White Emotionality: Challenges and Opportunities for Change in Higher Education
Critical whiteness studies (CWS), an offshoot of critical race theory, takes as its focus the hegemonic status of whiteness. More than just a synonym for white people, whiteness is a system that shapes institutions, establishes and maintains norms, and powers inequities by upholding systems of white dominance. This webinar will examine the impact of CWS in education, focusing especially on the linkage between emotions and whiteness, what Cheryl Matias calls ‘white emotionality’.
icon search Searchable Transcript
Toggle between list and paragraph view.
[00:01:18.170]Welcome to the webinars series.
[00:01:20.820]Let's just wait
[00:01:21.700]for a few more minutes as people are joining in.
[00:02:44.940]Welcome everyone to the second webinar
[00:02:47.360]in the Belong, Grow, Practice, Lead webinar series.
[00:02:50.850]I am Jessie Peter, a graduate assistant
[00:02:53.710]in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
[00:02:56.380]This series is led by
[00:02:57.940]the Inclusive Leadership and Learning team in ODI.
[00:03:01.790]We aim to provide the opportunity for all
[00:03:04.720]to deepen their understanding
[00:03:06.250]and enhance their skills around matters of inclusivity
[00:03:09.510]in local and global communities.
[00:03:16.200]We welcome you to facilitate a webinar through this series,
[00:03:19.490]which aligns with inclusive leadership
[00:03:21.860]and learning focus areas as seen.
[00:03:24.480]These webinars may be prerecorded or conducted live.
[00:03:28.320]To learn more about this education series and sign up,
[00:03:35.170]Belong, Grow, Practice, Lead webinar series page.
[00:03:37.970]And I'll put this link in the chat, too.
[00:03:42.520]Today we will use the following webinar etiquette.
[00:03:45.400]All participants will be muted for the presentation.
[00:03:48.720]If you have any questions
[00:03:50.120]related to the information presented
[00:03:52.330]and or have technical difficulties,
[00:03:54.670]please submit using the Q&A feature.
[00:03:57.930]Closed captioning is also available.
[00:04:02.750]Today's session will be recorded and made available
[00:04:05.270]on the ODI website for future access.
[00:04:09.670]It is with joy that I welcome our speaker for today,
[00:04:13.770]CJ is the training and professional development specialist
[00:04:17.130]for university advising at UNL
[00:04:20.040]where they coordinate training and professional development
[00:04:22.920]for undergraduate academic advisors across campus.
[00:04:27.000]CJ is currently a PhD candidate
[00:04:28.990]in cultural foundations of education
[00:04:31.610]at Kent State University.
[00:04:33.820]And their dissertation focuses on
[00:04:35.920]confronting white emotionality in higher education
[00:04:39.860]and student affairs across professional development.
[00:04:44.700]Thank you, CJ for joining us.
[00:04:46.520]Over to you.
[00:04:48.400]Yes, well I'm so happy to be here.
[00:04:51.170]I'm gonna share my screen so that we can get started.
[00:05:00.920]My presentation today is called White Emotionality:
[00:05:03.640]Challenges and Opportunities for Change in Higher Education.
[00:05:07.870]And as we get started I do wanna take a moment
[00:05:10.560]just to acknowledge the loss of life of Daunte Wright,
[00:05:17.010]another unarmed black man
[00:05:20.670]whose life was taken by police during a traffic stop
[00:05:24.900]in Minneapolis last night.
[00:05:26.670]So I encourage folks to take some time today
[00:05:31.200]to read more about the situation of what's happened,
[00:05:36.800]but also to take some time to reflect on
[00:05:40.150]our own entrenchment in systems of policing
[00:05:44.210]that reproduce racist violence.
[00:05:46.980]So, as we get started today,
[00:05:49.651]I do wanna include some information
[00:05:53.720]about the University of Nebraska's
[00:05:56.730]non-discrimination notice, which you see printed here.
[00:06:01.810]And I also wanna take a moment
[00:06:04.130]to engage in a recognition of place.
[00:06:09.920]This recognition of place acknowledges Nebraska's legacy
[00:06:14.900]as a public land grant institution
[00:06:17.960]which is built upon the lands
[00:06:19.920]of a number of indigenous peoples.
[00:06:23.900]So you see them listed here.
[00:06:26.160]And so, I wanna point out that place
[00:06:30.350]or land acknowledgements are really just a first step
[00:06:34.470]in sort of revitalizing relations
[00:06:38.990]between settler individuals and indigenous peoples.
[00:06:44.920]And so this is another space where I encourage folks
[00:06:48.420]to take some time after this webinar to reflect
[00:06:54.190]on the connection between our institution and these lands.
[00:07:01.670]So I encourage you to join me in engaging in that activity.
[00:07:07.410]A little bit more about my background.
[00:07:11.570]As Jessie said, I am an academic advising professional.
[00:07:16.230]Prior to coming to UNL I was advising administrator
[00:07:22.470]at Kent State University where I am pursuing my PhD,
[00:07:27.950]and became a candidate a couple of summers ago.
[00:07:31.830]But my research writing and presentations really focused on
[00:07:37.990]academic advising, social justice,
[00:07:41.470]this thing called critical whiteness studies
[00:07:43.420]that we'll be talking more about today.
[00:07:45.680]As well as some work on trans people in higher education.
[00:07:49.970]But it's important for me to acknowledge
[00:07:52.840]the ways the my social identities
[00:07:56.100]help to shape my perspectives.
[00:07:57.970]You see a list of some of my identities here.
[00:08:02.570]That really shaped the way
[00:08:05.020]that I both moved through the world,
[00:08:06.810]but also make meaning from my experiences
[00:08:10.500]and interactions with others.
[00:08:13.230]But it's also important to acknowledge
[00:08:15.330]that I've had some important experiences
[00:08:19.090]that have brought me to my interest in this topic
[00:08:22.460]about whiteness and emotions.
[00:08:25.260]In particular, I've had a couple
[00:08:28.170]of really powerful experiences during my graduate program
[00:08:33.080]when I was at Bowling Green State University.
[00:08:35.600]And then since then of really being confronted
[00:08:39.720]by the realities of race in the United States,
[00:08:44.090]and my own ignorance about that.
[00:08:48.340]As a younger person I identified
[00:08:52.810]as kind of a good social justice advocate.
[00:08:57.410]I did a lot of advocacy around LGBTQ issues,
[00:09:01.170]and sort of felt like I understand the problem of racism
[00:09:08.540]because I'm minoritized in other kinds of ways.
[00:09:13.040]And so it really took some powerful incidents
[00:09:16.200]that really affected me for me to understand
[00:09:18.990]that just having this kind of general 'I'm a good person'
[00:09:25.150]kind of mindset towards race was really ineffective
[00:09:29.290]for the goals and the values that I was really espousing
[00:09:32.750]around the work that I do with students,
[00:09:35.130]but also the kind of social activism that I engaged in
[00:09:39.760]outside of my work.
[00:09:41.320]So I had some experiences that really shaped my worldview
[00:09:46.310]and change the way that I think about race,
[00:09:49.560]and think about my work with students
[00:09:51.640]and my colleagues.
[00:09:52.620]And that's really what has brought me here.
[00:09:56.320]So to start with, I wanna talk a little bit about whiteness.
[00:10:01.410]And specifically this idea of moving from
[00:10:05.100]white people to whiteness as a system.
[00:10:10.320]So to get us started
[00:10:12.210]and give me a little bit of a sense of the folks
[00:10:15.550]who are here with us today.
[00:10:18.000]We have a brief poll to give us a little bit of background.
[00:10:23.920]So the question here is, how much background on race racism
[00:10:27.990]and/or whiteness do you have?
[00:10:31.400]So if you'll take a moment to respond.
[00:10:49.780]All right, so answers are coming in.
[00:10:51.910]It looks like we've got a good mix of people.
[00:10:54.570]Some folks from, 'none', who this is pretty new for them.
[00:10:59.990]It seems like the majority of folks
[00:11:02.780]are in the 'more than a little' category.
[00:11:06.170]That's got our largest group, a little over half.
[00:11:10.000]And then a mix of folks
[00:11:11.480]who are more in the 'a little' or 'a lot' category.
[00:11:14.960]So my hope is that as we continue through here today
[00:11:21.460]that we're able to learn a little bit together
[00:11:25.230]and hopefully have some good questions at the end
[00:11:28.400]to engage in some discussion.
[00:11:30.100]So, as we're thinking about whiteness,
[00:11:34.300]it's important to think about this as a system
[00:11:39.010]rather than just sort of a label, or a racial category.
[00:11:43.740]So, whiteness operates as a social contract
[00:11:48.800]that is actually a relatively young.
[00:11:51.610]Only you about 400 years or so have we been using whiteness
[00:11:58.150]as an organizing system for human relations in the world.
[00:12:04.500]And so there's a lot that goes into that,
[00:12:07.320]that's a very sort of broad topic.
[00:12:10.530]But as we sort of narrow down a little bit more,
[00:12:14.110]we see the ways that whiteness particularly
[00:12:17.160]in the United States, is kind of this unmarked category
[00:12:21.830]and system, in that it often gets associated
[00:12:25.910]with sort of nondescriptness as sort of
[00:12:31.020]the norm that every person with Frankenberg's interviews
[00:12:37.140]with white women often had whiteness compared
[00:12:40.610]to things like Kleenex or Wonder Bread.
[00:12:43.640]So there's this notion that whiteness is sort of invisible,
[00:12:50.270]but it's also a function of power.
[00:12:53.020]So whiteness has this capacity to shape norms, values,
[00:12:57.890]the kinds of thinking and knowing that we say are important.
[00:13:01.620]So in particular, we see the ways
[00:13:04.530]that whiteness really prizes notions of objectivity
[00:13:09.360]that then work to make whiteness invisible,
[00:13:12.300]because it says that knowledge is not affected
[00:13:16.190]by things like race or identity.
[00:13:18.390]And so it's sort of a self-reinforcing system
[00:13:21.480]that creates and reinforces particular norms.
[00:13:27.180]And it's ultimately rooted in and intends to maintain
[00:13:31.780]systems of domination, both in the larger society,
[00:13:34.970]but also within education.
[00:13:37.290]That there is this function that whiteness structures things
[00:13:41.610]specifically for material advantage for a particular group
[00:13:46.010]and disadvantage for other groups.
[00:13:48.930]That's sort of independent of an individual person like me
[00:13:52.840]who is thinking, I'm a nice person.
[00:13:55.830]I don't treat people with disrespect.
[00:13:58.520]I don't intend to engage in racist acts.
[00:14:02.480]But still the system sort of progresses
[00:14:06.260]because of that structure regardless
[00:14:09.310]of the individual intent of a single person.
[00:14:13.610]So, the critical examination of whiteness is not new.
[00:14:19.690]Really starting with anti-slavery and anti-colonial writing.
[00:14:24.290]So basically as long as there has been this sort of system
[00:14:28.370]of whiteness that intends to structure society
[00:14:31.990]around advantage and disadvantage based on race.
[00:14:35.750]There have been people who, particularly people of color,
[00:14:40.070]who are in opposition to it.
[00:14:44.380]In particular, kind of an important point within that legacy
[00:14:50.440]is the work of Du Bois on this notion
[00:14:54.880]of double consciousness which really acknowledged the ways
[00:14:58.240]that people of color in the United States
[00:15:00.900]are forced to develop an understanding,
[00:15:03.920]not only of how they see the world,
[00:15:05.820]but also how white folks see the world.
[00:15:09.220]Because they are simultaneously experiencing
[00:15:13.670]the world of themselves, but also being reinterpreted
[00:15:19.500]through this white world view that's scrutinizing them.
[00:15:23.500]So, Du Bois's work is also very important,
[00:15:26.730]because he wrote about this notion
[00:15:29.890]of the wages of whiteness,
[00:15:32.030]which is sort of this psychological prize
[00:15:35.990]that white folks gain by being white
[00:15:40.080]that he talks about as kind of the constellation prize
[00:15:45.270]for poor white folks.
[00:15:46.790]And a reason why there might be a reticence
[00:15:51.060]among poor white people for labor organizing people of color
[00:15:55.980]is because they're sort of this prize of,
[00:16:00.020]you can still position yourself as one up
[00:16:02.690]if this notion of whiteness has some sort of value,
[00:16:05.720]which he refers to as the wages of whiteness.
[00:16:09.096]And that that really sort of shapes the problem
[00:16:13.600]of cross-racial solidarity.
[00:16:16.160]What Du bois calls the color line.
[00:16:19.120]So, that leads us to kind of the core of my work
[00:16:23.380]around critical whiteness studies,
[00:16:25.180]which is an offshoot of critical race theory.
[00:16:27.750]And really when you hear those terms,
[00:16:29.910]I know there's been a lot of public debate
[00:16:33.520]about the role of critical race theory.
[00:16:35.930]But when you hear the word critical
[00:16:39.090]I really encourage folks to associate that with power.
[00:16:42.690]So when we're talking about critical whiteness studies,
[00:16:45.590]we're talking about a study of the system of whiteness
[00:16:49.030]and how it operates as a system of power.
[00:16:52.750]So that critical race theory and critical whiteness studies
[00:16:56.740]has been growing within education.
[00:16:59.760]Critical whiteness studies in particular
[00:17:01.930]really kind of emerged in education in the 90's
[00:17:05.580]in the field that I'm in, Foundations of Education,
[00:17:10.160]but has slowly been proliferating through teacher education,
[00:17:14.130]higher education and student affairs,
[00:17:16.610]as another lens for trying to understand
[00:17:21.400]multiracial interracial campuses as our formal legal systems
[00:17:28.079]of segregation come down.
[00:17:31.790]But we continue to remain in sort of
[00:17:34.750]segregated neighborhoods, segregated schools,
[00:17:38.000]segregated experiences for students,
[00:17:41.420]to really be thinking about
[00:17:42.650]how is power operating as it relates to race.
[00:17:47.090]So, when we think about emotions
[00:17:50.890]and how those play into this question
[00:17:54.200]of sort of race and power,
[00:17:57.510]white emotionality is a concept that sort of puts together
[00:18:03.780]whiteness and emotions.
[00:18:05.530]So if we look at some of the more
[00:18:08.670]kind of theoretical work around emotions
[00:18:11.000]that has really informed my work,
[00:18:13.460]we see cultural politics of emotion,
[00:18:16.120]which comes from Sara Ahmed's work.
[00:18:18.950]And that really focuses on this idea
[00:18:21.920]of rather than just an internal sort of
[00:18:27.670]she talks about the ways that emotions
[00:18:30.510]have the capacity to do things.
[00:18:34.040]To create material effects on politics, social systems,
[00:18:40.930]A great example that she gives is kind of talking about
[00:18:44.640]the ways that when emotions come into a room
[00:18:50.240]they change the way that people are experiencing that space.
[00:18:54.340]So if someone becomes very angry,
[00:18:58.590]that isn't something that just stays within them
[00:19:01.470]as this internal feeling state,
[00:19:03.490]it has the capacity to influence the people around them
[00:19:06.880]of you become uncomfortable seeing someone getting angry.
[00:19:11.120]Or you empathize with them
[00:19:13.340]and maybe you become angry as well.
[00:19:15.130]So there's this interchange between people that happens
[00:19:20.210]And all of that is kind of influenced
[00:19:22.720]by culture and power, so that cultural politics piece.
[00:19:28.690]But there's also the fact that emotions shape and are shaped
[00:19:34.250]So this is Megan Boler's work on feeling power.
[00:19:37.610]and the ways that education teaches individuals
[00:19:42.650]what emotions are appropriate or inappropriate.
[00:19:45.890]It teaches them how to control or regulate their emotions
[00:19:50.120]according to social messaging about what is acceptable,
[00:19:54.900]how you are supposed to behave.
[00:19:57.070]So all of those things are shaped
[00:19:58.960]by schooling in classrooms.
[00:20:01.810]And so that influences then curricula
[00:20:05.900]and institutions that are teaching those students,
[00:20:08.250]but it also has the potential to shape
[00:20:11.040]those classroom spaces with what Ahmed's talking about.
[00:20:16.770]Again, the debates about trigger warnings
[00:20:21.410]were really big in the news for a while,
[00:20:23.350]but there is this question of
[00:20:25.940]how much does that intense emotional reaction
[00:20:30.530]influence the educational space
[00:20:32.570]and potentially prevent not just that student,
[00:20:36.280]but potentially others from learning
[00:20:38.780]if that reaction has a really powerful emotional impact.
[00:20:45.492]So basically the notion there is that education
[00:20:50.300]and emotions really go together.
[00:20:52.780]That for what we thought for a while of like learning,
[00:20:58.050]or education is kind of this
[00:21:00.870]value neutral, fully rational endeavor,
[00:21:07.030]is not really the case.
[00:21:08.370]Actually emotions really shape that experience
[00:21:12.160]and have the potential to both help
[00:21:15.550]or potentially hinder learning.
[00:21:19.210]So white emotionality is a term that Cheryl Matias coins
[00:21:23.450]in her research about the white teacher candidates
[00:21:28.270]that she was teaching in an urban education program.
[00:21:33.190]And in particular she saw the ways that these
[00:21:36.550]white teacher candidates enact particular kinds of emotions
[00:21:40.940]towards her, a woman of color,
[00:21:43.250]when confronted about the reality of race and schooling.
[00:21:49.020]So, her role was really trying to challenge
[00:21:53.920]these particularly white pre-service teachers
[00:21:58.930]who were interested in going into urban schools,
[00:22:03.120]and in many cases espoused values like,
[00:22:06.180]I really wanna help save these kids from failing schools,
[00:22:10.120]or their life circumstances growing up in the ghetto.
[00:22:15.500]And so she's doing this work to try and challenge
[00:22:18.440]some of those stereotypical positionings
[00:22:21.600]of what's happening with those students.
[00:22:23.680]And in return received these
[00:22:26.730]very racially inflected emotions that were about
[00:22:32.290]shifting blame and retaining the sense of white innocence.
[00:22:38.300]That their good intentions were the most important thing.
[00:22:43.970]And that they shouldn't be really pushed too hard
[00:22:48.570]because their good intentions were what was most important.
[00:22:53.660]So she writes about the importance of looking,
[00:22:58.690]how patterns, sources, and rules of feelings
[00:23:03.410]are a normative expression about whiteness.
[00:23:09.880]So she talks about among white people,
[00:23:13.450]but really as a function of whiteness,
[00:23:15.800]it's talking about this idea that
[00:23:18.530]the emotions that are acceptable
[00:23:21.340]are sort of regimented and boxed in.
[00:23:24.200]There is a need to kind of look at that more closely
[00:23:27.680]and understand what are the challenges that this creates,
[00:23:31.150]and so she talks about,
[00:23:33.130]particularly the ways that these white students
[00:23:35.710]want to avoid feeling bad about racial transgressions
[00:23:40.970]they may have had, or stereotypes that they held.
[00:23:44.240]But Matias writes the supposedly uselessness of these,
[00:23:47.670]often unwanted emotionalities like anger, fear, or shame
[00:23:52.840]inadvertently render the wanted emotionalities of love,
[00:23:57.240]hope, and human connection worthless too,
[00:24:00.400]that is the tragedy.
[00:24:02.070]So it's this idea that by regimenting our emotions
[00:24:05.840]in a way to say that only these reactions are acceptable,
[00:24:10.470]these kinds of feelings are good, and those are bad,
[00:24:14.660]and we should maximize the good and limit the bad
[00:24:17.910]sort of cuts off part of what it means to be human.
[00:24:22.200]So, there are lots of different ways
[00:24:24.770]that emotions become racialized.
[00:24:27.160]Just recently I read a great article
[00:24:29.280]from Eduardo Bonilla-Silva,
[00:24:31.900]who is the author of "Racism Without Racists".
[00:24:38.450]And his work has looked at this notion of colorblind racism,
[00:24:43.360]but recently he put out an article
[00:24:46.050]about the idea of racialized emotions.
[00:24:49.670]And so these are just a few examples, so white emotionality,
[00:24:53.907]and the ways that emotions become connected
[00:24:57.590]to systems of race, but also preserving a particular notion
[00:25:03.710]of what it means to be a good white person.
[00:25:06.840]The white guilt or white shame
[00:25:10.560]is something that has been talked about quite frequently.
[00:25:13.730]And so there's this notion of a feeling of personal debt
[00:25:17.840]or responsibility that's often overwhelming.
[00:25:20.960]And in fact can really become a barrier to taking action,
[00:25:24.230]that if this guilt is kind of the primary way
[00:25:28.320]that a white person is engaging in thinking about race,
[00:25:32.240]it has a lot of limitations.
[00:25:35.770]Robin DiAngelo really is another name
[00:25:39.350]that's been kind of more popular as there's been more focus
[00:25:44.080]on race and racism lately.
[00:25:45.950]And her notion of white fragility
[00:25:47.760]talks about a lack of stamina
[00:25:50.382]to endure any kind of racial discomfort among white people.
[00:25:54.730]So there's sort of a very low threshold with white folks
[00:25:58.340]that become uncomfortable talking about race,
[00:26:01.160]and her work talks about the ways that that low threshold,
[00:26:05.870]that means that there's a general unwillingness to engage,
[00:26:09.690]because the emotional discomfort becomes too overwhelming.
[00:26:14.500]And then George Yancy, who is a philosopher of race,
[00:26:19.490]wrote a really great book called "Backlash"
[00:26:22.940]that is very powerful and really intense, I will say,
[00:26:29.150]talking about the vitriolic messages that he received
[00:26:33.790]from white people, often who sort of prefaced their comments
[00:26:39.430]by saying that they were not racist.
[00:26:42.790]But in response to an op-ed that he wrote
[00:26:45.610]in the New York Times sent him
[00:26:48.070]all kinds of hateful messages,
[00:26:51.330]saying that his continued focus on race
[00:26:53.880]was actually meant that he was a racist,
[00:26:56.600]really, like death threats, violence,
[00:27:00.630]all of these sorts of things that were clearly
[00:27:03.520]very emotionally charged,
[00:27:06.560]but really have this effect of showcasing
[00:27:11.270]how that overwhelming emotion
[00:27:14.840]is shaping the ways that people are reacting,
[00:27:17.370]that someone who might say, I am not a racist,
[00:27:22.330]and then start using racial epithets,
[00:27:25.130]or horribly racist stereotypes,
[00:27:28.760]that that emotional component
[00:27:31.400]has this really important impact on the ways
[00:27:34.420]that white people see themselves,
[00:27:36.650]and understand the issue of race entirely.
[00:27:40.740]So these are obviously some of the more negative linkages
[00:27:45.270]between whiteness and emotions,
[00:27:47.140]and I think it's also important to note that emotions
[00:27:52.450]are not just racialized by whiteness.
[00:27:55.600]There's a really great article that just got published in
[00:27:59.200]The Review of Higher Education,
[00:28:00.630]about black joy in higher education, black joy on campus.
[00:28:06.210]And that is a great example of the ways that emotions
[00:28:11.040]get tied up with race,
[00:28:12.900]in ways that are not just negatives.
[00:28:15.950]And so it's important to acknowledge
[00:28:17.610]that even when talking about white emotionality,
[00:28:20.790]emotions really can be useful.
[00:28:25.320]John Covaleskie's work talks about shame,
[00:28:28.610]and actually the utility of shame.
[00:28:31.170]Now, certainly shame and guilt, as we talked about,
[00:28:34.990]have this potential to be paralyzing,
[00:28:37.440]that it can be overwhelming to feel like
[00:28:40.360]you alone are responsible for fixing 400 years
[00:28:45.120]of unjust racial relations,
[00:28:47.660]but shame also indicates that you are part
[00:28:51.750]of a moral community that has shared values,
[00:28:56.040]and that your feelings of shame indicate
[00:28:59.380]that you understand that a wrong has been done,
[00:29:02.520]and that there is the potential for repair.
[00:29:05.320]That if you didn't feel guilt or shame,
[00:29:09.723]that that would be an indication
[00:29:11.991]that there is no capacity to make a change.
[00:29:15.870]So you don't feel guilty about it
[00:29:17.540]because nothing could be different.
[00:29:19.570]But by knowing that we have this capacity to create change,
[00:29:24.660]that's where some of this emotion comes from,
[00:29:26.680]and so it can be a tool to say,
[00:29:29.810]this means that I need to do something,
[00:29:32.790]say something, take action.
[00:29:36.300]Emotions also highlight
[00:29:38.070]this sort of shared sense of humanity,
[00:29:40.330]Matias's work really highlights this,
[00:29:42.280]that the good and the bad kind of go together,
[00:29:45.300]and we have to learn to build up that tolerance
[00:29:49.770]to be able to say,
[00:29:50.730]I'm gonna engage in the uncomfortable discussion.
[00:29:53.700]I'm gonna be open to being challenged,
[00:29:56.450]because that's part of what it means to be fully human.
[00:30:00.870]And then George Yancy's work highlights this notion
[00:30:04.180]of what he calls racial ambush,
[00:30:07.320]and racial ambush is kind of a powerful realization
[00:30:13.850]that, sort of, race is happening,
[00:30:17.490]particularly for white folks,
[00:30:19.410]racial ambush might look like getting called out,
[00:30:23.240]that you committed a microaggression,
[00:30:25.830]or even did or said something that someone's like,
[00:30:29.210]that was really racist.
[00:30:30.730]And you have this moment of sort of shock and realization
[00:30:34.660]that in this moment where you may not have realized
[00:30:39.600]that what you were doing had that implication,
[00:30:42.810]or effect on someone else.
[00:30:44.950]But the moment of being called out, being corrected,
[00:30:52.010]seeing something on the news that surprises you,
[00:30:54.980]that's a reminder that racism is still part of our society,
[00:31:00.610]that moment kind of pulls back a veil
[00:31:04.440]that is part of the system of whiteness
[00:31:06.852]that is about ignorance that says that there's this system
[00:31:12.680]that is designed to make itself invisible,
[00:31:15.850]and in that moment the invisibleness has disappeared,
[00:31:20.950]and the system of racism is on display.
[00:31:25.760]And so those moments of racial ambush
[00:31:27.930]are really powerful learning opportunities
[00:31:31.130]if we're willing to sort of lean into that discomfort,
[00:31:35.450]or the challenge of engaging in that moment,
[00:31:40.170]versus what often happens,
[00:31:42.410]is an immediate desire to retreat,
[00:31:46.060]to sort of apologize and then disappear,
[00:31:50.120]or to run away.
[00:31:52.400]All of those reactions are natural,
[00:31:55.020]but they stifle the opportunity for learning
[00:31:58.930]that is really embedded in those experiences.
[00:32:02.930]And so it's also important to consider how,
[00:32:07.550]as with Matias's work, that emotions that we say are good
[00:32:14.510]can sometimes become a challenge to doing the work of
[00:32:19.750]addressing racial inequity.
[00:32:22.450]So, on the handout there's a little bit
[00:32:25.140]of a discussion there about this idea of white saviorism,
[00:32:29.800]this sense that the good feelings
[00:32:32.252]that come out of being identified as a good white person,
[00:32:38.340]being identified as an ally,
[00:32:41.050]those things can sometimes become the reason
[00:32:44.580]for what folks do rather than sort of a side effect.
[00:32:49.660]It might be nice to be recognized,
[00:32:51.440]but when those become sort of the purpose,
[00:32:55.200]chasing those good feelings can become more important
[00:32:57.960]than engaging in those uncomfortable discussions,
[00:33:02.480]being willing to sort of take a risk to be able to challenge
[00:33:07.440]practices, or policies, or people, in some cases,
[00:33:12.610]who are creating a less than welcoming environment
[00:33:17.663]And so if those good feelings
[00:33:20.120]are what becomes most important,
[00:33:22.440]it can really create barriers
[00:33:24.040]to engaging in some other activities
[00:33:26.210]that don't always feel so good.
[00:33:29.310]But the power of that racial ambush learning moment
[00:33:32.990]is really that it can set off a chain reaction.
[00:33:36.050]I would say that was true for me,
[00:33:38.370]that my experience was really one of racial ambush.
[00:33:42.410]It's one that I'm diving deeper into,
[00:33:45.410]through my dissertation work,
[00:33:46.900]of how do these moments of racial ambush
[00:33:50.630]create a chain reaction that ripples through
[00:33:55.140]to reshape someone's worldview,
[00:33:58.678]to reorient their understanding of their place in the world,
[00:34:03.447]and the work that they can be doing.
[00:34:06.610]So, we've got a little poll question here.
[00:34:10.760]Sort of based on this discussion so far
[00:34:13.530]of these emotionally charged moments,
[00:34:18.410]potentially where the system of race
[00:34:21.310]really becomes highlighted.
[00:34:23.226]I'm interested to see if folks think
[00:34:25.900]that they've experienced something like that before
[00:34:43.700]The answers are rolling in.
[00:34:46.270]It looks like more than half of folks
[00:34:49.270]have had an experience like that.
[00:34:51.330]But if you haven't, some aren't totally sure.
[00:34:54.810]But one of the takeaways from this, I would say,
[00:34:59.340]is that those moments that can be disarming,
[00:35:04.839]very disorienting, very uncomfortable at times,
[00:35:09.080]really have a lot of potential for creating space to learn.
[00:35:15.970]And so my encouragement would be,
[00:35:19.079]those opportunities sort of can't be artificially created
[00:35:23.890]most of the time.
[00:35:25.770]But to sort of move through the world in a way of openness
[00:35:31.190]to having those experiences can be a really powerful shift
[00:35:36.240]in your thinking.
[00:35:37.730]And we'll talk a little bit more about that
[00:35:39.760]as we move into some more of the opportunities
[00:35:43.390]for thinking about, how does this show up on campus?
[00:35:47.430]And what can we do about it?
[00:35:50.210]So, I'm gonna talk about classrooms,
[00:35:54.820]and then a little bit about self-study.
[00:35:58.010]So, in classrooms, I do think it's important
[00:36:00.780]to just acknowledge.
[00:36:02.650]My encouragement here is not for educators to be therapists
[00:36:09.630]but acknowledging the emotions show up in the classroom.
[00:36:12.860]So whether that is for folks who teach topics
[00:36:16.870]where race is kind of a central theme,
[00:36:20.690]or even just part of a discussion at some point in a course.
[00:36:25.410]But also for other folks who teach courses,
[00:36:29.220]or are in departments where social issues
[00:36:33.050]may not necessarily be on the agenda.
[00:36:36.380]Students are still gonna experience things in the world
[00:36:40.270]that are gonna affect them as they come into the classroom.
[00:36:43.470]So as we hear national news about police violence,
[00:36:48.930]as we hear other incidents that have happened,
[00:36:52.980]those kinds of things are gonna affect students,
[00:36:56.060]and that affective dimension
[00:36:58.740]comes into the classroom with them.
[00:37:01.830]And so taking some time to think about
[00:37:04.312]how that could be affecting students
[00:37:06.870]how the world outside of the classroom comes with them,
[00:37:11.010]can be a really powerful step.
[00:37:13.810]For those who do teach about race and racism
[00:37:16.660]expecting that that emotional dimension
[00:37:19.680]is going to be there, I think is really important.
[00:37:25.140]But also understanding that every student
[00:37:27.870]needs the opportunity to process emotions
[00:37:30.620]around those issues.
[00:37:32.550]Even though that may be different for particular students
[00:37:36.940]with different identities.
[00:37:38.590]So you may have defensiveness, frustration, anger
[00:37:44.270]from some students.
[00:37:45.570]You may have anxiety, depression, overwhelm
[00:37:50.350]from other students talking about those issues.
[00:37:53.400]People have different experiences,
[00:37:55.420]but issues of race and racism affect everyone,
[00:38:00.998]including white students as well as students of color.
[00:38:05.270]And so, thinking about how students will be able
[00:38:08.730]to sort of process those emotions as part of their learning
[00:38:13.570]is really important.
[00:38:16.320]That doesn't mean that you need to turn your,
[00:38:18.950]again, doesn't mean you need to turn your classroom
[00:38:21.160]into a therapy session, but thinking about the ways
[00:38:24.500]that things like reflective writing,
[00:38:27.740]other kinds of small groups,
[00:38:30.590]or other activities give students the space to say,
[00:38:35.610]this has an emotional effect on me, that is normal.
[00:38:39.920]And my ability to sort of work through, emotionally,
[00:38:43.790]what's happening here is part of being able to engage
[00:38:47.930]in a discussion about this.
[00:38:49.810]To be able to think about the implications
[00:38:52.440]for my future work, or my life now in the world,
[00:38:56.750]my role as a citizen.
[00:38:58.840]So all of those pieces are really interconnected.
[00:39:02.238]And then for folks who do teach on a regular basis
[00:39:06.580]around issues of race and racism,
[00:39:09.200]there do exist some specific pedagogies,
[00:39:12.900]one example I list here is Barbara Applebaum's
[00:39:16.210]white complicity pedagogy that is intentionally designed
[00:39:21.140]to reorient some of those negative emotions
[00:39:24.280]so that the intent is that they will be less overwhelming.
[00:39:30.674]In her instance, she's a teacher and educator,
[00:39:34.830]so talking with white pre-service teachers
[00:39:38.220]about their understanding of race and racism,
[00:39:41.350]and how that will affect their future work as a teacher.
[00:39:46.360]She takes specific pedagogical steps with the intent of
[00:39:53.290]developing a notion of collective responsibility
[00:39:56.670]rather than just individual responsibility so that students
[00:40:00.390]are less likely to be overwhelmed by those emotions,
[00:40:03.440]and more likely to feel like they're part of the solution.
[00:40:07.140]So there are other kinds of pedagogies out there,
[00:40:10.650]but thinking about what are the ways that these pieces
[00:40:13.980]can be shaped by the way I approach these social issues,
[00:40:18.530]and how can I engage in such a way
[00:40:21.900]that this emotional dimension does not just become
[00:40:25.520]a roadblock to being able to discuss these issues.
[00:40:30.700]In the co-curricular space it's likely that many students
[00:40:35.500]may feel more willing to engage in discussions
[00:40:38.950]about race and racism outside the classroom
[00:40:41.920]for a couple of reasons.
[00:40:43.090]For some it's that that space is more voluntary
[00:40:47.520]and so there's less of a sense of tokenization
[00:40:51.000]when students are invited to share their thoughts
[00:40:53.400]about race, so instead of calling on
[00:40:57.210]one of a couple of students of color to give their opinion
[00:41:00.300]about race and racism,
[00:41:01.989]if they're choosing to engage voluntarily,
[00:41:04.742]that may feel different for those students.
[00:41:08.020]But also, there's a lack of that direct connection to say,
[00:41:13.220]a grade, that may prevent some students
[00:41:16.240]from voicing their opinion, or showing what they don't know,
[00:41:21.550]if this is an area that they're just starting
[00:41:24.520]to really understand.
[00:41:26.160]And so, creating meaningful co-curricular opportunities
[00:41:31.180]For folks who facilitate those opportunities,
[00:41:34.620]it's important to think about what happens
[00:41:38.350]if emotions flare, if tempers run hot,
[00:41:41.880]if students have a really strong reaction to something,
[00:41:46.220]what happens if someone starts crying.
[00:41:49.560]Those emotional reactions are important,
[00:41:53.920]but also are a challenge.
[00:41:56.490]And so sort of thinking ahead,
[00:41:58.220]that when engaging in these discussions,
[00:42:02.500]really having some experience and some plans for what to do
[00:42:07.490]if those emotions do come up,
[00:42:10.460]can really help to create a more effective
[00:42:13.960]sort of learning space during those opportunities.
[00:42:17.400]And then it's important to also consider both intergroup
[00:42:21.377]and monoracial learning opportunities.
[00:42:23.570]On the handout there's some more discussion
[00:42:25.230]about racial caucus groups.
[00:42:28.090]These are spaces that are intentionally created
[00:42:31.770]to be mono-racial with the intent
[00:42:34.970]that white students can work with other white students
[00:42:38.560]to talk about this idea of whiteness,
[00:42:41.640]and the role of white folks to engage
[00:42:46.020]in anti-racist ally actions,
[00:42:49.190]and for a space where people of color
[00:42:51.940]are able to work together
[00:42:53.510]without feeling like they always have to be educating
[00:42:57.000]white folks who are in the room,
[00:42:59.230]that's not to say that, again,
[00:43:01.410]intergroup spaces are also very important.
[00:43:04.700]Accountability is also very important,
[00:43:07.410]but racial caucus groups do have the potential
[00:43:12.050]to create another space that may be effective
[00:43:16.550]in helping folks to think critically about race,
[00:43:19.088]and about how they can influence a more welcoming
[00:43:23.760]and inclusive environment on campuses.
[00:43:27.190]And then study and self-study.
[00:43:29.710]There are lots of opportunities for folks to engage
[00:43:32.880]in learning on their own, reading books,
[00:43:35.560]engaging in book clubs,
[00:43:37.437]sort of taking workshops or other kinds of courses.
[00:43:41.950]But even work done on one's own still has the power
[00:43:45.310]to elicit really intense emotions.
[00:43:49.010]And so even when you're reading a book at home,
[00:43:53.074]that can still bring up feelings of shame,
[00:43:56.670]or, you are really charged
[00:43:59.400]and wanna take action immediately.
[00:44:01.470]All of those kinds of things can still happen
[00:44:04.770]even on your own.
[00:44:05.950]And so thinking about how you'll create space
[00:44:09.510]to be able to work through those emotions,
[00:44:11.760]think about what effect that has had on you,
[00:44:15.300]and what you can do with those things
[00:44:18.210]is really important.
[00:44:21.480]Paula Ioanide's work on the power of emotions
[00:44:28.730]to really shape what we understand as truth
[00:44:34.000]has really been central to my dissertation work,
[00:44:39.360]and in particular, she wrote this book called
[00:44:44.027]"The Emotional Politics of Racism."
[00:44:48.260]And she talks about the ways
[00:44:51.620]that for white folks who are not open to engaging
[00:44:57.750]in those uncomfortable conversations,
[00:45:00.590]oftentimes when faced with conflicting information,
[00:45:05.330]the emotional reaction totally overrides
[00:45:08.780]any sort of rational understanding of that information
[00:45:14.500]as challenging their worldview.
[00:45:16.850]And so, what that really says to me is that engaging
[00:45:20.110]with that emotional dimension is an important part
[00:45:23.690]of anti-racist education, but also social change.
[00:45:28.490]That if we're not also engaging on that emotional level,
[00:45:31.950]just presenting new information to folks
[00:45:34.760]isn't necessarily gonna people's opinions about equity,
[00:45:39.530]social justice, anti-racism.
[00:45:43.420]And so it's important to acknowledge
[00:45:45.400]that that self-study work
[00:45:47.500]on one's own is an important starting place,
[00:45:50.282]but things shouldn't end there.
[00:45:52.940]So I've got a couple of actions and takeaways
[00:45:55.870]before we go into our Q&A segment.
[00:46:01.410]But in thinking about moving to action,
[00:46:04.970]it's important to acknowledge that everyone
[00:46:08.120]can do something.
[00:46:10.232]Those somethings may be different between individuals,
[00:46:14.900]but thinking about how each individual person
[00:46:19.290]has a sphere of influence that they have the potential
[00:46:22.770]to create change within,
[00:46:24.240]to influence others is really a great starting place
[00:46:28.120]because it says that we're all implicated,
[00:46:30.940]and we all have the power to create change.
[00:46:35.480]That being said, just talking about these topics
[00:46:39.800]is not the same thing as actually creating change.
[00:46:44.090]When I talk about change,
[00:46:45.620]I'm talking about changing the material conditions
[00:46:49.140]that are present for students, faculty, staff,
[00:46:51.950]and community members of color.
[00:46:53.550]And so if I have this webinar,
[00:46:56.270]and folks are really energized by it, that's great.
[00:47:00.650]But the reality is unless that then leads to some action
[00:47:04.700]on my part, or the part of others
[00:47:06.880]that ultimately creates a different kind of climate,
[00:47:11.010]addresses issues of inequities or injustice,
[00:47:14.870]those aren't quite the same thing.
[00:47:16.700]And so acknowledging that move to action
[00:47:19.680]is really an essential piece of the puzzle.
[00:47:22.070]It can't just stay at that intellectual level
[00:47:24.430]of talking about an issue.
[00:47:26.860]And to that end
[00:47:28.070]there's a really important accountability piece in there
[00:47:32.510]that says, we have to be connected
[00:47:36.070]to each other as a community.
[00:47:38.630]And so if we're not accountable to others
[00:47:42.380]in the actions that we're doing,
[00:47:44.750]we're sort of missing a big part of being able to create
[00:47:49.830]that environment where everyone feels welcome,
[00:47:53.430]where everyone is valued.
[00:47:55.460]And so being responsible and accountable to others
[00:47:59.490]is really key to that sense of community connection.
[00:48:04.740]And then just acknowledging that mistakes are inevitable,
[00:48:08.836]that we cannot guarantee any individual's comfort
[00:48:14.810]at any given time, but we can do is teach folks
[00:48:19.410]how to engage meaningfully,
[00:48:21.850]and how to address when harm happens.
[00:48:24.530]When you say something that comes out the wrong way.
[00:48:28.080]When a microaggression occurs,
[00:48:30.560]how do you sort of recover from that
[00:48:32.830]and repair that relationship with others
[00:48:35.390]is a really key part of this work.
[00:48:38.922]So some takeaways, again,
[00:48:41.360]change happens through community building,
[00:48:43.550]and building coalitions with others.
[00:48:47.480]That social change can feel threatening,
[00:48:50.109]or uncomfortable, even if it's really justice and action,
[00:48:54.270]and that's okay.
[00:48:56.350]Examining emotions is an important part
[00:48:58.560]of anti-racism efforts.
[00:49:00.920]There are opportunities both inside and outside classrooms,
[00:49:04.650]obviously there's lots of social activism possibilities,
[00:49:08.080]but on campus there are lots of spaces where these issues
[00:49:12.280]can be discussed, but also can be a springboard
[00:49:15.040]into discussions about policies, practices, and culture.
[00:49:20.200]And so, with all of that in mind,
[00:49:22.620]it's important to acknowledge that there has been a real
[00:49:25.420]conflation between this notion of whiteness as a system
[00:49:28.410]that's about maintaining racial power,
[00:49:31.920]and the idea of a white racial identity,
[00:49:34.620]so individual white people and a racial classification.
[00:49:38.330]So because of that,
[00:49:40.330]the reality is that it feels very threatening,
[00:49:43.420]because talking about whiteness can feel like
[00:49:47.720]critiquing individual white people,
[00:49:50.020]when that may or may not necessarily be the intention.
[00:49:53.430]And so understanding that that emotional reaction
[00:49:56.150]is totally normal.
[00:49:57.950]And that it is something that has to be worked through
[00:50:00.420]to be able to engage meaningfully in discussions
[00:50:03.240]about race and racism.
[00:50:05.770]So the last thing that I'll leave you with
[00:50:08.430]is a question that came up for me in reading
[00:50:13.530]some of Bell Hooks' work on love.
[00:50:17.300]And she talks about the idea of love
[00:50:20.180]as a critical construct.
[00:50:21.710]So she's talking about power.
[00:50:23.960]She's talking about how do we love each other
[00:50:27.700]in a way that is humanistic and community oriented,
[00:50:32.750]that rejects hierarchies and systems of oppression
[00:50:36.720]that create divisions?
[00:50:38.990]How do we create connection and responsibility
[00:50:44.100]towards each other?
[00:50:45.930]So really a love that's rooted in a notion of mutual respect
[00:50:53.830]So my question to all of you is
[00:50:56.580]what would a campus community based on that look like?
[00:51:00.350]How would this notion of respect, accountability,
[00:51:05.460]connection towards each other,
[00:51:07.230]and the desire to seek justice shape our campus community?
[00:51:13.100]That not just that everyone is valued,
[00:51:16.330]or everyone is welcome,
[00:51:18.430]but really that everyone has that kind of mutual respect
[00:51:23.210]and can feel justice on our campus.
[00:51:27.560]So that's the thought I will leave you with.
[00:51:29.936]You've got my references on your handouts.
[00:51:33.820]And here's my email if you have questions.
[00:51:37.347]But we will move into our Q&A portion now,
[00:51:40.380]and I'm gonna stop sharing.
[00:51:45.030]So Jessie, would you like to help me facilitate with Q&A?
[00:51:50.420]Thank you, CJ, for sharing with us about white emotionality.
[00:51:56.010]So we have one question,
[00:51:58.320]where is the line between white fragility
[00:52:01.830]and taking the time to process your emotions?
[00:52:05.700]This is a great question,
[00:52:07.220]and I think really speaks to that notion of
[00:52:12.800]mistakes are inevitable.
[00:52:14.100]I don't know that there is always a definite line
[00:52:19.160]that can be easily identified
[00:52:21.500]and sort of objectively stated.
[00:52:23.960]The reality is that it's gonna be contextual.
[00:52:26.820]That individual people are gonna engage more or less
[00:52:31.940]in a given situation.
[00:52:34.140]And sometimes that'll be reflective of white fragility,
[00:52:37.410]and sometimes it will be reflective
[00:52:39.180]of sort of thoughtful introspection.
[00:52:42.870]As someone who identifies as more introverted.
[00:52:46.510]I definitely am the kind of person who likes to have
[00:52:50.760]that introspective time to really think about,
[00:52:54.470]what is the implication for me?
[00:52:56.130]How have I engaged in this, maybe unknowingly?
[00:53:00.700]But the reality is that sort of whiteness
[00:53:04.180]also prizes opportunities to make white people innocent.
[00:53:11.480]And so the reality is that it could also be both.
[00:53:17.960]That my personality is just such that
[00:53:21.000]I prize that introspection, but also it's a reflection
[00:53:24.950]of my desire to have time,
[00:53:28.040]so that I feel like I'm saying the right thing,
[00:53:30.330]and not speaking without sort of really having thought
[00:53:34.350]about my answer to sort of separate myself from a situation
[00:53:39.360]that maybe people wanna hold me accountable,
[00:53:42.720]and I'm not ready for that.
[00:53:44.050]And so I say, oh, I need some time to think about this
[00:53:47.710]before I respond.
[00:53:49.460]And so I think the reality is that there's just a need
[00:53:53.120]to engage in meaningful ways.
[00:53:56.430]And engaging in ways
[00:53:58.810]that we might not always be prepared for.
[00:54:01.890]Because if we're always waiting for the time
[00:54:04.200]when we're well-prepared, we're gonna be waiting forever.
[00:54:08.350]And so being willing to say, it makes me uncomfortable
[00:54:11.970]to give an answer right now, but maybe I'll try.
[00:54:15.720]And then I'll also take some time to reflect
[00:54:18.884]and see if it's different on the other end.
[00:54:25.040]The second question that we have is,
[00:54:27.270]do you have good examples of ways that instructors
[00:54:31.050]or educators can better acknowledge the emotional aspects
[00:54:35.940]of the education, or learning process?
[00:54:39.340]I'm thinking about classrooms,
[00:54:41.190]where it doesn't typically come up,
[00:54:43.080]but when it does, space needs to be held.
[00:54:46.530]Yeah, so I think that it can be very challenging
[00:54:52.690]when that's not sort of the cultural norm in your classroom.
[00:54:57.810]But I think that sort of honestly, and openly acknowledging
[00:55:01.530]like, hey, this thing just happens.
[00:55:04.970]I know that it's gonna be on a lot of people's minds,
[00:55:07.700]so maybe we're gonna take a little bit of time today
[00:55:10.930]at the start of class, or at the end of class
[00:55:13.890]to be able to just kind of decompress and talk about it.
[00:55:18.300]So that sense of creating space, I think, is exactly right.
[00:55:23.930]And honestly, it comes from a place of earnest engagement.
[00:55:29.410]If your desire to create that space is sort of perfunctory,
[00:55:34.850]and you feel like I'm doing it because I have to,
[00:55:38.950]that may come off as disingenuine to students.
[00:55:44.140]But if the starting place is...
[00:55:47.490]For our campus community,
[00:55:49.100]I know that this space is necessary,
[00:55:52.160]and I care that this is affecting many of my students.
[00:55:57.082]That should be sort of the central message
[00:56:02.060]to your students, so that they know you care about them.
[00:56:06.380]You're engaging in this discussion,
[00:56:08.300]even if it's uncomfortable, because it's on their minds,
[00:56:12.300]because it's affecting them.
[00:56:14.010]And showing that kind of genuine care,
[00:56:17.510]really has a lot of potential.
[00:56:24.653]And then the next question is,
[00:56:26.300]what do you do when you want to discuss these topics,
[00:56:29.950]but still feel you're learning
[00:56:32.270]and don't want to say the wrong thing
[00:56:34.510]or something that may be damaging or hurtful?
[00:56:39.992]So that is the story of my life.
[00:56:43.080]Even with years of courses, and books read,
[00:56:49.370]and presentations given,
[00:56:51.530]I still feel like there's so much that I have to learn.
[00:56:56.030]But again, really shifting your attitude to say that
[00:57:02.480]there is no amount of preparation that can be done
[00:57:06.190]to be able to do this perfectly.
[00:57:08.700]And so, to be thoughtful, to do work
[00:57:13.640]to try and learn on your own.
[00:57:16.170]But also understanding that engaging with other people
[00:57:19.850]is really the whole purpose of this.
[00:57:22.630]Because part of the problem of racism
[00:57:26.050]is that it distorts our ability to relate to other people,
[00:57:30.130]because we rely on stereotypes for our understanding
[00:57:33.680]of people who are different from us.
[00:57:35.570]We rely on differential power relationships
[00:57:39.140]that shape how we interact with others
[00:57:41.630]instead of this sort of mutuality
[00:57:45.930]of you are another human being, and I wanna know about you,
[00:57:49.640]and be connected to you, and have a relationship with you.
[00:57:52.600]And so starting from a place of saying,
[00:57:55.780]the relationship building is important,
[00:57:58.750]showing that I know what I'm doing
[00:58:00.970]is not the most important thing,
[00:58:03.150]and being honest and willing to say,
[00:58:05.730]I made a mistake and I'm sorry.
[00:58:07.560]How can I repair our relationship?
[00:58:10.780]Is a lot more beneficial to that whole sort of community
[00:58:16.650]and cultural change process
[00:58:18.560]than reading a bunch of books on your own
[00:58:21.260]and never engaging in discussions,
[00:58:23.400]or community conversations,
[00:58:26.140]or other kinds of things with other people.
[00:58:28.780]Because even with all of that intellectual knowledge,
[00:58:32.080]if that's not translating into how you're connecting
[00:58:35.190]with other people, it's not moving to that place of action.
[00:58:38.630]You're just staying in that intellectual realm,
[00:58:41.230]which is hard.
[00:58:42.063]I mean, I'm getting a PhD in this.
[00:58:44.650]And so certainly I live in that intellectual realm a lot.
[00:58:49.170]But knowing that it can't just stay there forever,
[00:58:53.589]I think it was a really important shift that I made.
[00:58:58.870]So our last question is, what is a good strategy
[00:59:02.190]to address microaggressions with strangers,
[00:59:05.390]or as a bystander?
[00:59:08.370]This is a great question.
[00:59:09.550]So, I think it's gonna depend a lot on the situation.
[00:59:15.130]Because I think sometimes
[00:59:18.830]some people will make a decision that trying to confront
[00:59:23.940]a stranger that you have no relationship with,
[00:59:26.650]and may never see again,
[00:59:29.600]just may not be a good use of your energies.
[00:59:32.710]And that's okay.
[00:59:34.800]But I do think that particularly, kind of as a bystander,
[00:59:42.070]being succinct, direct and clear is so valuable.
[00:59:50.070]There are so many, not only just anecdotes,
[00:59:53.040]but like research studies about folks who say that they are
[00:59:58.250]racial justice allies, but all of the ally work that they do
[01:00:03.710]is in private.
[01:00:05.040]Where they see something happen,
[01:00:07.160]and they don't address it when it happens
[01:00:09.810]and go to the person later and say,
[01:00:12.420]oh, that was so terrible what that person did
[01:00:14.440]in that meeting, I'm so sorry, are you okay?
[01:00:17.880]And showing care for a person is important.
[01:00:20.430]But showing up and just directly saying,
[01:00:25.730]that thing that you just said really had an impact on me,
[01:00:30.020]because I felt that it did XYZ,
[01:00:34.360]that it was based on a stereotype.
[01:00:36.560]I was surprised that you would say that.
[01:00:39.580]And come from that sort of, I statement place,
[01:00:43.410]not saying, oh, I'm speaking for this person
[01:00:46.350]that I'm really offended on their behalf.
[01:00:48.490]Because you two should be offended by microaggressions,
[01:00:52.350]and slights, and stereotypes.
[01:00:54.530]Those things are an affront to our connection with others.
[01:00:58.640]And so being willing to address them directly and briefly,
[01:01:02.540]just directly confronting it
[01:01:06.450]can be a really valuable change in culture.
[01:01:10.664]Thank you CJ, for answering those questions.
[01:01:13.750]Thank you everyone.
[01:01:15.120]Thanks everyone for joining us.
[01:01:16.600]And to stay tuned and get involved with ODI initiatives
Log in to post comments