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Introduction, Workshop 10: Exploring White Identity

In "Building the World We Dream About," a Tapestry of Faith program

The struggle for racial justice in America calls those of us who are White to make this journey. Our presence is needed. We have been absent too long. — Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, from Soul Work: Anti-racist Theologies in Dialogue, Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley and Nancy Palmer Jones, editors (Boston: Skinner House, 2003).

This workshop uses "aesthetic journaling" as a learning strategy to enable participants to go beyond surface dialogue about "Whiteness" and "White privilege." Participants who are more visually oriented will be more receptive to this exercise than those who are verbally oriented or who have had negative experiences with "art projects." Invite those who generally resist creating art projects to recognize this one as an opportunity to explore "Whiteness" from a new perspective and with a different lens. To allay concerns about a perceived inability to "do" art, emphasize that creating art for art's sake is not the purpose of the activity. Its purpose is to engage people with different learning and communication styles. Using alternative means of expression can help the entire group learn about and appreciate difference and may lead to insights beyond what dialogue can provide.

It will take some time to gather the materials for aesthetic journaling, so you may want to begin early and enlist help from others (including workshop participants).

Before leading this workshop, review the accessibility guidelines in the program Introduction under Integrating All Participants.

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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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