A progressive stack is a technique used in New York designed to ensure that people from marginalized groups get a greater chance to speak. It is sometimes an introduction to, or stepping stone to, consensus decision-making in which simple majorities have less power.
The theory behind the progressive stack is to counteract the notion that people who are part of the majority or dominant culture are generally encouraged to express themselves, while people from minority or non-dominant groups are mostly silenced or ignored. In practice, "majority culture" is typically interpreted by progressive stack practitioners to mean white or male or young adult, while non-dominant groups include women; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; people of color; and very young or older people.
The "stack" in the Occupy movement is the list of speakers who are commenting on proposals or asking questions in public meetings. Anyone can request to be added to the stack. In meetings that don't use the progressive stack, people speak in the order they were added to the queue. In meetings that use the progressive stack, people from non-dominant groups are sometimes allowed to speak before people from dominant groups, by facilitators, or stack-keepers, urging speakers to "step forward, or step back" based on which racial, age, or gender group they belong to.
A. Barton Hinkle, a columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has expressed the opinion that "lining up speakers by race and gender might not seem fair on an individual level."
Among those opposed to the concept of "progressive stack", conservative journalist and author Jim Goad commented satirically on the concept in these terms: "The concept of intersectionality is also related to the “progressive stack,” which assumes that white males at all times bear noxious degrees of unearned power, which is why they have to get to the back of the line and let all the legless black lesbians speak first."
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- Hinkle, A. Barton. "OWS protesters have strange ideas about fairness". Richmond Times Dispatch. Timesdispatch.com. Retrieved 25 March 2013.