Discussing Race and Privilege: A Series of Conversations

Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the subsequent public demonstrations against racism and inequality in the US, we initiated our series of conversations on race and privilege. This forum is intended to provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss the history of race and privilege, increase understanding of current conditions, and explore how each of us can contribute to increasing equity and justice.

The plan is to continue these discussions over the next year, approximately every 6-8 weeks. The content will follow the stages of white identity development described by Janet E. Helms in her work on developing an anti-racist identity. We will also include discussion of our own Smith experiences and the current conditions at the college at the appropriate time. Your input and suggestions for materials and topics are encouraged! We want to offer a variety of articles, podcasts, videos  – that can easily be consumed between meetings.

Upcoming meeting:

Tuesday, October 21 (7pm via Zoom) We continue with the fourth in our yearlong series of conversations intended to help explore how racism and racial identities function in our lives. This forum is intended to provide an opportunity to learn about and discuss the history of race and privilege, increase understanding of current conditions, and explore how each of us can contribute to increasing equity and justice.

Past meetings:

Wednesday, September 2 This session provided an opportunity to learn about and discuss the history of race and privilege, increase understanding of current conditions, and explore how each of us can contribute to increasing equity and justice.

June 23, 2020  We considered the history of Black people in the US, from slavery to the present day.  We’ll begin talking about white privilege and how systemic racism is present in our lives.

June 11, 2020  Our first session was intended to provide information and context for the long-standing economic inequality of Black people in the Twin Cities.  We viewed and discussed “Jim Crow of the North,” a documentary on the history of racial covenants and redlining in the Twin Cities.  If you missed this, you may watch the program for free on YouTube or TPT.

RESOURCES

Meeting Materials
Circle of Trust Touchstones
October 21 – List of Materials for Discussion
September 2 – List of Materials for Discussion
July 23 – List of Materials for Discussion

Articles
“African American Inequality in the US” – Harvard Business School
“Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping” – The White House
The Harper’s Letter is a Weak Defense – Harper’s Weekly
Helms White Racial Identity Model
How “White Fragility” (by Robin DeAngelo) Talks Down to Black People – discussion of why the idea of white fragility is problematic
“I am a racist. So is Katherine Kersten. She can’t admit it.” by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer – Counterpoint to Kersten op-ed
In Defense of Looting – a discussion of looting in Ferguson MO during protests
A Letter on Justice and Open Debate – Harper’s Weekly
The New Religion? – op-ed piece by conservative Katherine Kersten
On the Desperate Longing Not to Be Part of the Problem – the initial response to reports of looting in Minneapolis
Smaller, And Smaller, And Smaller – Marlon James talks about self-image as a Black man
“Racial authoritarianism in U.S. democracy” – Vesla M. Weaver and Gwen Prowse
Style and usage: ‘White’ should be capitalized – changing how we reference race as a description
“Take small steps, but take them now” – Steven Belton, President and CEO of The Urban League
“Ten Keys to Everyday Anti-Racism” – Kirsten Ivey-Olson, Lynn Turner
“Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” – Peggy McIntosh
“Which party represents our racial future?” – Ross Douthat

Podcasts
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility) and Resmaa Menakem (My Grandmother’s Hands): In Conversation from On Being with Krista Tippett
The Supreme Court Justice With The Most To Say – Corey Robin, writer and political scientist at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, on all that we’ve missed (or ignored) about Justice Clarence Thomas. Episode from “Break Your Silence” from On the Media.

Videos
Robin DiAngelo: Deconstructing White Privilege (20 Min)
Professor Ibram X. Kendi: | How To Be Anti-Racist (40 Min)
Cornel West: Interview with Anderson Cooper (10 Min)