Now more than ever, it’s critical that whites effectively partner with People of Color and other whites to interrupt racist dynamics to create more racially just, inclusive organizations.
One of the most effective ways I know of to accomplish this is to begin by facilitating Whiteness Accountability Spaces in our organizations.
Are you ready to deepen your capacity – and choose courage – by recognizing white privilege, getting honest about how you were socialized in a sea of racist attitudes and ways you may still react out of these? Are you committed to learn how to create racially just organizations and choose courage to disrupt daily racist dynamics?
It is imperative that we as whites first do our own healing self-work to recognize, disrupt, and unlearn all the Internalized Dominance we absorbed as whites / people with white ancestry.
As with anything, we begin at the beginning: learning how whiteness and racism shaped our biases and beliefs, access to opportunities, and life experiences. Utilizing Whiteness Accountability Spaces provides a groundwork to discover ways we uphold racist dynamics and systemic racism, often unconsciously.
And from there, we can begin to change ourselves and our organizations.
Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.
Show Your Vulnerability: It’s Where Healing Begins
Natalie J. Thoreson, an experienced social justice advocate who was a recent guest on my Radio Show , noted that because of the pandemic and protests, it is a curious time in history.
Thoreson has decades of experience facilitating workshops on cultural competency, diversity and discrimination. What makes her work so dynamic and personable is that she shows her own vulnerability.
By doing so, it opens up a space. “There is a lot of guilt and shame,” she noted, regarding whites and their facing racism. Showing her own vulnerability by sharing a personal story highlights how once we face a racist thought or feeling, we can begin to shift our socialized beliefs and change our racist behaviors.
Thoreson related hearing a noise at 1AM one night. Curious, she looked outside and saw a black man digging through a car. Her instant reaction? He’s stealing something.
“The very first place my head went is this man is stealing something out of this car. If the man had been white, the thought wouldn’t have crossed my mind.”
Can you relate to that experience? Honestly, most whites probably can. It is from that point of shameful acknowledgement that we can begin an honest self-assessment and lifelong journey to uproot racist attitudes and behaviors.
In my powerful remote learning course, Leading White Accountability Groups in Your Organization, I’ll help you develop greater capacity to design and lead the critical deep self-work needed to disrupt the racist behaviors we’ve all been taught. Visit this link to learn more and sign up: https://drkathyobear.com/wag-mini-course/
The Hidden Power of White Accountability Groups
What is the magic of White Accountability Spaces?
It’s the relief many whites feel as they express their racist beliefs in a group where everyone is equally honest and authentic.
Without the common traps that keep whiteness in place, such as criticizing each other and calling out to try to prove who is the better white person, well-facilitated White Accountability Groups can be a place for acknowledging our collusion and supporting each other to change….while we also hold each other accountable for continuing accelerated skill development and active efforts to shift the organization.
We all have thought and/or acted out of racist attitudes at some point in our lives. I remember the first time I was called out for my racist attitudes and behaviors. Me! And I resisted and got defensive, but eventually I admitted the truth of their statement and began my own inner healing self-work.
Thoreson summed people’s behaviors up perfectly:
“Good people are socialized to have bad responses.”
By expressing their racist attitudes within the brave space of a White Accountability Group – without attacking each other’s humanity or burdening People of Color once again to teach us and take care of us – people engage more deeply and experience a connection with their white allies, maybe for the first time, as they realize the benefits of learning in a community of accountability, developing ways to show up for racial justice in your organization.
I can show you how to achieve these types of powerful transformations in my dynamic virtual course, Leading White Accountability Groups in Your Organization. Imagine your impact if you choose to move into leadership to co-convene these groups?
Connecting With People on the Basis of Humanity
In her unique ability to bring issues to a personal awareness, Thoreson teaches the message of the need to humanize each other.
She uses a great metaphor: when we’re in a car accident, whether it’s just a dent in the fender or something more serious, even though it’s an ‘accident,’ we are responsible for the impact of our behaviors.
Just as with racist beliefs, actions and inactions, we are responsible to acknowledge them, show up to repair the damage we caused, and change our behaviors moving forward. We must recognize and value the humanity of all People of Color in the same way we do our white colleagues, friends, and family.
“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.”
In these historic times, our world demands (and deserves) change like never before – not just in our organizations – but on every level of society.
To lead change effectively, I believe it’s essential to do our own healing self-work to disrupt racist attitudes and behaviors so we can be our best selves as we partner with People of Color to leverage the incredible power of this moment in history to create racially just organizations.
To learn more about my Leading White Accountability Groups in Your Organization course, click here: https://drkathyobear.com/wag-mini-course/