Session 4: Undoing the division carer / cared for


In this session, we look at the strategies used by Sea Watch to make visible own biases in terms of latent sexism and racism as well as their influence on organizational practices and structures. We reflect on the potential pitfalls of power implicit in the giving and receiving different kinds of caring, restraints and limits to undoing of the division between care givers and recipients, and available ways to puncture and dilute these diving lines.

Let’s learn together

Step 1: Lets’s read

Participants read aloud:

Step 2: Let’s talk about how we talk

Share mixed experiences, lessons learned, and strategies of the activist group / organization as well as those of the activists, related to sexism and racism. Look into:

(1) unstructured, spontaneous or ad hoc conversations around sexism and/or racism,

(2) internal organizational mechanisms for responding to denounced instances of sexism/racism on the ship,

(3) conversations among carers (crew) and cared for (guests) that touch issues of sexism/racism,

(4) interventions of the carers (crew) in situations of sexism/racism among cared for-s (guests), and

(5) working groups active on the issues of sexism/racism. Give examples. Open for discussion.

Step 3: Guests and hosts

Explain the constraints on the undoing of the carer/cared for division. On the Sea Watch 3, these are:

(1) temporal dimension of the relationship between the crew and the guests on board – short time spans, at least before the times of long stand-offs,

(2) logistical, skilled workload, security and safety issues that are basis for control mechanisms (e.g. taking away lighters from guests, not allowing them to certain spaces in/on the ship, not including them in work that requires specific skills) and coordination mechanisms, and

(3) issues of psychosocial and physical vulnerability – different survivors need different care, all carry traumas, some require specific medical care…

Think which of these, and to what extent, should and can be undone or modified in a way that introduces more mutuality, and which should not and/or cannot. Examples of challenging the clean division of recipients and givers of care on the ship: including guests in the searching for boats in distress with binoculars, in ship maintenance tasks and preparation of meals.