215 Advice Question: Moderating While Privileged?

We got a thoughtful question from long-time listener Jackson about moderating marginalized folks while being a person who has a lot of privilege. Having had some experience with this ourselves, we tackle this quandary and the bigger philosophical issues around it with our usual gusto!

little white kid screaming into a microphone

In This Episode

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Main Topic
This week, we’re tackling a tough and thoughtful question from listener Jackson about moderating marginalized folks who are creating havoc in online spaces. As two whites who try to provide a safe but also free-thinking, community-building space in the VWPA Society, we understand the challenges inherent in recognizing your own privilege compared to someone else but still needing to handle disputes in a fair manner that protects others in the group. Jackson writes:

There’s a member of the group who’s been causing problems for quite some time, but I’ve struggled to kick him out or try to police his tone because he is aboriginal and often speaks from a place of hurt for what white people like myself have done to his people’s land. I’ve also become a personal friend of his and can see his good intentions even though they come across as being rude and disrespectful to other group members.

For example, he posted the below comic the other day that compares the AR movement to the women’s rights movement. He often speaks of
intersectionality, but uses it to justify comparing oppressions like calling carnists nazis, using the term animal holocaust, etc.

I’ve had members of the local Jewish community
as well as local feminists come to me asking me to do something about his behaviour. I’ve spoken to him about it several times and he’s apologized to me and promised to be more careful, but it keeps happening.

He also started a big nasty anti-
vaxx debate a few days ago that almost made the group combust.

I’m just wondering if you’ve had any experience dealing with a similar situation, and if so if you have any advice on if there are any action steps I can take to try and keep the peace. If I just do what multiple people have told me to do and kick him out of the group, it would be a straight white cis male silencing and ostracizing an aboriginal activist who is just trying to fight for oppressed beings.
Quite a conundrum :(

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