By Dwight Panozzo, PhD
Here are updates on our two Accountability Circles, one discussing anti-racism, which meets on the second Sunday of every month, and the other exploring gender issues, which meets on the last Saturday of every month.
Gender Explorations Accountability Circle, Jan. 28
The Gender Explorations Accountability Circle will meet for the first time on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 9 am via zoom. Here is the link for that, and all other Accountability Circle meetings.
In order to acquaint ourselves, with some of the controversy around the topic of gender, I have curated a brief list of videos and articles to help ground participants in the topic. Please do not feel that you have to watch and read all of these, but do try to take in a few of them before attending the meeting on the 28th. You will find the articles here.
Sasha Ayad is a well-known psychotherapist who has dealt with gender exploration issues for a number of years. Here is a link to her YouTube video on the difference between affirming a child’s sexual orientation versus affirming a gender identity.
Helen Joyce is the author of the book “Trans.” She was a writer for “The Economist” and holds a PhD in mathematics. Her views are quite antithetical to those who tend to affirm transgender identified people. Come would call her a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist).
Samantha Lux is a male to female (MTF) transgender person. Here, she does a takedown of a conservative cartoon explanation of the gender affirmation of a 6-year-old boy.
Here is Powered by Rainbows’ short video explaining basic concepts around transgender:
Paul Williams, who was a big deal in an evangelical church, preached in mega-churches, had a television show, (and a wife and three grown children) when she transitioned about 8 to 10 years ago, was, of course, kicked out of the church. Paula Stone Williams is very bright and witty and a gifted speaker, which makes her TedTalk very easy and interesting to watch.
At the Circle, we will explore some of the issues and controversies surrounding gender and consider future books to read and explore in the months ahead as we work to develop an accountability harvest for ourselves around gender. Possible future books include Helen Joyce’s “Trans” and Paula Stone Williams’ “As a Woman.”
Anti-Racism Accountability Circle, Feb. 12
The Anti-Racism Accountability Circle met on Sunday, Jan. 8, to continue our explorations of John McWhorter’s “Woke Racism” and Ibram X Kendi‘s “How to be an Anti-Racist.” The reading of these two books in tandem has nourished the conversation and provided attendees with tools to explore each book that would not otherwise necessarily be available or at least top of mind. Naturally, the conversation was lively, but incredibly thoughtful and meaningful. It is a joy to work with my fellow attendees on these issues to deepen our personal understanding so that we may eventually share the understanding beyond our circle.
We next meet on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 7 pm. Here is the link for that meeting and all Accountability Circle meetings.
Our reading for next month will be limited to Kendi’s book, as we need to do some catch-up. If you’d like to join us, it would be useful to read or listen to the Kendi book up to and including chapter 12. For a deeper grounding in the topic, you might also read or listen to the McWhorter book up to chapter 4.
As always, our comment pages on the Google Drive are available for folks to read and bring themselves up to speed on some of the topics that we touch upon. Here is the link to the Kendi notes, and here is the link to the McWhorter notes.
An initial thought that I have been pondering is that there are still clear signs of racism in our culture, but not everything presented to us as racism is actually just racism—yes, it’s complicated. This challenge almost certainly sets back the drive for equality and anti-racism overall. This is difficult and challenging work. I hope that you will join us in it.
Dwight Panozzo, founder and leader of the Accountability Circles, is a longtime member of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.