Set up for success not feed back or retrofit

As I have said regularly with teams I work in, if you want something written about Indigenous people or health, feel free to ask for my guidance or input first to set something up for success.

I do also say, ‘please keep in mind we are not asking for something to be written, it is you’. This is not Indigenous people self-determining. We are not self-determining dispite you saying you are committed to this, and the project and the team are committed to this. I say ”just first check with yourself and your team why you are to write the article, or whatever the action is you are determining?’ Often it is people wanting to convey how they are taking action. Writing an article describing others’ work or a conversation you heard is not action.

I do say to people ‘using my time to feed back on your work takes me and us away from doing the other actions we have committed to’.

I also say, ‘if you get more informed on, and use the basics, then, I won’t take so long in this position of having to give feedback’.

Also, if we do the action that Indigenous people have self-determined, then we are less exposed to the material others construct about us.

This material, draft articles to ‘just check over to see its ok’ exposes me to the thoughts people have about Indigenous people, which are almost always paternalistic, stereotyping, under-developed, ill-informed and ascribing blame to individuals and their need for behaviour change e.g. to get out of prison, stop offending and retain employment. sensitive and boring position to retrofit, which you might receive as negative feedback.

My feedback should never be construed as negative feedback. My feedback is for positive development of written expression, meaning, future understanding and integrity with e.g. human rights statements. This is all positive. It’s negative when people realise that they were not informed by publicly available information about writing about Indigenous people, or people in prison. Or, writing in ways that are inclusive. Or socially just. Or, simply, clear in meaning, and intention. When people feel shame attached to knowing they did not do their homework first before opening themselves up to feedback from me, this is the negative experience. If only shame could be accepted as a positive emotion that generates energy for action to improve the future. But, I suppose the so-called ‘shame spiral’ must have an up for ‘improvement’ and a ‘down’ for that hideous feeling in the pit of the stomach that I really am a dickhead for wanting to show something publicly before I and it was ready.

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