Do we need a blog by another straight, white, male?

Blog written in speech bubbles
(Photo: Pixabay)

I started the Sustaining Community blog to highlight resources and information that I thought were relevant to students and practitioners. Soon after, I also started writing content that I thought might be useful. The style and voice of the blog was shaped by believing I needed to live up to my expectations of students by

  • Relying on, and referencing, reliable sources
  • Not making generalisations or unfounded claims
  • Being able to justify my position or arguments.

I’ve discovered that my most popular posts are from the “What is …” series. I also find those posts very helpful personally because they force me to research a subject, understand what the literature is saying and condense a broad body of literature into key themes. I find them particularly useful when I want to deepen my knowledge about a topic, especially when the focus of my work shifts, or I take on a new project (e.g., What are 5 styles of conflict management?; What are program logic models? )

At the moment I’m working on a couple of posts: What is trauma? and What is trauma-informed practice? I’m focusing more and more on Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) so I’m doing the posts for three main reasons:

  1. To improve my understanding of trauma and trauma informed practice
  2. To explore the extent to which Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is trauma informed
  3. To keep improving my AVP practice.

At the same time, writing posts like these take a lot of time (which is why I haven’t posted in a while) and raise questions for me about my role as a blogger and the implications of presenting myself as an authoritative voice on a range of topics. I sometimes wonder: Who am I to introduce a topic when there are usually other good overviews available and I don’t necessarily have any particular expertise in the area? I justify it for myself in a number of ways:

  1. My training and experience mean that I think I am fairly good at researching a topic, synthesising key information, and sharing it in fairly plain English.
  2. They allow me to emphasise certain aspects of a topic that I think could be important for practitioners or to encourage a particular approach or perspective.
  3. Writing about a topic is a great way to learn about it and, once I have done the work, I might as well share it in case others find it helpful.

Another question that concerns me is: Does the world really need to hear the voice of another straight, white, privileged, male boomer?

Clearly my demographic is over-represented in politics, company boardrooms, mainstream media and other positions of power and influence. But what does that mean for my blog? Does it mean that I should lay it to rest? I don’t think so as I think it still serves a purpose and hopefully provides information that others find useful. It does mean I need to be aware of my position of privilege, be open to other perspectives and remember that even when I think I’m being as objective as I can, my writing is still shaped by biases, blind spots and values that have been shaped by a position of privilege.

I often write about working with people who have experienced abuse and trauma, who face multiple level of disadvantage and marginalisation, and/or have been failed by multiple systems (e.g., education, health, human services, and/or child protection). But I write as somebody who has nearly always been the professional or helper. While there is nothing wrong in writing from that position (I can’t write from any other), it is important to remember that it is only part of the picture. If I was writing as the recipient of family and community services, what I wrote about (and how I wrote about it) might be very different.

Similar to evidence-informed practice (see graphic below), it is important to consider research evidence, practitioner wisdom and lived experience; and not to think that research evidence and the experience of practitioners are more valuable or important.

A Venn-diagram with three interlocking circles: Research evidence, Practitioner wisdom and Family experience and insights. In the middle where the 3 overlap is evidence-informed practice.

Maybe as a follow up to my trauma posts, I could provide links to some resources that come from the perspective of lived experience.

Sometimes when I write my annual overviews of my blog I comment on how I find it interesting that my blog doesn’t receive many comments. The main reason I would like to increase the interaction is that it could help broaden my (and readers) thinking by hearing other perspectives and discovering what else people think needs to be emphasised.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. Changing focus of the blog
  2. The struggle of trying to write
  3. Blogging as an academic
  4. Trialling an open AVP group with people recently out of prison or rehab
  5. 4 types of power: What are power over; power with; power to and power within?
  6. Parenting for a better world

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, environmentalist, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace, sustainability.
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9 Responses to Do we need a blog by another straight, white, male?

  1. Noah says:

    Great job on starting the Sustaining Community blog! It’s inspiring to see how you strive to provide reliable and evidence-based information to your audience. The fact that your “What is…” series is so popular speaks volumes to the importance of clear and concise explanations of complex topics. It’s also great that these posts serve as a personal learning tool for you, helping to deepen your understanding and provide a foundation for new projects.


  2. Roland Lubett says:

    Thanks Graeme for your blogging over these years. I always read the blogs and have learned much, especially about strength/asset-based approaches.
    Keep going mate! And let us encourage and support a diversity of content and contributors. We can’t do much about our status per se, but we can open doors to alternative networks and voices.
    From another straight white male (Brisbane-based but much involved in PNG)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kate says:

    I always really value how you explain your subject: jargon-free and in plain English!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. michaelb761 says:

    Thankyou Graeme, I appreciate your analysis and sensitivity to difference, interest in power and commitment to community values, the environment, wellbeing, families, and justice. Important issues that need to be thought about, written on and discussed. Keep writing and promoting dialogue. We’re all in this together.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rose Boddy says:

    As newish lecturer in the field of Social Services, I find your posts thought provoking and in particular your use of references and ‘your why’. Your posts help to assess my position and the resources I am currently using.

    Liked by 1 person

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