Workshop on White Privilege

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privilege_laddersKeiko Ozeki and Pamela Taylor led us in a wonderful training through the peacemaking circle process.  We sat in a two circles (an outer circle and an inner circle).  Then it was a bit like speed dating.  In pairs of two, an inner circle person interacted with an outer circle person to answer questions then they rotated.  Here were the thought provoking questions posed.  Try these questions in a training with staff and/or volunteers to open up discussion about racism and privilege. It can be uncomfortable but also enlightening and life changing!

Concentric Circles Questions

1. What do you really live for? What makes life worth living for you?
2. When did you learn that “your” race mattered? How did you learn this lesson?
3. What happens when you experience a thought, feeling, or behavior that feels frightening or causes you some anxiety? What do you do about it?
4. What scares you to talk about race and/or racism?
5. Share with your partner one prejudice you learned while you were growing up?
6. Describe a time when someone’s words hurt you?
7. What do you do when racism shows up in your interpersonal relationships?
8. To what degree and in what ways does race impact your personal life?
9. When and how did you become aware of your racial identity?
10. Describe a moment when your racial identity was important to, or took on particular meaning for, you.
11. How do you suffer or “miss out” because of your racial identity?
12. How do you benefit from your racial identity?
13. When was a time you experienced racism? What did you do?
14. What are the “under the table” issues not being discussed between race/ethnic identity groups? Why is this? (Under the table refers to those behaviors and beliefs seen as illegitimate or perceived as too risky to openly address.)
15. How do you celebrate your racial/ethnic heritage or background?

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Lisa Yeager has more than 15 years experience in Volunteer Management. She has lead volunteers at the Bellevue Art Museum, WACAP, Hopelink, Encompass, Autism Speaks (Walk Now for Autism), and the Sno-valley Senior Center. She has won the DuFort Award for Volunteer Management, and Program Manager of the Year in 2000. She is currently Treasurer and conference chair for VAN.