Masters of Community with David Spinks

Culture, Oppression & Community with Mia Birdsong

Episode Summary

In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Mia Birdsong, a social activist and the author of “How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community”. In this book, Mia explores and expands on the idea of how we connect in a community or family. And in this episode, David and Mia talk about how a culture of self-reliance and how a system of oppression became hurdles for forming community and how overcoming them can help us form more connected relationships. Who is this episode for?: Community Managers, Activists, Social Anthropologists 3 key takeaways: 1. In a culture of self-reliance, we see asking for help as a transaction that we have to reciprocate. When we have more resources, we tend to not seek help because we just use those resources to hire people to do things for us. This culture of self-reliance can alienate us from our community. 2. We can find community during times of struggle, celebration, joy, and sharing. It’s not something we have to learn to do. The emotional need for human connection will reveal itself if we can unlearn the social conditioning of our individualistic culture. 3. Removing systemic oppression from our societies is about dealing with sexism, patriarchy, racism, and ableism and that work will free us to be more human because we won’t be held back by outdated systems of control. Notable Quotes: 1. If you're poor, your experience of being poor is less crappy if you are in deep relationships with folks, because you can leverage social capital and take care of some needs that you have that people who have more resources use financial capital for. 2. There's this box that men fit inside of, and it doesn't allow men to be comfortable in feeling vulnerable or sad or ask for protection or hug each other or cry in front of their friends or tell them that they love them or hold hands. All of these things that men are just trained from a very young age not to do. It's so restrictive. 3. There's the expansiveness we get to lean into around who we are and the discovery of who we are that we get to have because we were no longer held to some preconceived idea of what our identity is, is so freeing. 4. As we expand our understanding of the ways in which we hold power and privilege, we start to notice other people more fully, which then is allowing us to notice ourselves more fully. Rapid-fire question answers: 1. What’s your favorite book to recommend to others? Parable of the Sower and other books by Octavia Butler 2. What mic do you use on your podcast? Shure SM7B 3. In one minute or less, share your wildest community story? (Declined to answer). 4. What’s your go-to community engagement/conversation starter? Food. 5. Have you ever worn socks with sandals? During camping or when it gets cold at night but she doesn’t generally go out like that. 6. Who in the world of the community would you most like to take out for lunch? She has already had meals with most of her favorite people through her work on her book 7. What’s the weirdest community you’ve been a part of? Beekeeping. 8. What have you learned about community building from beekeeping? Most bees are solitary bees, but honeybees can not live individually. Most bees are solitary. Honeybee hives are mostly female. When new Queens emerge and they want to find drones to mate with during warm/spring weather, they go to drone congregation areas far from their hive to maintain health in their community. 9. If you were to find yourself on your deathbed, how would you condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter-sized piece of advice on how to live? Laugh more, love more, rest, more. Listen more, seek joy and pleasure by less shit. Give fewer f***s. Look at the sky. You know, notice, smell the roses, be present in your life. Hydrate.