people. Dump OUT. 7/
I have lots left to learn, to be sure, but one learns a lot listening to people of color (including on Twitter!), shutting up, apologizing when needed, doing better next time. It's always instructive seeing an "ally" get defensive & dump IN. It hurts plenty, & helps no one. 8/
A few yrs ago, my friend A had cancer. Several courses of treatment hadn't worked. She was trying another, but shifting focus from cure to getting more time with her family. "Maybe this one will work," another friend said. A corrected her: "No. That's not helpful." 9/
The friend, of course, nodded quietly and learned. Imagine if she'd responded with "you don't have to get lecturey; I had good intentions. If you want my support, you shouldn't snip at me." Just imagine. Now, how many times have you seen white people respond that way to POC? 10/
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