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Massachusetts College Offers Workshop For Faculty And Staff Called 'Processing Whiteness'

At one Massachusetts college, workshops are being instituted for faculty and staff to instruct them how to “process their whiteness.”

As Dave Huber writes at The College Fix, Williams College’s workshops, which are actually titled “Processing Whiteness,” offer “opportunities to analyze and understand white identity, white privilege and racism in a supportive environment that focuses on the experiences of the participants.”
The event description reads:
The Processing Whiteness group at Williams College provides opportunities to analyze and understand white identity, white privilege and racism in a supportive environment that focuses on the experiences of the participants. The group will help participants learn to speak about the historical and contemporary implications of white identity, examine race and racism, identify implicit bias and feelings of shame and explore and practice allyship and interrupting racism.
The work of the group relies on multiple resources, including Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk about Race and How to Do It by Shelly Tochluk, academic articles, videos, music, and art. Participants will reflect upon their own experiences in light of the reading materials individually, as well as through experiential activities in pairs, triads, and with the entire group.
In the introduction to Tochluk’s book, she writes of her experiences as a white woman runner in NCAA Division 1 sprinting, saying that she did not have the close relationship with her black peers that she should have. She notes, “Looking at it now, I know that part of the problem was my incomplete understanding of myself as a racial being, affected by my own whiteness in ways I did not perceive.” She later writes, “During these years, I came face to face with a variety of discomforts and pains being related to being a white person in the United States, a disease I now believe to be reflective of a collective white experience.”

In her preface, Tochluk asserts, “From my experience, I imagine these educators to be people who seek to do good work in the world, who want to be of service to social justice efforts, and who care enough to pick up a book on whiteness in the first place. Within this group, there is much diversity of experience and perspective. Yet one thing is generally common: white folks do not interrogate themselves on what it means to be white on a regular basis. This often results in a lack of both (1) the desire to see themselves as part of a racial dynamic, and (2) the skills to navigate the racial terrain successfully. Since admonishing and shaming white people has not had widespread success so far, this book is an attempt at a different approach."
Huber notes, “The Processing Whiteness page also provides a link to the website for AWARE, or the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere. AWARE notes that“people of color shouldn’t always have to be the ones to educate white people about racism and oppression,” and that “in order to challenge racism and dismantle white supremacy, white people need to unlearn racism and discover the ways we enact white privilege.”

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