Remove Racism – Actionable Space Quest (ASQ)

One of the emails said today is International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Experiencing racism myself in Australia I want to ask what can we do to stop and remove racism? How can we eliminate racial discrimination? In what ways can we act towards accepting all without any racial bias and prejudice? A few years ago I developed a theoretical construct called Actionable Space (AS) in my doctoral research work. I am now trying to apply AS construct to the subject of eliminating racism through identifying our positions within the five locations of ASQ, adding the Quest dimension to it. I am hoping that by doing this we become aware of our thoughts, actions, feelings, emotions and expressions linked with racism.
The five locations that I have developed within the ASQ are: 1. Becoming Aware of the situation and the self in it. 2. Being Aware – being aware of the situation, the self in it and thinking of addressing the situation to change it. 3. Thinking Action – being aware of the situation, the self in it, thinking of action to change the situation, but consciously not choosing to act. 4. Acting to Change – being aware of the situation, the self in it, addressing the situation to change it and taking action consciously. 5. Through the decision-action process, reflect on how the person felt enabled to take action and sustain this Acting to Change, and commit to it.
In the first location the person consciously identifies their thoughts and responses that are considered racist. Becoming aware that they are discriminating somebody for racial reasons itself may be a huge journey for them. In the second location the person is consciously aware of their thoughts, reactions and responses that are considered racist. They will explore their experiences and situations related to racism and see how they are discriminating. They may identify a specific person or situation-centred frame, think about it trying to reach down to the beneath the iceberg elements. This is the location where the person examines their feelings and emotions. In the third location, the person identifies a specific situation/person linked with their expression of racism and discrimination. The person analyses the self as an actor within their situation – their beliefs, values and attitudes towards others that they are discriminating based on racial perceptions. The person contemplates addressing their racially discriminating behaviour but may not decide to act upon it any further. However, they are clearly and definitely understand why and how they are expressing racism in their everyday life. In the fourth location the person is aware of the effects of their practice of racism and discrimination; they consciously decide to address their behaviour and desire a change. They initiate further self-examination, an interrogation of their beliefs, values and attitudes. They decide to act, to change their behaviour of racial discrimination. They find ways to engage in acceptance and practise these ways in their everyday life, consciously. In the fifth location the person who is practising acceptance reflects back on their beliefs, values and attitudes that they held before they entered Actionable Space and began their self-exploration. They will trace their journey from behaviour of racial discrimination to behaviour of acceptance. They will reflect on how they felt enabled to initiate the best action to accept without racism. Here, they also commit to sustain their action.
These various locations of the ASQ are centred around the actor’s human agency. It is also based on choice theory. Some may not be aware of their choices; some may choose to ‘suit’ the situation better rather than thinking of changing it. Some others may choose to think more deeply of how they are operating as capable human beings and decide to act for a transformative change. These decisions and choices also arise from the person’s comfort zone, thinking outside the box, personal permissions, agreements, negotiations, barriers, enablers, acceptance and resistance. The AS exists in each individual human being’s lived world. It should become everyone’s Quest if we want to stop, remove and eliminate racism.
Cheers, Vinathe

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About Vinathe Sharma

I am an interdisciplinary researcher and practitioner. My engagment is to facilitate people's understanding of their own agency and the Actionable Space in their life. I draw from various theoretical and practitioner areas of Education, Psychology, Social Work, Environmental Studies, Literature, Sociology and History. I work with communities at the grassroots as well as in the academia.
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