The Ultimate Behavior Analytic Resource Guide for Social Change

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

When we started the Beautiful Humans platform, our only hope was to inspire others to answer the call to promote social change within themselves, the behavior analysis field, and the broader world. We wanted to do this by holding true to our mission: bridge behavioral science, social justice, and socially significant topics together to address racism,sexism,heterosexism, all forms of oppression and their related behaviors.

Beautiful Humans: The Social Change Cast serves the purpose of creating conversations regarding justice and equity that exist outside of our private conversations and ABA bubbles(hello dissemination). We don't just stop at talking; every episode we are sure to assign our listeners assignments reflecting values based actions for self-learning and active social change. In the past 30 days we have reached a total of 47,895 people across our platform and engaged our audience nearly 20 thousand times. Through the lifespan of our podcast, we have produced over 30 hours of social justice related audio and a plethora of visual content for behavior analysts and the broader world.

We did not do this alone. We leaned on the passion and expertise of behavior analysts, social psychologists, and activists to create a space for us all to learn, grow, and do.

As the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade have called us to pivot as individuals and a field, we have started to see many new initiatives take form. Passion and an apparent gap in our field informed analysts it was time to do something. And as a result, we have seen groups and task forces emerge.

As we continue growing and pivoting, it will be important for behavior analysts to challenge the"silo mentality." Silo mentality becomes apparent when groups and organizations working toward a common goal fail to communicate, re-invent the wheel, and duplicate one another's work. The groups may select behaviors that promote the survival of their own group and as a result may potentially lose sight of their overarching mission. With silo-mentality groups spend time refurbishing similar information and products as opposed to banding together with collective strength and extending their reach.

With maintaining a silo mentality, ultimately groups reduce their impact and risk failing to reach their goals.

The truth is we have a lot of work to do. And hopefully, the few of us who are committed to ending oppression, in all forms, will work together. No we do not have to merge coalitions or present our information the same, however, we should continue growing and learning with one another; utilizing one another's unique strengths, talents, connections, and platforms.

Behavior analysts have unique potential to promote change. But to do this, we will need to pull from our existing bodies of literature, talk to one another, and collaborate. Helen Keller said, "alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Let's work together to actualize our vision of a just and equitable world.

If you are behavior analyst who wants to use our science for social justice, before you re-invent the wheel and start from scratch, these tips are for you:

  1. Remember though we have science on our side, there is not a quick fix or easy solution to ending oppression. We must be committed to this for the long haul. The path to justice is a marathon not a sprint. If you have a moment in which you feel compelled to move, take a breath and an assessment before forming a new facebook group or business. Marginalized groups deserve full-sweeping change, not temporary or momentary actions that fail to produce meaningful impact. Ibram Kendi summed it up perfectly, "we do not need feelings advocacy. We need to make society better, not feel better." For a behavioral explanation of this, see our instagram visual which reveals a similar message. If you do a thorough assessment and still decide to start that group, ensure you have a way to contact reinforcement with this new journey. You can potentially do this by setting a value and continuously working in alignment to what's important for you. Reinforce the small wins on the path to justice and liberation. "Wins" are defined as tangible actions that shift the environment/society to an equitable and safe space for marginalized groups.

  2. We cannot "fix" others when there is a speck in our own eye. This is a paraphrase of an old biblical quote that means we will need to turn inwards before attempting to focus on others. Oppression is not a mystical force that we all will slay after changing into colorful power ranger outfits. Oppression is a system that maintains power by discrete behaviors enacted by every single one of us daily. We need to address our stuff. If there is a group or cause you care about, love them enough to work on your own issues(biases, prejudices, -isms).

  3. We will also need to overhaul our own field. We have struggled as a field for years. Racism, sexism, all the isms, are alive and well on this island. Take a moment to imagine teaching others about the usefulness of our science, by using data that confirms HOW we used the science to combat our own field-wide concerns? Talk about inspiration! Talk about validation.

  4. Look for pre-existing resources. If you are working, home with children, or are a student, there is no need to start over. You can look for those who have done the work previously. Ask to get involved or show up when they ask for help. Read and listen to their work. But whatever you do, do not re-invent the wheel if what you already hope to achieve exists.

Don't know what exists? We have created a comprehensive resource guide with behavior analytic publications related to social justice topics. You can find our list here.

There is a wonderful saying said recently by social justice scholar, Candace Sampson, "there are many ways to bake a pie." This just means there are many ways to achieve a goal. If you are looking to get involved in social justice but do not know what groups exist, we got you covered. You can check out the following groups below who are currently baking their own social justice "pie":

  1. Us of course! We provide CEs every month via our podcast for patreon users, provide training opportunities on our website, connect behavior analysts to activists and voices outside of our field, create opportunities to engage in activist campaigns together, and we will open our membership area in the upcoming months for us to continue the hard work with one another.

  2. Behaviorists for Social Responsibility. The mission of Behaviorists for Social Responsibility (BFSR) is to act to expand applications of behavior analysis and cultural analysis addressing social issues, particularly those with social justice, human rights, and environmental implications. Activities of BFSR include expanding and strengthening the community of behavior analytic scientists working in areas of societal and global importance; providing mutual motivative operations and reinforcement for this work, while supporting and challenging each other in deepening it; encouraging advances in the emerging sub-discipline of behavioral systems science/cultural analysis, in which many promising approaches to dealing with important societal and global issues are grounded; expanding access to current experimental, applied, and conceptual analyses related to social issues and behavioral systems analysis worldwide through publication of the scientific journal Behavior and Social Issues; encouraging behavior scientists and practitioners to take practical action challenging oppression, in solidarity with those who are most at risk; expanding public awareness of behavior analytic and cultural analytic principles and practices that can contribute to addressing social issues; and expanding presentations and programming related to social issues at the ABAI annual convention and other scientific and professional venues.

  3. Uncomfortable X . Their mission to use the ambition of grassroots movements to bring change to our own personal social circles, while simultaneously collaborating towards national and global outcomes. We are dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to be uncomfortable as we pioneer in the direction of excellence- regardless of the often inconveniently awkward consequences.

  4. BCBAs+Autistics Towards a Reformed ABA. Their mission is to advocate for systemic changes in the field of applied behavior analysis as it relates to the neurodivergent community. This mission includes pushing for changes in areas such as: ABA culture, education and training of behavior analysts and behavior therapists, oversight and accountability for BCBAs and ABA organizations, updated ethics code, ensuring services are consent based, trauma informed and client led (the REAL client).

  5. ABA Task Force. The ABA Task Force was created to promote socially significant change in our communities and dismantle systemic racism that plagues our country.

  6. Behavior Analysts for Change. A private group: We are teaching our students socially significant behavior to prepare them to be a meaningful member of society. But what do we do when the problem is not their behavior - but a society that reinforces systemic racism and inequities?

  7. Charting Racism and Police Brutality.This group is dedicated to charting and presenting data related to racism, police brutality, inequality, and social justice of any kind. Standard Celeration Charts are very much welcomed; however, data may be presented in a variety of meaningful ways. Additionally, research/discussions regarding how we move forward/change as a society are also welcomed.

If you have a passion to change the world, we hope we can work with you at some point! Maybe you don't care to change the world, but you have a passion to do better for others and yourself, we still hope to work with you.

Please stay connected with us, follow the groups we mentioned in our list, and get to reading our resource guide!

It's time to change ourselves, the field, and the world!

As always, thank you for being beautiful humans with us.,



P.S. Did we miss any other social justice focused organizations? Let us know in the comments!

Also, we would love to feature individuals who infuse Behavior Analysis and social justice principles together in their work. If that is you or you have any suggestions, please email them to us!

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