Category Archives: community patterns

The Problem Bazaar

This is an idea for a community pattern, for something like a Rotary Club or church group. It requires a significant level of trust between members of a group.

A physical bulletin board, or something similar, is maintained by the group. It contains postings by members of problems that the group might be able to address. Early on they would probably be volunteer efforts to feed the homeless or build Habitat houses. As trust is built, members could get help with personal problems.


How would an anti-racist party work?

(Like a birthday party, not a political party.)

Elsewhere, I’ve mentioned that I think the problem of racism requires us to “expose people to each other – social integration.” This is a a fairly old (months) idea for me; maybe it’s already being done, but I don’t see it and it seems to be a gaping hole in what’s being done. This is essentially a brainstorm.

0. Before we really plan anything, we had better involve black folks. Both to guard against blind spots and for the necessary appearance of legitimacy, this is just the right way to do it.

1. Somehow we need to “break the ice” around race and racism, and make them subjects that can be discussed. In person. Looking each other in the eye.

2. This should not simply be an “anti-racist party.” Give people some other reason to show up, like food, door prizes, or games (board, card, party, etc.).

3. In order to have a significant effect, this should be a sustained initiative. That means we would need a non-profit, donations, and facilities. (I have no idea how to run a non-profit, but I’ll donate!) We could rent a civic center with donations, but making it a municipal event would be appropriate and helpful.

Game ideas

Let’s say we got the best possible attendance: 50% white and 50% non-white. We pair them off with each other randomly to chat. After 10 minutes, we shuffle them and encourage them to talk about the person they just talked to. After another 10 minutes, we shuffle them again and encourage them to talk about the people they’ve been paired with so far. Repeat three more times, for a total of an hour. Maybe have everyone fill out a questionnaire about the experience.

Construct a scenario where black people are systematically favored, maybe within another game. (I would call it Reverse Racism. 😉 )