Letting Your Freak Flag Fly

David Rendall‘s ChangeThis manifesto explains how and why.

I’m new to the field of personal development, so I keep wondering if this advice is largely being written by white people. I do think the advice could be relevant to the lives of people who face prejudice and systemic oppression, but it could be more relevant if it were couched in and/or preceded by some sort of compassionate acknowledgment that in “flaunting” our differences we* face particular challenges that also need to be addressed with collective action.

* I’m leaving that “we” deliberately vague and expansive because I’m too lazy to try to catalog the kyriarchy‘s myriad targets of oppression.

2 thoughts on “Letting Your Freak Flag Fly”

  1. Lee,

    Thank you for posting my manifesto. I’m glad you liked it enough to share it with others.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that I am a man, who is also tall and white. However, as a husband and the father of three daughters, I’m gradually turning into a woman. It’s another part of my personal freak factor.

    I have two comments about what you said. First, I do think the freak factor has important implications for people who face “prejudice and systemic oppression.” It is an argument for the power and value of differences and a call for people to resist efforts to repress those differences.

    Second, it would certainly be beneficial if there was a collective acceptance of this concept and if differences were valued instead of despised. I think we can fight this battle as individuals and small groups. We can demonstrate, in small and large ways, that diversity is more useful than conformity.

    David Rendall

  2. Hi, David, thanks for commenting.

    I agree that differences are beneficial and I think (hope) most people reading your manifesto would be able to guess that that applies with regard to being “different” or Othered due to skin color, sex, etc.

    I suppose I’m worried that to the extent that we understand ourselves and our problems through collective identity/action, the idea of emphasizing individual uniqueness can be frightening. And scary advice from someone who doesn’t belong to the same category of oppression that you do can feel indifferent and/or hostile.

    I wasn’t, by the way, terribly concerned about *your* color so much as the demographics of the personal development movement.

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