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Challenging Toxic Positivity

After the high anticipation leading up the election, it is normal and expected to feel overwhelmed. Many of us remain anxious about what things look like on "the other side" where there is clearly much work to be done. For some of us, keeping an optimistic outlook might be a way to cope with the many questions that remain unresolved. But what is the difference between a discipline of hope and toxic positivity? Check out this clip from the "Challenging Dynamics" section of our Diversity Training & Education team's TerrapinSTRONG training video where we explain the danger of toxic positivity and how we might challenge it in our classrooms and workspaces.

Why is this important to diversity & inclusion work? At best, toxic positivity blocks our ability to get to the nuances of equity and justice. At worst, it feeds into the dynamic where we prioritize the comfort of people with privileged identities while everyone else must wait. No matter the results of the election, we still face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, an economic crisis and the reality of deeply oppressive institutions. It's valid for folks to want a break from the uncertainty and an escape from despair. However, we must find ways to rest and recover as individuals and still commit to holding ourselves and our leaders accountable for the long haul.


Campus Unit