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East Central College

1964 Prairie Dell Road

Union, MO 63084

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In collaboration with the YWCA, East Central College is excited to be hosting a Witnessing Whiteness group in Spring 2018. Since 2011, the YWCA has been sponsoring Witnessing Whiteness groups as part of its mission to eliminate racism.

Witnessing Whiteness groups are for those who identify and experience the world as white. These groups meet every other week for ten sessions, read the book Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It (2nd edition), learn to speak about race and racism, explore white privilege, and discuss ways of being better allies with people of color in a supportive and non-threatening environment.

Witnessing Whiteness groups strive to:

  • Create spaces where individuals who identify and experience the world as white gain information, scholarship, and insight into creating a more just and equitable world;
  • Invite participants into a community of other white people committed to positive change in their lives, workplaces, and region;
  • Encourage advocacy, collaboration, and strategies for change and increased knowledge;
  • “Build knowledge, skills, capacities, and communities that support anti-racism practices” (Tochluk);
  • Understand and practice interrupting racism; develop and practice skills to act as agents of change.

Structure and Logistics:

Three YWCA trained facilitators will guide the group through ten two-hour sessions over 20 weeks (meeting approximately every other week—one for each chapter of the book plus one to reflect on the whole and look forward. It is understood that some participants will likely miss one or more sessions, but it is important to commitment to the group process and attend at least 8 of the 10 sessions.

The group at ECC will begin meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16. The only cost is the cost of text, Witnessing Whiteness The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do it, 2nd Edition by Shelly Tochluk. The book will be available at Neighborhood Reads for a reduced price.

Dates:

Tuesdays from 6 - 8 p.m. at East Central College (classroom TBA)

Jan. 16, Jan. 30, Feb. 13, Feb. 27, March 13, March 27, April 10, April 24, May 1, May 8

WHY A WHITE SPACE?

(Why do we meet as a group of white people?)

For many, it sounds contradictory: “Isn’t it racist if just white people to get together? Isn’t that segregation?” The following are our reasons for organizing as a white anti-racist community:

1. People of color shouldn’t always have to be the ones to educate white people about racism and oppression. We are taking responsibility for learning about racism, our own white privilege, and how to challenge it as white people.

2. In order to challenge racism and dismantle white supremacy, white people need to unlearn racism and discover the ways we enact white privilege. This is a long, difficult, and sometimes painful process. It’s helpful to have a space where other white people engaged in this process can support and challenge us, without having to always subject people of color to further undue trauma or pain as we stumble and make mistakes. Having a community of white anti-racist people gives us hope, helps us grow our practice, and gives us strength to stay in it for the long haul.

3. A commitment to anti-racist identity and practice as a white person can sometimes mean increased alienation and conflict in our lives, especially with other white friends and family who disagree with us. This is a space where we can get support from people who are experiencing similar struggles as anti-racist white people.

4. It’s a space for white people to figure out what it means to be an anti-racist white person and challenge racism in all areas of our lives. We cannot expect people of color to have all of the answers for us on how to transform ourselves and other white people. As white people we are well equipped to understand what it means to be a white, as well as a white anti-racist.

5. It’s a place where white people can begin to build a new culture of white anti-racism, and learn the skills needed to transform the larger white community.

6. This group is a supplement to, not a replacement for, multi-racial dialogues and activism between white people and people of color. It’s important that white people give space in their lives to learning from and bearing witness to people of color’s experiences of racism.

7. A white space serves as a resource to people of color who want to work with white people but don’t want to have to spend all their energy dealing with the racism of white people.

www/awarela.org This document was created and revised by AWARE-LA through a cyclical process that included small group dialogue, brainstorm, and discussion. It has been used by many to help explain why we do our consciousness raising work with the white community.

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East Central College

1964 Prairie Dell Road

Union, MO 63084

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