The Accountability Card Project

We're glad that you've taken the time to seek out more information on the Accountability Card Project!  On this page you'll find information on the project as well as resources to learn more about how we all can create a more just world.

What is the Accountability Card Project?
The ACP was created by Men in the Movement, CSU's men's anti-violence group, as a way to name/notice the ways that oppression plays out on an inter-personal level.  We believe that giving feedback when oppression shows up (to whatever degree) is important, and often times delivering feedback is something people struggle with. 

The ACP hopes to facilitate this process by encouraging people to give feedback on both positive and negative situations involving oppression.  An example of a positive situation involving oppression would be using inclusive language ("you all", instead of "you guys").  Whereas an example of a negative situation involving oppression would be making assumptions about people's identities or capabilities.  These are just a couple examples and of course, it's up to you to name these experiences for yourself because what one person may see as oppressive, another may not (and vice versa). 

While it can be difficult to give others feedback (especially when the feedback deals with causing harm), we also want to recognize that it can also be challenging to receive feedback.  Often times, our first reaction is to feel somewhat defensive and that's ok.  It's in our best interest to be able to get past defensiveness in order to examine our beliefs/behaviors and how they might be connected to systems of oppression.

WTF are systems of oppression?

When we say "systems of oppression" we are mainly talking about the ways that society is divided up into social groups based upon access to power.  We believe that age, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientations, and socio-economic status are really important factors that mediate access to power in society. 

These play out on an individual level as well on a systemic level.  Sometimes this way of looking at the world can be difficult because it is so normalized.  Part of learning about systems of oppression means having to examine "the way things are" because power and privilege are normalized and often unquestioned.  

Many people would say that this would be a "social justice" way of thinking about inequality, power, and privilege.  

So if I get negative feedback, are you saying I'm a bad person?
No! Well, unless your intention was to be a jerk.  Then maybe.  Most of the time we have good intentions and mean well.  This doesn't mean that however you may have impacted someone is excused, nor does it mean that their reaction is invalid.  Assuming that your intention was not to cause harm, receiving feedback is a way to grow as a person.  We all do things that are unintentionally harmful and we can all do things to minimize our negative impact in the future. 

So if I got positive feedback, are you saying I'm a good person?
Sure!  You're probably a great person.  However, one of our worries with this project is that it will encourage people to give feedback to others while not simultaneously encouraging us all to be introspective.  It's just as important to make sure we're being mindful of the ways that we have privilege (in whatever capacity) and how that privilege allows us to be unaware of the ways that we benefit from systems of oppression and/or cause harm. 

Why the seemingly "little things" matter

One of the most common reactions to getting negative feedback is to think that the person who was affected is "over-reacting", especially when it's "just a joke".  But here's the thing: the seemingly little things are the ways that systemic oppression is perpetuated, sustained, and experienced on a daily basis. 

Let's look at how this works with race, for example.  Very few people would consider themselves racist.  They're not a member of the KKK and their "best friend" is a person of color.  But students of color on our campus attest to the racism that they experience on a daily basis.  These experiences are usually (not always) about being marginalized, stereotyped, excluded, silenced, and even at times subject to physical violence. 

Being stereotyped one time might not be a huge deal.  But when these seemingly little things occur so often that they can be expected, the cumulative impact can be likened to getting a million little cuts.  One's no big deal, but they add up.  These are referred to as "microaggression".  Microaggressions are reflections of systemic inequalities because they reside upon over-arching beliefs and assumptions of marginalized people as "less than".  For more on microaggresions, click here or here.

Why did a men's anti-gender violence group start this project?
Men in the Movement originally got the idea from here.  As a group, we believe that men have a responsibility to dismantle gender oppression.  Part of this means that as men it's our responsibility to hold other men accountable when we perpetrate sexism.  While engaging in this process we also need to simultaneously be self-critical and not just turn into masculinity police. 
The cards seemed like an interesting idea and we decided to broaden it to be able to be intersectional and encompass a wide range of oppressive situations. 

In some instances, this can be a really good way to "do something" about ableism if you're temporarily able bodied, or racism if you're white, or transphobia if you're cisgender, or homophobia if you're straight. 

In fact, lots of people see this as a really great way to use your areas of privilege for good.  After all, when you have privilege you can't just give it away.  It's something that society gives you.  And until you change the institutions in society that give it to you, you will still have it.  When you're in a position of privilege society has given you a platform, see this as an opportunity of how to use it for good.

Where can I get some cards?
Send an email to or stop by the Women and Gender Advocacy Center at 112 Student Services.

Where can I learn more?

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