Tools for White People struggling to begin, engage or stick with anti-racist work

April 20, 2018

Mural 3

Tools for White People struggling to begin, engage or stick with anti-racist work

Introduction

This month we are looking at an article that challenges us – particularly white people – to take a critical look at what keeps us from beginning, engaging in and sticking with anti-racist work.   The article is by Dr. Robin DiAngelo and entitled: “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism (https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/white-fragility-why-its-so-hard-to-talk-to-white-people-about-racism-twlm/)

Last week, we reflected on how normal it is for white folks to find the topic of racism unsettling and difficult – when you are considered “the norm”, it is difficult to understand a worldview that is different from your own – like a fish not understanding the concept of water.

This week, we look at the ways Dr. DiAngelo suggests white people might build resilience and strength to do the work of anti-racism over the long haul. She suggests these four practices:

  • Being willing to tolerate the discomfort associated with an honest appraisal and discussion of our internalized superiority and racial privilege.
  • Challenging our own racial reality by acknowledging ourselves as racial beings with a particular and limited perspective on race.
  • Attempting to understand the racial realities of people of color through authentic interaction rather than through the media or unequal relationships.
  • Taking action to address our own racism, the racism of other whites, and the racism embedded in our institutions—e.g., get educated and act.

Prayer for Centering
May God bless you with a restless discomfort
about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger
at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you with the gift of tears
to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness
to believe that you really can make a difference in this world,

so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen. 

Invitation to Silence
Humility

Closing Prayer
The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,
Father, forgive.
The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,
Father, forgive.
The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,
Father, forgive.
Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,
Father, forgive.
Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,
Father, forgive.
The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,
Father, forgive.
The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,
Father, forgive.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.
Amen.

Weekly Reflection Questions

(from Robin DiAngelo’s article – https://tinyurl.com/talkingtowhitepeople)
1.  Take note this week of when you feel discomfort and notice your response. Do you freeze? Do you run away (flight response)? Do you run toward (fight response)? Just notice your reactions and take note.  If you find a pattern – what might you do to “interrupt” that pattern? Could a different response lead to growth in any way for you?

2.  If you are white, how often do you think of yourself as white?  When describing a person, do you only mention race if the person is a different race than you?  How does it feel to be called “a white person” or if you hear the term “white people”, what feelings surface for you? Take time to reflect on the experience of being seen as a racialized person and/or grouped with other people by race in light of Dr. DiAngelo’s article.

3.    Take stock of your authentic relationships with people of a different race.  When was the last time you dined with people of a different race in your home, i.e. as equals?  What have you learned from your relationships with people of different races and how might you foster more of these authentic relationships even more?

4. How might you further your education on systemic racism? Are there articles, movies, or books that you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t yet done? Can you make this a priority?  And how will you share what you’ve learned with others and/or how will you act on what you have learned?

UPCOMING EVENTS
ACTION ALERT from Justice for Immigrants:
https://justiceforimmigrants.org/take-action/action-alerts/

SPRING MAKERS MARKET – Sunday, April 29 10 AM – 2:00 PM
Join Cathedral Squared Enterprise artisans in welcoming people of color and women- owned businesses selling homemade wares at our Spring Maker’s Market! Perfect place to shop for Mother’s Day, graduations, First Communions or other spring-time celebrations! To participate as a vendor, contact Sarah at guestservices@stjohncathedral.org for an application!

Film Screening: MILWAUKEE 53206, Monday, April 30th – 6 PM  – Come learn about the way incarceration affects Milwaukee’s poorest zip code, 53206, by watching this powerful documentary by Keith McQuirter with a conversation following about how our faith community can work toward transformational change in our City as it relates to incarceration.  Come to learn specifically about Transitional Jobs from individuals who have gone through the program!  RSVP to ShellyRoder@stjohncathedral.org or by calling 414-238-2710.

ExFabula Storytelling Event at All Saints Parish – Sunday, May 6, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM. ExFabula and All Saints are joining together to present an afternoon of storytelling.  The theme of the event is Building Bridges in a Divided World, stories and conversations about equity and race.  The event will be held at All Saints Catholic Church, 4051 N. 25th St., Milwaukee, WI on Sunday, May 6, 2018 from 12:30 – 2:30. It is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited. RSVP to reserve your seat.  You can register at the ExFabula website: www.exfabula.org/fellows

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