Working Through Whiteness
Day 1Session Code: SEM-L
When: April 16, 2019
Location/Room: 101 DE
Track: Social Responsibility
Presenters: Caroline Belden, The Winters Group, Inc. | Travis Jones, The Winters Group, Inc. | Chevara Orrin, The Winters Group | Hope McMath, Yellow House
Part 1: Fostering Self-understanding as a Requisite to Action
Presenters: Caroline Belden and Travis Jones
White fragility, a term coined by Robin DiAngelo, is the idea that because white people are “socialized into a deeply internalized sense of superiority that we are either unaware of or can never admit to ourselves, we become highly fragile in conversations about race.” (White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo, 2018)
When we address race in the workplace, as D&I practitioners and organizational leaders, we often focus on addressing the barriers people of color face, and rightly so. However, we will fail to truly move the needle forward if we fail to address the barrier of white fragility and engage in Bold, Inclusive Conversations® where we “work through whiteness.” In order to effectively activate white solidarity and accountability for racial justice, we must first create space to explore white cultural identity.
This session will provide leaders with an opportunity to get curious about the ways people “wear whiteness” and how this impacts the way we navigate the world around us and the work we do. Facilitators will provide tools and terminology for leaders to decenter feelings of white anxiety in service of centering the needs of the most marginalized in conversations around racial equity.
- Build a greater understanding of white cultural identity
- Address negative effects of white fragility on efforts to activate white solidarity and work toward racial justice
- Center people of color over white feelings of anxiety when creating paths toward racial equity within organizations
Part 2: Activating White Solidarity and Accountability for Racial Justice
Presenters: Chevara Orrin and Hope McMath
In part 2 of Working Through Whiteness, we move through a developmental journey of awareness to action, accountability and shared power.
NOW is the time for white people to challenge themselves to be more RACE-COURAGEOUS, engaging in intentional, effective, accountable solidarity with communities of color to dismantle structural and institutional racism. Guided by the principle of centering the lived experiences of people of color, join us in gaining an understanding that being “woke” is not a destination, but self-actualization that exists on a continuum.
Learn about the parallel history of “woke” white folks doing the work in the 1960s and those on today’s front lines. From the lunch counter to the locker room, this session will provide an overview and resources to move us closer to racial equity. Currently, both politically and culturally, the dynamics of partisanship and racism are not only emboldened but more visibly displayed through modern technology.
Participants in this session will be challenged to undertake and participate in vital self-actualization exercises that will allow them to address institutional racism from a vantage point of evolved empathy and consciousness. This workshop will share tools and allow participants to practice concrete ways to bring more white people into racial justice work.
- Identify and disrupt racism when they encounter it “in the moment” in social, professional or cultural arenas
- Take action as advocates against hidden organizational and individual bias in the workplace
- Engage, educate and empower other white people to fight racism