Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Workshop 11: The Experience of Whiteness from Others Point of View

March 26, 2011

This workshop introduced perspectives on "Whiteness" from people who belong to marginalized racial/ethnic identity groups.

We obviously have to talk about racism, White privilege and the topics we covered within the “greater congregation;” having it out in the open will give us the opportunity to become more compassionate in our dealings with each other.

The big question that came from our group today was, again, where do we go from here in communicating with the congregation what we have learned this year. Today we grappled with the idea that Whites still do not see the privilege they have.

Today was interesting but I wish there was more time for discussion about how to proceed in the congregation. Acknowledging with all humility that, we who are white, have within us some degree of racism—it is impossible to grow up in this society without absorbing some racist ideology. But, we fight against it, knowing how it hurts us as well as people of color, so I say to the congregation, JOIN THIS STRUGGLE.

Developing one’s own identity can be a challenge for anyone. Society impresses its concepts on individuals and groups.  It is the right of each person to create or develop his/her own self identity.  All of us need to learn to respect this right in others even as we desire and expect respect for ourselves.

This session was especially worthwhile and the study materials were excellent. The group discussion was also helpful.

The four articles have a common thread of personal and group struggle with identity and race. It was surprising to me how much I have had experiences in my life with people dealing with similar issues.  It was helpful that one group member reminded me that “one does what you can in your own sphere of influence—and hopefully see results.

This was a good session—I think folks are beginning to open up more.

In this session we allowed more time for discussion which may have led to a greater depth and resulting in more questions than answers. Comparing the concept of the melting pot with the concept of stone soup—that is relishing differences rather than fearing them and wanting to make those differences go away.

We had thoughtful discussions on the readings that challenged our usual assumptions. We are learning how important self-identity is in terms of race and culture, it is a key learning.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Workshop 9--Whiteness

Workshop 9 Feedback—March 12 


Why do most White people not see themselves as having a race?  In part, race obliviousness is the natural consequence of being in the driver’s seat.  For most Whites, race—or more precisely, their own race—is simply part of the unseen, unproblematic background.

Here is the feedback from our workshop focused on Whiteness:

The concept of whiteness and its qualities and consequences is still more complicated and harder to grasp than might have been expected at this late stage.  It’s not so easy.

Excellent workshop—pace and different exercises generated deeper discussions, I felt.  I think we are grasping whiteness and its impact on everyone’s life in America.

Today stressed out.  I feel we do a lot of speaking for others when we should speak for ourselves—I speak for me.  We can focus on one aspect to come up with a desired discussion and comments of another aspect when we could be focused upon getting to a different aspect.  I wondered about having guests, the use of the sound system and the use of mikes.  I felt lacking. 

I think that we dug deeper into whiteness but people are still resistant to facing it.  The PowerPoint and film clip were effective except for the difficulty with the sound. 

I get some sort of insight from every one of these sessions, and this was no exception.