White people can find it very difficult to talk about ‘race’ and racism. We often fail to see or acknowledge its effects and continue to reproduce it. Because of this, the burden of fighting racism has usually fallen on people of colour. This is deeply unfair and can often cause more trauma.
Through reading, multimedia and workshop techniques that draw on feelings and experiences, the course offers a space for white/white passing* people to change the ways we think and act. Our aim is to create a supportive yet challenging space to understand how racism functions both within and outside of ourselves. We’re guided by, and accountable to, members of the Racial Justice Network. (See our Manifesto for more info – http://tiny.cc/x0xz6y)
This course will enable us to:
– examine ourselves and our actions with more honesty and humility
– develop confidence to talk about and challenge white supremacy, everyday and structural racism
– take action within our communities, movements or workplaces in solidarity with people of colour
In the later part of the course we’ll encourage you to start thinking about concrete actions you can take to start dismantling the structures of Whiteness in your organisations, communities and movements.
Following the course you can choose to stay involved in the Unlearning Racism Collective, a peer-support group for white people. This will support you with your actions and give you the opportunity to work closely with the Racial Justice Network on projects and campaigns.
We will be running two courses, one taking place on a Wednesday evening and another on a Thursday evening. The courses are made up of 8 fortnightly sessions and have 12 available places that are open to anyone who identifies as white/white passing*. Each session will involve a little preparation, with suggested short readings, podcasts or videos, and will take a collective discussion and workshop format. The dates and topics are:
Session 1 (19th or 20th June): Manifesto, accountability and container building (making a safe space for discussion)
Session 2 (3rd or 4th July): Whiteness and White Fragility
Session 3 (17th or 18th July): The construction of ‘race’ and racism
Session 4 (31st July or 1st August): Everyday and structural racism
*4 week break*
Session 5 (11th or 12th September): Histories and resistance in the UK
Session 6 (25th or 26th September): Intersectionality
Session 7 (9th or 10th October): Resisting states of violence
Session 8 (23rd or 24th October): Actioning our learning
There will also be 2 additional evening sessions with Racial Justice Network trustees towards the beginning (24th-28th June) and end (28th October – 1 November) of the course. Dates will be confirmed closer to the time.
The topics covered each week may change slightly as the course progresses.
HOW TO SIGN UP
To sign up, please fill in our short questionnaire, which you’ll find at the following link:
There are 24 places in total, which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please submit early to avoid disappointment.
We ask that you’re able to commit making at least 80% of the sessions. This is so we’re able to build the trust and connection needed to create a transformative space. Please note that these sessions may be personally challenging since they involve confronting some of our own privileges, assumptions and problematic behaviours.
To cover the costs we’re are asking participants to make a one-off donation at the first meet-up. All facilitators are volunteers. After venue and materials costs are covered extra funds raised will be donated to the Racial Justice Network. We have a sliding scale of suggested donations between £10 – £100, dependent on income, however no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
– If you are a young person, on low/no income our suggested donation is between £10 – £20
– If you are earning income our suggested donation is between £20 – £40
– If you’re on a comfortable wage our suggested donation is between £40 – £100
TIMES & VENUE
Most workshops will be from 18.00 – 20.00, with occasional longer sessions until 21.00 with a shared vegan meal provided. They will all be taking place at Bridge Street Church, LS2 7QZ. The venue is wheelchair accessible and has kitchen facilities. You are welcome to bring personal food or snacks to share.
There will also be optional social events to attend, which may include film screenings, or attendance at other relevant events. These will be discussed and agreed on within the workshops themselves.
We would like to acknowledge Penny Wangari-Jones, Richard Tavernier and Remi Joseph-Salisbury from the Racial Justice Network, and Camille Barton, founder of the Collective Liberation Project, for their mentoring, time, support and trust in this process so far.
*Why is it only for white/white passing people?
It was the shared view of our mentors that it can be challenging and potentially harmful for people of colour to sit and listen to white people learn about – and react emotionally to learning about – their unconscious racism. It is also felt that white folks can move past unproductive feelings of personal guilt more easily if there are only white people in the room who are all going through the same process.
How can I get involved in racial justice work if I don’t identify as white?
There are monthly socials in Leeds for people of colour, organised by other members of the Racial Justice Network. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Please email email@example.com if you have any questions about the course.