Art of Citizenry
Manpreet Kaur Kalra
Top 10 Art of Citizenry Episodes
Best episodes ranked by Goodpods Users most listened
Art of Citizenry
10/14/21 • 84 min
Human trafficking is a complex issue with layers of deep seated power structures influencing the way we both understand and think about trafficking. All too often, the narratives we read and share fail to capture the nuance that makes this industry so complex. The images we see are compelling -- those of young women, mostly women of color in the Global South, looking weak and disempowered. Their stories, often told through a translator, are powerful and typically follow the same storytelling structure, subconsciously etching stereotypes of communities and cultures into our psyches. Those stories coupled with a call to action pull at our heart strings, captivating our attention and compelling us to either donate or buy a product in hopes that we too can feel like heroes, saving these poor women from modern day slavery.
During the last episode, host Manpreet Kaur Kalra spoke with Madina Wardak about the ways in which the global narratives about Afghan women perpetuate harmful stereotypes that deny any form of agency. We see these same themes play out in conversations surrounding the anti-trafficking industry. From refugee resettlement efforts to anti-trafficking organizations, often “doing good” centers the “hero,” all while continuing to sideline the voices of those who are being “saved.” This puts the “savior” up on a pedestal while turning those whose stories are being used into nothing more than a metric with a marketable soundbite. The blatant stereotypes that are often perpetuated by anti-trafficking organizations reinforce the pervasive assumption that women of color are oppressed by using terms such as “rescuing” or “saving,” which take power and agency away from the individual. With a hyper-fixation on sex trafficking, anti-trafficking organizations often fail to recognize the many other forms of trafficking that exists, including forced labor.
A lot of the narratives surrounding Human Trafficking upheld by the Rescue Industry are influenced deeply by the work of Nicholas Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times journalist and the author of many do-gooders’ bible, “Half the Sky." His reporting, writing, and stereotypical interpretations of human trafficking have not just influenced the narratives within the industry, but have also inspired many to start social enterprises, especially those dedicated to addressing trafficking.
During Episode 15 of Art of Citizenry Podcast, Manpreet Kaur Kalra is joined by Rachel Faller, the co-creator of zero-waste fashion brand, tonlé. Together, they deconstruct the ways in which the anti-trafficking industry is a perpetuation of Christian supremacy, rooted in imperialistic and colonial power structures that further the belief in Euro-American superiority.
Rachel Faller is an entrepreneur by trade and a creative at heart. She dedicates most of her time to rectifying harm within the garment industry using a systemic approach- encouraging people to think about the root of systemic injustice and tackling these issues at their core rather than simply treating the symptoms. Rachel is a co-creator of tonlé – a zero waste, ethical and sustainable fashion line that is both a brand and a manufacturer. Rachel is also a co-founder at Reclaim Collaborative. Rachel’s personal and community care practices include crafting, painting, mending, gardening, and foraging.
Art of Citizenry is a community supported podcast dedicated to decolonizing storytelling. Please consider supporting by visiting: patreon.com/manpreetkalra
10/14/21 • 84 min
07/13/22 • 76 min
During episode 16 of Art of Citizenry Podcast, Manpreet Kaur Kalra is joined by Dr. Allison Berry, a family physician, mother, and trained abortion provider. Together, they discuss the nuances of the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, explore the inequities that come from banning safe abortions, and unpack how religion + politics have dictated the physician-patient relationship. As a primary care physician and Public Health expert, Dr. Berry offers her personal experiences caring for patients and humanizes the fight for reproductive justice.
📌 IMPORTANT NOTE: For medical providers like Dr. Berry, coming out as an abortion provider is very risky to their safety. I want to thank her for her time, compassion, bravery, and for sharing her expertise with us because it is important that we humanize abortions and give voice to our medical experts.
Topics Covered: Dr. Berry will be talking to us about reproductive justice, what getting an abortion actually means, the recent Supreme Court ruling, the way language shapes narratives around abortions, the nuances around abortion access irrespective of the state you reside in, and her own upbringing as a member of the Catholic church.
Meet Our Guest
Dr. Allison Berry, MD MPH — Health Officer for Clallam and Jefferson Counties
Dr. Allison Berry is a family physician, mother, and trained abortion provider. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and received her masters from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Most recently, her work has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic as she has served as the health officer for Clallam and Jefferson Counties, in Washington State.
📌 LISTENER NOTE FROM DR. BERRY: I work as the Health Officer for Clallam and Jefferson Counties and as a family physician for the Jamestown Tribe. My views expressed here are my own and have not been vetted by or approved by my organizations.
For access to the complete show notes, please visit: artofcitizenry.com/episode-16
07/13/22 • 76 min
Art of Citizenry
03/11/21 • 27 min
The unfortunate reality is that human rights violations are part of the fabric of India’s history. From police brutality to unlawful arrests and disappearances, genocide has become normalized. Which is why, if you are a minority, your rights are constantly under threat. As has been the case throughout history, protestors are being painted as terrorists by state-owned news outlets and are being met with government-sanctioned police brutality, tear gas, and water cannons. Citizen journalists are being unlawfully arrested and detained. The police have attempted to cut off access to food and water at protest sites to starve the protestors away. The Internet has been cut off in the area surrounding protest sites and social media is being heavily regulated to make communication amongst protestors and access to outside information more difficult. The United Nations has made it clear that cutting internet connections as a means to stifle dissent is a violation of human rights.
A Note to Impact-Driven Brands + Organizations:
The farmer’s protest is about worker rights, it’s about land rights, it’s about equity, and it’s about justice amongst so much more. If your goal as a business is to advocate for global justice and fair living wages, then standing in solidarity with India’s small farmers and farmworkers is critical because that is exactly what they are standing up for. They are advocating for themselves against a government that is built on systemic oppression rooted in exploiting those who have historically been and continue to be marginalized.
Join in Solidarity: A Statement Championed in Collaboration with Fair World Project
If you are a brand or organization working in the intersection of social, climate, and economic justice, please consider adding your name alongside many others: https://www.artofcitizenry.com/solidarity-statement
03/11/21 • 27 min
Art of Citizenry
01/13/21 • 8 min
Nationalism in Trump’s America and Modi’s India
Over the past week, I took some time to reflect on last Wednesday’s white supremacy insurrection. From Modi’s India to Trump’s America, there is no arguing that nationalism thrives on the polarization of the other.
Two of the world’s largest democracies are currently grappling with the realities of autocratic leaders who have managed to create deep divides within their countries through nationalist appeals. From the farmers' protest to BLM protests, neither Modi nor Trump are strangers to protests, but both have managed to disregard democratic norms to strengthen and test the extent of their executive power.
Polarization + Islamophobia
Trump’s Muslim Ban Executive Order, which now feels forever ago but really wasn’t, blocked the entry of individuals from several Islamic countries, especially Syrian refugees seeking protection in the United States. The Trump administration cited terrorism as a reason for the Muslim Ban, giving validity to white America’s inability to think a terrorist can be anyone other than a brown skinned, Arabic-speaking Muslim or anyone that “looks Muslim.” The events at Capitol Hill would certainly counter that narrative. On the other side of the world, Trump’s dear friend Modi, played his own page from the Islamophobia for World Leaders playbook.
Earlier last year, Modi pushed into effect the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which authorized the use of religion as a criteria for determining whether undocumented migrants in India can be granted citizenship. What’s interesting is that Islam was specifically not included as a fast-tracked religion while other religions were. Islamophobia at its finest.
While on the surface the simple notion of granting citizenship to the country’s undoucmented population sounds like a move towards creating a more equitable society, this layer of religious hegemony feeds into India’s push towards a Hindu-centric nation.
Nationalism Exists because of Systemic Oppression
Nationalism at its core, creates dangerous divisions that can easily be stoked through false narratives. It builds on fear, giving hate the fuel it needs to thrive.
So, why do we keep saying things like “America is better than this” or “This isn’t who we are” when America was built on the genocide and exploitation of Indigenous and Black people? My fear with many of the conversations currently happening in light of last week's events is this notion that Nationalism is somehow a new construct. It is not. It has always existed, it is now just planting its flag at the nation’s capital.
India and America might be called democracies, but both are currently navigating the result of an autocratic government, which thrives on the consolidation of power, oppression of dissent, and nationalism. This consolidation of power is built on the existence of structural oppression and its exploitation. There will always be people who wield power and those who yield it.
Where do we go from here?
We are seeing the realities of polarization -- with hate running through the veins of nation states and dripping off the tongues of their leaders. So where do we go from here?
- Understand that uprisings are not the problem, in fact they are a necessity in any healthy system because they challenge the consolidation of power. However, motivations when rooted in hate must be addressed by unpacking the systemic structures breathing life into hate.
- De-bias language. Address why we use “softer words” to describe white people who terrorize the nation’s capitol by simply calling them armed protestors instead of what they really are: terrorists. Language has power and using the right term leads to more accountability.
- Recognize how we benefit from and at many times reinforce systems of oppression. By reflecting on where we stand in relation to power and challenging the systems we operate in, we are not accepting the status quo at face value and naming our privilege. For example, if it wasn’t for the Civil Rights movement led by Black Americans, my family would have not been able to move to the United States under the Immigration Act of 1924, which was overturned in 1965 after the Civil Rights movement challenged white-America’s racist systems.
Looking back at Nazi Germany, we might tell ourselves how obvious it must have been to identify fascism, but that’s the thing. History repeats itself because in any given moment we struggle to name moments what they are. Throughout Trump and Modi’s term, there have been countless policies driven by hate, but it took one of the most outrageous events in American history and the...
01/13/21 • 8 min
Art of Citizenry
01/08/21 • 76 min
Deconstructing India’s Agricultural Industry
At this moment, the largest protest in human history is happening. 250 million farmers and workers across India, many from the states of Punjab and Haryana, have taken to the streets in protest of three new agricultural bills that threaten to obliterate their livelihood. On the surface, India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has claimed that these bills promote a “free market,” but like everything we cover in this podcast, we know that not everything is always the way it seems.
Punjab: A Land Divided
We can’t begin this episode without understanding the history of a land divided. What is now considered the state of “Punjab” is just but a fraction of what used to be the land of lush green fields and flowing five rivers. In 1947, as the British left India, they divided Punjab between what is present day Pakistan and India. What followed was the world’s largest mass migration, resulting in the bloody displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Families were uprooted from their homes, forced to leave the land they had lived on for generations. During the journey, many lost loved ones due to violence caused by the displacement.
Post 1947, Punjab was even further reduced in size from 58,000 square miles to 19,000 square miles. However, despite its relatively small size, it produces a disproportionately high ratio of India’s crops.
Why India’s Push for a Free Market is Exploitative
In most “developed” countries with a free market system, farmers have protections, farm subsidies, that essentially help reduce any financial risk related to weather, commodities brokers, and disruption in demands. But as with any capitalist system, these systems usually only benefit larger producers, but still, they exist, discouraging the complete monopolization of the agricultural industry by corporations.
“The world farmers protest currently underway in India opens up a pandora’s box of questions that humanity is going to face in next few years. What is the future of sustainable growth, food diversity, ethnic cultures, urban migration in a profit-driven economy? Should our heroes be the next billionaires or farmers fighting on ground to retain food diversity - something that makes this world worth living? These are the questions we all need to ask.” - Arvinder Singh
Capitalism at its core is built on the existence of inequities. The goal of any business operating in a capitalist society is to maximize profits for shareholders, prioritizing profits over people. This notion leaves those at the bottom, the workers and small farmers, with only a small share of the wealth, if that. Addressing these layers of complexities when understanding any issue is critical.
In India, the main security blanket that exists for small farmers in particular is the Minimum Support Price (MSP), which has not been included in writing under the new ordinances. Without significant subsidies and a MSP, India’s small farmers are likely to be priced out and unable to compete. As is the case with free markets, when corporations get involved, the marketplace becomes competitive, allowing corporations to undercut prices to the point at which small farmers are unable to compete, left with no farm, and no land.
This in turn, only feeds into an already volatile situation with India’s farmers experiencing an exorbitantly high suicide rate.
“My family went into a lot of debt to try to purchase the supplies and the agrochemicals that they needed to keep up with the changes of the Green Revolution. And that debt got passed down. So it started with my grandfather, went to my dad, from my dad it went down to my Chacha. And so my Chacha, who's still in Punjab and still farming he's still dealing with that debt... For a lot of folks, it seems so insurmountable, and they don't see an opportunity to get out of it just through farming, and suicide becomes the only option or the only option that they see.” - Amrit Singh
It also then allows for corporations to hoard large amounts of crops, increasing demand, and therefore, the market value of the crop. They can, in turn, sell the crops at a much higher price than what the farmer was paid to begin with. This allows for unfair pricing -- hurting both farmers and consumers while lining the pockets of those who already hold most of the country’s wealth.
Global Economic Development
“The economics of a particular country has to be grown there. If you try to import it directly from another country, those models sometimes fall flat.” - Arvinder Singh
The issue with a cookie cutter approach, we fail to acknowledge the complexity of layers that exist in any given society. We see this with social entrepreneurship as well. To assume the same approach to economic development can work in any country is naive. We must recognize that...
01/08/21 • 76 min
Art of Citizenry
11/24/20 • 70 min
Deconstructing America's History of Genocide
This special podcast episode features a panel conversation hosted on November 20th by Reclaim Collaborative in collaboration with ESJ and Art of Citizenry as part of Reclaim Black Friday, a campaign calling on brands to redistribute a percentage of their sales to Indigenous and Black land-based organizations instead of running sales during Black Friday weekend.
A Deeper Look into Indigenous + Black Erasure
When having conversations about Thanksgiving, it is important to acknowledge the first people to encounter the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag Tribe. It is unfortunate that while most of us know so much about the Pilgrims’ journey because of the way we have been taught history, most of us don’t know the name of the community that was first colonized in what is now known as the United States of America. This is one simple example of how Indigenous people, or Native Americans, have experienced centuries of dehumanization, genocide, and erasure.
“Land back is rooted in this idea of literally getting to stewardship and restoring that ancestral relationship with the land, and letting Black and Native people lead that conversation around that movement.”
Charlie Amáyá Scott
Addressing histories of exploitation takes deconstructing the systems we operate in. One simple step we can each take is acknowledge the people on whose land we reside.
“My family has always taken it as a day of resistance and resilience. It's been much more from an aspect of this is what we do traditionally, as Diné people, which is coming together and celebrating each other.”
Emma Robbins on Thanksgiving
This year marks 400 years since the Mayflower arrived on Plymouth Rock. We must critically analyze the story we have been told and by who. It is time we deconstruct, rethink, and rebuild a more just future. Reclaim Black Friday is a campaign focused on redistributing to Indigenous and Black land-based organizations because it is important to acknowledge the original stewards of this land and return it to those who have historically cultivated regenerative and healing relationships with the Earth.
“Reparations as a whole isn’t just a racial justice issue, it’s also a climate justice issue.”
It is important to hold space for reclaiming and healing, recognizing the trauma and genocide that is widely celebrated through what has been painted as an endearing holiday of gratitude.
Black Americans, descendants of American Chattel Slavery, were taken captive and brought here to America for textile and agricultural work—building the wealth of this country. The dehumanization, exploitation, and abuse that Black people have had to endure for centuries continues today as Black Americans still face injustices and inequities in most spaces.
“As a Black person, or as an Indigenous person, we're always in the position where we're having to do the work to undo the things that we never had any part in to begin with.“
Despite directly contributing to the wealth of this country, when enslaved Black Americans were freed, they did not receive reparations. Today, Black Americans collectively experience one of the highest poverty rates of any group in the United States. Our acknowledgement of this horrific truth and examination of how we can provide support without causing further damage, is a necessary step if we are to be part of creating real systemic change.
How can non-Black + non-Indigenous people help dismantle the systems we operate within without falling into the trap of white saviorism?
Redistributing wealth is a small way we can give back the stolen wealth and land we have all benefited from. It is by no means the only way nor is it a panacea. White individuals in America have directly and indirectly contributed to harmful cycles of exploitation by the nature of this country’s history. It is therefore, the responsibility of white and white passing individuals to help dismantle the systems that cause harm.
There is a lot of power that white folks do have in the world we live in today, but I think it’s more important to cede power in very silent ways and by that I mean not taking up space.
So what is white saviorism?
It’s a little bit of guilt and a little bit of “Hey, look at what I’m doing. I’m doing good, but I want you to know I’m doing good.” But let me tell you something -- when you’re really about that life and you really are here for change, you don’t get to donate $10 here and there. You have to give up some power and some wealth and you get to be uncomfortable and you get to feel how we’ve been feeling for centuries.”
Reclaim Black Friday
Thanksgiving is steeped in America’s history of genocide and...
11/24/20 • 70 min
Art of Citizenry
10/30/20 • 39 min
How Visual Storytelling Transcends the Impact of Colonization on Language
In Episode 08 of Art of Citizenry Podcast, Manpreet Kalra is joined by Eunice Pais in a conversation exploring the ways in which colonial legacies led to the dominance of the English language, creating barriers rooted in power. They discuss the ways in which photography conveys stories and builds connections at a raw, humanistic level, transcending linguistic barriers. Together, they explore the role of photographers as visual storytellers with Eunice sharing her experience as a Black-Portuguese photographer.
Colonial Barriers Through Language
Throughout this podcast we have explored the power of language and words. As many of you know, I strongly believe that words have the ability to shape perceptions and are an important part of how we share not only our stories, but shape the way others understand our experiences. Unfortunately, the conversation of language is often approached from a subconscious place of dominance. We don't necessarily realize how language itself can play into how we experience and navigate power.
"Most narratives about the Black experience are American centric, or very British centric, which, again, it's not something that is probably conscious collectively, but it does happen. And sometimes I feel like I in a way, I'm privileged because I speak English fluently, so I can convey my experience and my messages clearly in two languages. But if someone doesn't, then their experience as a person of color, who doesn't speak English, is not included in the conversation."
- Eunice Pais
English is the most spoken language in the world with Mandarin following as a close second. The thing that is important to note as a difference between the two is that while the majority of Mandarin speakers are concentrated by region, English is much more spread out. This is, of course, the result of colonization of communities around the world by the British Empire. After all, it was "the empire on which the sun never sets." This idea of English being the language of dominance continued to manifest with the spread of American culture. With English being the primary language of the original colonizers of what is now the United States, the association of English and whiteness became stamped. The persistent idolization of whiteness, as evidenced through the tragic history of slavery in the US, further cemented the roots of internalized racism leading to English taking a dominant hold. English is the de facto language of 70 countries and is the official languages of the skies. It has more non-native speakers than any other language in the world.
Historically, power, specifically political and social power, is intrinsically tied to the ability to speak the dominant language. It has resulted in the loss of culture, which is very much dependent on the survival of languages, many of which are now endangered. The drift away from a language often starts for understandable reasons like a desire to assimilate or even survive. This is something I've seen in my own community. Punjabi, being the language of my ancestors, has become increasingly endangered after years of ridicule as the language of uneducated villagers. Many in Punjab itself choose not to speak Punjabi out of a desire to assimilate and be treated with respect by India’s elite, who speak Hindi and hold power and prestige. Even schools in Punjab that once taught in Punjabi now teach in Hindi. It is important to understand this context especially as I speak to you right now in English, my second language, a fact I have often shied away from sharing out of fear of being considered less than.
So how do you tell a story that transcends the barriers of power that language often creates within society? Over the years, I have come to recognize the power that art has as a universal language. No matter what culture or community you belong to, art, particularly photography, has the ability to communicate the nuances that often language fails to when navigating across cultures.
The Legacy of Colonization: Mozambican War of Independence
One of the things many people don't realize is that colonization also resulted in forced migration. It was as much about power through expansion as it was about the annihilation of communities and cultures. This meant that many people were forced to move to countries where they continued to live in endangerment. People were forced to assimilate, abandoning their identities for the sake of survival.
My family had to flee their own country because they didn't choose their nationality. They have no agency to choose, they were under strict dictatorship. They came to Portugal in '74 with a nationality that wasn't well received here, so they came to the country that colonized them and yet did not accept them as Portuguese.
- Eunice Pais
10/30/20 • 39 min
Art of Citizenry
10/01/20 • 34 min
Exploring Intersectional Identities
One of the things I have found to be most impactful in my work is unpacking the complexity and layers to how we identify. No single person has a single identity. We are multidimensional, with each layer of our identity shaping how we see ourselves and hope to be seen.
It is not controversial to say that our identities are about more than just our race. And yet, when we think about representation, the web of experiences that shape our intersectional identities often melds together into one singular identifier of difference: race.
Representation cannot be about individual characteristics that make up any given person, it's about how those characteristics intersect and influence a person's experiences. This is why concepts like intersectionality, which was coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw are important, which essentially looks at how multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage compound themselves.
Our advantages and disadvantages as we navigate an unequal world change, they are fluid and shift as the circumstances around us change. And so, our experiences are a result of a hierarchy of factors that influence the privileges and oppressions that we encounter. Privileges and oppressions compound each other, influencing how they shape our experiences.
Let me share a story...
While in school, my husband traveled to Cuba for a medical education trip. At the immigration counter, the person on the other end was confused by him. Before him stood a brown man with a beard wearing a turban who appeared to be Indian, but was born in Canada, was an American citizen with an American passport, and spoke fluent Spanish without a hint of a distorting American accent. The officer stood confused, eventually summoning a second officer to verify everything was up to snuff. In that moment, why it took longer for my husband to pass through screening cannot be pinpointed to any one aspect of his identity. Sure, some factors, like race in many cases, weigh heavier than others, but the way these aspects of our identity intersect and sometimes contradict each other requires nuance that many of us fail to recognize when talking about representation. We are more than any one aspect of our identity.
Over the past few months, conversations around representation have become a core response for businesses on how they plan to foster a more anti-racist culture within the work place. Across industries, representation has become all about putting more black bodies in front of the camera and in Instagram feeds. Which, don't get me wrong, is fantastic, but this approach to representation can be hollow and easily falls short.
Representation normalizes difference and builds up those who are otherwise left unheard and unseen. Brands need to recognize that their marketing and branding should not just show what their current customer base looks like, but rather strive to represent the customer base they hope to have, one built on inclusion, not exclusion.
Representation + Black Lives Matter
Racism has historically and continues to fuel the way we navigate difference. It is reinforced by the systems and policies we navigate. These differences are what define how others see us, what boxes we are put in.
What happened with Breonna Taylor and her case, represents our current climate, it represents a lack of value for black and brown lives. It represents a lack of caring.
One of the things I have noticed over the last few months is an increase in representation of black bodies in brand marketing, especially on social media. I remember right after the murder of George Floyd, brands started to post photos and run ads with black models on Instagram. It is amazing to have more people of color in front of the camera, but we must be cautious not to fall into the realm of tokenism and performative allyship.
If you are really trying to make change, if this is something you really want to. do, what are you doing on the backend? What are you doing that nobody is going to give you a pat on the back or high five for? What are you doing that is not front facing or forward facing to the world? What are you doing to work on yourself, and your business and challenge your ideas of racism because we all got them...For me representation in the world of social media especially goes deeper than. what. you see on the surface. I want to. know you are doing the work behind. the. scenes. - Chloe Jackman
At this moment in history, it is in vogue to have people of color in your marketing, but that must be intrinsically tied to doing the work of unpacking power...
10/01/20 • 34 min
Art of Citizenry
05/07/21 • 45 min
// Trigger Warning // During this episode, we discuss loss, exploitation, systemic racism, and the devastating results of healthcare inequities. If you need to at any point, pause, step away or just stop listening, I understand. Unpacking moments of profound communal trauma can be incredibly difficult.
05/07/21 • 45 min
08/20/20 • 42 min
From saviorism to poverty porn, for decades, storytelling has become part and parcel of marketing and fundraising efforts. For social enterprises, stories about the lives of the artisans who design and create products are shared often in the name of transparency. With storytelling a core part of many brands' marketing strategy, the conversation around consent is often overlooked.
“Mission-driven products are often sold using some level of someone's trauma and it ultimately makes you feel like you're just being valued for your traumas and nothing else."
Both the biggest strength and failure of a social entrepreneur is storytelling. Where light otherwise remains unshone, social entrepreneurs share stories of hardship, poverty, and inequality. As an unintended consequence, these stories often further deep-seated racial power dynamics first introduced with colonialism.
In episode 5, I am joined by Joy McBrien, the founder and CEO of Fair Anita, a fair trade social enterprise that strives to build a more inclusive economy for women. Fair Anita works with 8,000 women across 9 different countries to create fashion accessories ranging from jewelry to handbags. Their vision is to design a world in which women and girls can grow up feeling safe, respected, and valued no matter their geography.
Language in Storytelling
Language has the power to break and also reinforce stereotypes. I found it interesting to hear Joy talk about "agency" instead of "empowerment." Empowerment is a very loaded word and one I see often used by social enterprises to describe the impact of their work on the artisans they work with. Personally, I find the word empowerment quite problematic because it reinforces the idea that the person on the other end has no power to begin with, essentially discounting any form of agency.
“What does it mean as a white woman working with almost exclusively women of color? What am I then saying with that word because ultimately the word empowerment means to give power and I don't really feel like that's what it is. I think there's a mutual giving of power — like there's power in our combined relationship our shared experiences, but I don't feel like it's one-sided as the word empower suggests.”
Why is knowing the maker's name not good enough? Why is it that instead of sharing professional bios like most companies do of their employees, fair trade and ethical brands choose to share intimate details about the personal lives and trauma of makers?
There is a difference between saying, “Sure you can tell people about my personal trauma” and knowing exactly the extent to which someone's photo and narrative will be used, on swing tags, in shops, on social media, on your website, and so forth. It is important for markers to understand what exactly they are giving consent to, and what that might mean for them, their families, and ultimately, their privacy.
"Remember that storytelling takes place not just on social media, but when we're talking to customers and building those relationships. Even if it's not trackable, it's still really important ...and necessary that we're sharing those stories with consent and and in a way makers would want to be portrayed."
Consent in Photography
We tend to take photos and share them without really thinking much about consent or compensating the person like we would a model in the Global North if we were using their photo to sell our products.
“If you're walking on the street and you think it's fine to take a picture of somebody doing something over there. They're still in the picture — you still have to get their consent. If you don't feel comfortable getting their consent, that probably means you shouldn't be taking their picture.”
The classic example I like to share is that of the "Afghan Girl,” an iconic photo that was published on the cover of National Geographic in 1985. The woman who was photographed, Sharbat Gula, was pulled out of class without her consent or parental consent by the photographer, a white male, who took her to a nondescript location, posed her, and photographed her. What that photo is most known for is the fear in her eyes. When you read interviews with her in recent years, she talks about how that one photograph derailed her life while giving the photographer global recognition. What you see is her genuine fear of a stranger. It truly blows my mind how we don't apply the same principles around consent in photography with those living in the Global South as we do with those living in the Global North.
Where do we go from here as social enterprises?
No one is perfect, this is a process and the purpose of conversations like this is to get us thinking about how we can reflect on the systems we operate in and address some of those issues aroun...
08/20/20 • 42 min
How many episodes does Art of Citizenry have?
Art of Citizenry currently has 17 episodes available.
What topics does Art of Citizenry cover?
The podcast is about Society & Culture, Entrepreneurship, Podcasts, Business and Sustainability.
What is the most popular episode on Art of Citizenry?
The episode title 'Anti-Trafficking, Christian Supremacy and the Rescue Industry' is the most popular.
What is the average episode length on Art of Citizenry?
The average episode length on Art of Citizenry is 49 minutes.
How often are episodes of Art of Citizenry released?
Episodes of Art of Citizenry are typically released every 29 days.
When was the first episode of Art of Citizenry?
The first episode of Art of Citizenry was released on May 27, 2020.
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