From Talk About White Privilege to Action: Next Steps on the Anti-Racism Journey

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Often times we have discussions about race and racism but fail to move from talking to action. This worksheet is designed to help you take the work you have already done with anti-racism – no matter where you are on the journey thus far – and work to put words into action. This action plan is best put together in small groups but can be done individually (see options). The main point is to move from talking about race and racism to living into an anti-racism or racial justice advocate stance. We all have the choice – every day – to decide on which side of racism we will stand. Silence is not an option; neither is standing by and hoping things will get better or “not touch us.” Racism impacts everyone in harmful ways. None of us is immune. We must decide. You, today, right now, are deciding. On which side do you stand?

OPTIONS:

  1. Individuals can create an action plan with this worksheet. However, the best scenario is to gather a group of like-minded individuals to do the worksheet individually, then to meet as a group to “compare notes.” While anti-racism work is done on an individual level (we always have the choice to interrupt racist statements/jokes, buy certain products and not others, etc.), it is coalitions of people who will have the best chance of discovering a multi-layered strategy to dismantle racism, and attend to the structural aspects of racism that support and perpetuate any individual acts we might see or hear about.
  2. Groups who have already done some discussions about white privilege could come together for an hour working lunch and create an action plan from the worksheet. Answer the questions and create a table that emerges from the ideas that are generated around tables or with the whole group.
  3. Similar to #2, your group could come together and sit at tables based on journey placement caucuses. For example, those who identify as just entering into conversations about white privilege and anti-racism work would sit at tables together, those who have done some work but are wondering “what’s next” would sit together, and those who have or are ready to enter into a more robust advocacy role would sit together. Each group would go through the worksheet in their similar journey caucuses and create an action plan (approx. 30-40 minutes). Then, gather the whole group together for the last 15 minutes to hear from a reporter from each table. All the ideas are spoken into the room and the last 5-10 minutes could be spent discerning a timetable or perhaps coming up with ideas generated only after hearing everyone’s ideas.

STEPS:

[1] complete worksheet; [2] create timetable; [3] determine how you will measure faithfulness and/or success; [4] get authorization for action from leaders and/or people who control the budget; [5] put ideas into action; [6] assess outcomes for faithfulness and learning points; [7] learn from #6 and try it all again.

DIRECTIONS:

Use the following questions both personally and communally to reflect on what your group’s next steps in the journey of anti-racism work will look like; fill in your action plan under the headings (learn, share, risk); consider your audience (this group interested in anti-racism work, the congregation as a whole, the community, some combination); think about your focus (in this case – white privilege); consider what is possible without ignoring that we love a God for whom nothing is impossible; ensure your action plan has accountability partners whether from within or outside your group (for any justice issue – the ones most able to tell us whether our strategies and work are doing any good are those who suffer under the injustice itself).

REFLECTION QUESTIONS OR EXERCISES (These are meant to be done without external help like Google, etc. They are meant to assess and to help you self- or group-organize your next steps in learning, sharing, or risking as it relates to anti-racism work.):

  1. Often, people of color are required to know things about white culture in order to succeed in work, church, school, and life while people racialized as white are not required the same about cultures of color. Write down three things you have had to learn about another racial culture to succeed or be faithful in school, work, or church. Reflect and discuss your findings.
  2. Name the three people who have influenced you the most in your life. (If you also want to include people you don’t know personally, create one list of three people who you know personally and a second list of people you don’t know personally but influenced you the most.) Write down their racial identity next to their name. Reflect and discuss your findings.
  3. Have you ever been in a conversation where someone has told a racist joke or repeated a racial stereotype unchallenged? Did you say something? If so, what did you say? Was it helpful? How so? If you did not say something, why not?
  4. If you were sitting at a table with one of three founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, could you share two things that you know about the movement that would support what she would say about it? If so, what are those two things? How do you know she would support them? If not, reflect and discuss.
  5. Make a list of the most accurate sources for information about how to support the water protectors at Standing Rock. How do you know they are the most accurate sources – what do you use as criteria? Another way to think about this exercise is to list 5-10 ways allies can support the Standing Rock water protectors and the sources you used to know this information has been vetted by those who would be best to tell us if our work as allies is helpful.
  6. Take a look at your budget. (If doing this as an individual – use your personal budget. If doing this as a church – use your church’s budget.) What items directly support the work of anti-racism? How do you know? List how each item supports the work of anti-racism. Add up all expenses utilized for anti-racism work and determine the percentage of the total budget. Reflect and discuss.
  7. Analyze who makes the decisions in your church. Name the 10-20 most powerful decision makers in your church. Over what do they have power? List their racial identity next to their names. Are any of these people those who are the most active in anti-racism work right now? Reflect and discuss.

USING YOUR REFLECTIONS FROM ANY OF THE QUESTIONS/EXERCISES, OR ADDING IDEAS GENERATED THROUGH OTHER AVENUES, LIST YOUR IDEAS FOR “WHAT’S NEXT” IN YOUR ANTI-RACISM WORK JOURNEY. (YOU DO NOT NEED TO USE ALL THE QUESTIONS NOR ALL THE SPACES IN THE TABLE BELOW)

LEARN: Use this column for information your group, the church, or the church community does not yet know; learning is also a next step because we need the information about race, racism, and anti-racism to do faithful and effective work. You can use this column for information you can research on your own or from trainings.

SHARE: Use this column for ways that individuals or your church can share what you’ve learned: facilitate an exercise you’ve experienced in an anti-racism training; offer a workshop for church/community; create (and offer training for) a campaign on “how to discuss race and racism with family over the holidays.”

RISK: Use this column to specifically name risk including but not limited to the following three ways: risk in order to accomplish a “learn” or “share;” risky thing willing to do (i.e., your church will transfer its banking accounts into a Black-owned bank); or what risk is necessary as a next step after a “learn” and “share” item.

EXAMPLES:

Response to Reflection Exercise or Additional Item LEARN SHARE RISK
No mentors of another race How voluntary segregation supports white privilege Addressing how voluntary segregation affects the UMC and its ordination process.
I don’t know what to say when someone says something racist Offer training on “what to do when someone says something racist” Using what you’ve learned in “share” to address your boss or church leader who tells a racist joke.
I thought segregation was over, what is “voluntary segregation?” Watch Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s video on gcorr.org to learn a little bit about voluntary segregation Watch video together with a small group and use the discussion questions on gcorr.org to discuss Take one specific, actionable, and measurable step toward disrupting voluntary segregation in your life or in the life of your church.

 

Response to Reflection Exercise or Additional Item LEARN SHARE RISK
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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