Notes from Confronting Racism in Conversation
July 22nd and August 12th
Talkin’ about Talkin’ – Why is it hard? What does a successful conversation look like? Talkin’ Tactics – Active listening.
What makes it hard?
–Afraid of offending people
–I get stressed out
–Being the kill joy
–Being the “angry, black, brown etc. person”
–People getting defensive
–Different set of references for different people
–Being to “politically correct”
–Not having the energy to engage in the conversation
–Get written off because of queerness
-Getting really emotional
–Read bell hooks
–Build relationship if applicable
–Have internal process, collect thoughts and come back to conversation if possible
–Meridian tapping – to bring your emotions down
–Get in touch with your body so you can know what emotions you are feeling to try to have more control over your response.
–Educate yourself so you can present history and facts
–Out yourself as a racist –“wow I used to think like that and someone told me or I realized I was…”
–Strength in numbers.
White People (WP) Break out group – Answering the question of What do you as white people struggle with pertaining to racism? What are some solutions?
–White Guilt – Keeps me down –Is paralyzing
–Judging other white people. Hating other white people.
–How to Navigate Privilege –So you may have access to resources do you take them?
–You care about gentrification and don’t want to participate but where do you live?
–WP get caught up in proving to each other how not racist they are – all talk and no walk – – who I am as opposed to what I do
–What are my or others intentions – do they or I act so they don’t seem racist to be a “good person” or are we motivated because we really care.
–It’s hard talking to WP who think that they got it and are not racist while there actions are very paternalistic or savior complexy
–Not having access to my Herstory. I am told I am descendants of all these different ethnicities but it doesn’t translate into my every day life.
–Cultural Appropriation vs. cultural appreciation – usurping native spirituality. White suburbanites appropriating hiphop.
–People use different vocabularies and definitions
–Why do I not want to make the situation uncomfortable? Am I afraid to give up privilege?
Strategies for solutions
–Commit to a life long struggle of fighting racism
–You will make mistakes – see mistakes as opportunities –
–Engage in study groups
–Stop thinking of white as the norm
–“Own” your history
–Study your family history if you have access to it
–Align yourself with lawyers
–Support organizations that are addressing racial injustice – financially or physically
People of Color (POC) Break Out Group – Answering the question of What do you as people of color struggle with pertaining to racism? What are some solutions?
–WP’s dropping the ball. Not calling shit out. Perpetuating shit. Acting like their shit don’t stink.
–Being othered like “I’m angry and upset”
–Being told I need to verify my story. WP needing more details to verify my story.
–Being expected to represent all POC/race
–WP explaining my culture to me/authenticating me
–Tokenizing/Universalizing/Treating POC like currency “my black friend/gay friend/etc”
–Trying to connect but still not getting it.
–Complimenting me by deprecating themselves/making it about them/making it a competition. (Your hair looks so beautiful. My hair is shit)
–Putting POC’s in position of savior and mammy
–WP trying to save POC
–Forcing POC to explain themselves to WP if you don’t fit their narrative
–When WP treats racism as exceptional “ These must be crazy white people. OMG that is so fucked up! I have never seen anything like this”
–Pretending to be anti-racist to look cool. WP not walking the walk. Forgiving racism because of kin.
— Acting like POC have to be there.
Strategies for Solutions
–WP demonstrating that they’re trustworthy w/o wanting a gold medal
–WP proactively responding to racism. Not relying POC to speak up for you AND speak up in a timely manner
–Keep in mind that it’s risky and necessary to speak up
–POC being open to conversations among ourselves for ourselves
–POC not having to authenticate realness or downess
–POC working on internalized racism. How internalized racism separates us from POC
–Everyone working on building healthy relationships
–WP don’t expect to be accepted in POC space. Don’t feel entitled to POC energy, space, words, and time. Showing up is a start but not enough.
–Supporting each other’s mental and emotional health. Feeding and nurturing ourselves.
–Filling our vessels. This work needs our vessels to be filled. We can’t do it with half full vessels.
Report Back after SOLID HOUR OF ROLE PLAY!! Tactics and thoughts –
–Still gotta long way to go
–Personalized response effective “I used to do that”
–Using facts – statistics – historical examples
–Recognizing persons humanity
–Connecting to their personal experience “oh you are having trouble getting a job…”
–ASK THEM CLARIFYING QUESTIONS
— Different words mean different things to different people
Evaluation from August 12th
–Scenarios that we role played (we’re puttin them on the web)
–Group size from big to small and big to small
–Playing different roles in the role plays
–Pace was good
–Caucusing or break out groups (WP and POC)
–Assumptions at the beginning
–1 solid hour of role-play!!
–Good amount of time
What could be better and other suggestions:
–More time in caucuses or break out groups
–Could have done more role playing
–More solution oriented
–Put more stuff on blog – scenarios – why white people work on this.
–3 hours was good length
–Let’s do it every month!
–Want strategy session on what to do more!!
–Work on witty comebacks
–Role-plays with strangers..
–Share different strategies and apply them to different relationships and timing. Ten minutes with stranger or 2 months with your mom?
–Learn from comedians! HUMOR!
–How to be Black by Baratunde Thurston a book and the link also connects to Totally Biased a TV show.