Dean Spade

American activist

Dean Spade (born 1977) is an American lawyer, writer, trans activist, and Associate Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law.

Dean Spade in 2015


“Having a Cause” versus Living in a Life Centered in Radical TransformationEdit

November 23, 2018 Full text online
  • The systems we live under are focused on keeping us in our places and keeping the status quo going strong. That means that our resistance, frustration or sense of injustice needs to be channeled in ways that will make it minimally disruptive. Our sense that things are not right, that it is unjust for some people to have so much more than they need while others die of malnutrition and exposure, could be threatening if we got together to overturn a system that keeps concentrating wealth. That system would prefer that we go back to jobs that keep churning out that wealth for the top 1%, and volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, and feel like we have satisfied our concerns about poverty.
  • Charity is system-affirming. It does nothing about the root causes of poverty, criminalization, and racism. It just treats a few of the symptoms selectively. Social justice work is about making it so that no one is poor, homeless, targeted by police, deportable, or exploited.
  • Thin notions of volunteerism are about “feeling good” by “giving back.” I would argue that we need to feel more of the feelings that are labeled negative, like grief, sadness, anger, rage, and despair. ... Many of us feel so overwhelmed that we can’t imagine how we would begin to do anything effective. It can feel like the safest bet is to not even try. Or it can feel like we should go with a prescribed recipe for participating in charity or social services—volunteering at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, or attending one march or rally a year. Often these are efforts to quell the guilt and concern that plague us, rather than providing real opportunities for connection where we feel like we were part of meaningful change.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: