Developing White Racial Literacy – Revised Edition
Chapter 16: A Note on White Silence
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A NOTE ON WHITE SILENCE
To me being white means no more to me than if I was any other race. This is what I was taught all through school. I have been taught not to be judgmental. Although I did grow up in an almost completely white-population town, I have never felt any sense of racism apparent in myself or my peers. However, the older generation where I grew up did seem to be a little judgmental and particular to their own race. Growing up I just chose to ignore things said/taught to do with race from these people. (ASR)
My colleague and I are facilitating a workshop. She has just made a presentation on the impact of racism on people of color. She leads the participants of color in a follow-up discussion. Now she turns and asks the white participants for their thoughts. She explains how important it is in terms of trust building for the people of color to hear what the white participants gained from the discussion. She’d also like the chance to clarify any misunderstanding. No white participants respond. She tries again, explaining that she and the participants of color have made themselves vulnerable by exposing the pain of racism, and that it is important for them to know how they have been heard. One white participant speaks up and shares her thoughts. My co-facilitator thanks her and asks to hear from a few more...
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