One of the ways of thinking about social change is “let’s get the few most charismatic people who look the most like what society already thinks are good people, and have a few really spectacular cases and maybe some New York Times articles about them, and people will think we’re good, and like us, and perhaps we’ll make an advance for everyone.”
Turns out that doesn’t really work. It turns out that if you solve the problem for people who are the least vulnerable of the vulnerable, usually you end up mobilizing ideas that actually further the stigma of those who are considered outside or not good enough.
And so, the idea of “trickle-up” social justice is that we should actually, ethically, start with those who are facing the worst conditions, who are most losing their lives, those people in prisons and immigration facilities, and experiencing poverty and homelessness, we should start by figuring out how to solve the problems for them.
And inevitably, that will solve the problems for everyone, but it’s not the other way around.
Dean Spade, Trickle-Up Social Justice (via mytimeoutsidethewomb)