Becoming Antiracist Part II: A Learning Series for White "Liberal" Teachers

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A NEW month of learning for white teachers who are "liberal" but know that's not enough. Includes webinars, reflections, & more.

About this Event


After selling out this series for July, we reassembled the team to run a new series in August. Same guests (see list below). If you participated in the July series, know that each guest will cover different territory in this new series, so feel free to join us again!

This is a professional learning series and community for white educators who see ourselves as “liberal” or “progressive,” but who know that’s not enough. We want to do better when it comes to racial justice.

The series includes four 75-minute webinars and discussions with educator-activists of color about the impact of white liberalism on racial justice efforts, which will meet Tuesday evenings, 7-8:15pm Eastern Time, in August 2020. (Sessions will be recorded for people who register but aren’t able to view them live, so if you can't make it live, don't worry!)

Guests include:

  • August 4: Eddie Moore, Jr.
  • August 11: Liz Kleinrock
  • August 18: Cheryl Matias
  • August 25: Cornelius Minor

See fuller description below for more details of what is included in your registration.


The series is hosted by Paul Gorski in conjunction with the Equity Literacy Institute.

Guests include Eddie Moore, Jr., Cheryl Matias, Cornelius Minor , and Liz Kleinrock.


The schools, school districts, and communities where racial justice progress often feels the hardest are those with the biggest percentages of white liberal people. This is a truism often discussed among people who do racial justice work in schools.

In fact, in a recent study I conducted with Noura Erakat, we interviewed racial justice activists of color who had experienced activist burnout. Their most common cause of burnout wasn’t explicit white racists or general blowback from their racial justice work, but rather coping with the attitudes and behaviors of white racial justice activists: white people who assert themselves into social movements and causes without having done the pre-work needed to do so responsibly and with deep racial justice commitments.

People who study racism and education sometimes use the term “white liberalism” to describe a combination of attitudes and actions adopted by white educators in the name or racial equity that fall far short of being a threat to racism. The distinction here is not between “conservative” and “liberal,” but rather between “liberal” and “antiracist.”

This professional learning opportunity, which we're offering in conjunction with the Equity Literacy Institute and in collaboration with educator-scholar-activists of color who have something to say about white liberalism and how it helps to sustain racism in education, is designed specifically for white liberal educators: those of us who think of ourselves a liberal or progressive, who want to be engaged in transformative racial justice efforts, but who want to be sure we’re not doing so in a way that harms colleagues of color or that, in the end, is really more about antiracist optics than antiracist actions and transformations.

This opportunity is for people with a serious commitment to doing better. This is not a Diversity 101 workshop. We will not be debating whether white supremacy exists or whether white liberal approaches to racial equity are inadequate. It does and they are. And we can do better. That’s our starting point.

More Detailed “What”

Here’s what the opportunity includes:

Four 75-minute interactive webinars (part interview, part reflection exercise, part Q&A) with educator-scholar-activists of color about their experiences navigating white liberalism. They will share their views on how white people should prepare ourselves without relying on their emotional labor. These will happen Tuesday evenings in August 2020, 7-8:15pm Eastern Time, via Zoom. Confirmed participants include Eddie Moore, Jr. (founder of the White Privilege Conference and coeditor of The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys), Cheryl Matias (author of Feeling White: Whiteness, Emotionality, and Education), Cornelius Minor (author of We Got This!), and Liz Kleinrock (anti-bias, anti-racist educator and elementary teacher). (Sessions will be recorded for people who register but aren’t able to view them live.)

• Weekly reading suggestions including books and articles.

• Weekly reflection-to-action prompts for individual journaling and reflection throughout August 2020.

• An online space where participants can share resources and dialogue before, after, and between the weekly webinars.

We will use Zoom for the webinar sessions. Links will be distributed via Eventbrite 2-3 hours before each session begins.

These webinars are only Phase 1 of this project, which we hope to continue with monthly webinars, reflection-to-action prompts, and more opportunities to engage starting in the fall. Participants will have an early opportunity to register for future iterations, as well.

Here are the principles, values, and commitments guiding this project:

• We will elevate the voices of activists of color and financially compensate (with the fees you pay to join) activists of color who choose to share their knowledge and experiences with us. We will read and share only works written or co-written by activists and scholars of color.

• Beyond instances in which activists of color choose to be engaged with us, we will use our own labor, emotional and otherwise, to support one another’s growth so that we can enter activist communities in more mindful, antiracist ways.

• Celebrating diversity is important, but not enough. Learning about cultures is important, but not enough. Our focus is on becoming better, stronger, more deeply committed racial justice activists and co-conspirators.

• We reject the notion that racial equity work involves adjusting the mindsets, values, actions, or emotions of students of color or activists of color.

• We understand that the goal is informed action, not just learning for the sake of learning. The purpose of this professional learning opportunity is not to provide a list of practical action steps: we all need to do that in local community contexts. The purpose, instead, is to prepare ourselves for informed action by reflecting on the attitudes, ideologies, and behaviors that inform our antiracist efforts. Participants commit to finding informed ways to act in their own schools, communities, and beyond.

• We understand that this is not about our individual feelings. We don’t expect or demand that our comfort will be prioritized over the need for honest, deep analysis and engagement.

If this sounds like a process you would like to be part of, please join us. And please share with others who might be interested!

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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