Naming and Confronting Subtle Violence in Everyday Church Work

With Lee Ann McKenna

Friday, April 28, 2017 from 10:00-4:00 

at Emmanuel College, 75 Queen's Park Cres., Toronto 

Subtle violence (known as micro-aggressions) are brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership. These exchanges can occur in verbal, behavioural, and environmental form and communicate subtle messages of hostility,degradation, or insult based upon the target’s race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, ability, ethnicity, national heritage, or religion. Micro-aggressions derive their power to injure largely from their invisibility to perpetrators. In fact, perpetrators typically engage in micro-aggressive communication unintentionally and without conscious awareness.

Micro-aggressions then, by definition, are perpetrated outside the conscious awareness of perpetrators, typically quite unintentionally,and often against the conscious self-perception we hold about ourselves as good, moral people. This understandably cultivates various forms of denial of, for example, a malicious intent, as a central experience for perpetrators of micro-aggressions. In this workshop, we will examine three sub-types: 

 1.Micro-insults communicate stereotypes, rudeness,and insensitivity toward an embodiment of human difference, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Micro-insults are subtly demeaning,snubbing the targeted party through a comment or behavioral or environmental cue outside the conscious awareness of the perpetrator.

 2.Micro-invalidations serve to deny the validity of personal experiences for racial minorities, women, and LGBTQ persons, serving to impose reality upon these marginalized groups. Micro-invalidations invalidate, negate, or exclude thoughts, feelings, and experiential realities of targeted parties. The potential for harm rests in the micro-invalidation’s ability to subtly define reality outside the conscious awareness or deliberate intention of those in the privileged majority groups in ways that uphold their unquestioned privilege while marginalizing others.

 3.Micro-assaults are most often conscious and deliberate and intend to communicate a demeaning attack or inflict harm based upon a target’s racial, gender, sexual group identity.

 We’ll focus our examples on three targeted groups – gender, race and LGBTQ. We will do so through the use of story-telling, case studies, role play and play-based learning.  The goal is peace and thriving places of ministry through recognition of your own use of subtle violence and the capacity to name that of others. Once having done so, we will talk about, what now?

 Lee Ann McKenna is an ordained Baptist minister, trainer, writer, musician and story-teller. She was awarded the YMCA Peace Medallion in 2011 in recognition of her peacemaking work in war zones.  With over 26 years of experience working in conflict zones in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Lee works through Partera International to put into play wherever and whenever possible the tools of peace, right relationships and social change – working to bring into being renewed communities, organizations and, workplaces.   

Early Bird Registration Fee is $75 +HST before March 15.
Regular registration is $90.00 + HST

Continuing Education