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Introduction, Workshop 12: Growing and Healing Within Ethnic/Racial Groups

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

The purpose of monocultural community is two-fold: (1) to find identity and self-esteem as a group; and (2) to do homework together before encountering other cultural communities. — Eric H. F. Law, educator and author, in The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb

This workshop introduces racial identity group dialogues or caucusing. Up to this point in the program, participants have had many opportunities to share their stories across racial/ethnic groups. In this workshop, participants have a chance to talk in a structured format with persons from their own ethnic/racial group, an opportunity that is rare, even for those who regularly participate in multicultural dialogues. This kind of within-group talk more often than not generates a different type of conversation, both in tone and content, than does multicultural dialogue. In racial affinity groups, White-identified people are able to ask questions and raise issues without the fear of offending People of Color and other ethnically or racially marginalized people. People socialized in ethnically or racially oppressed groups find that they can talk about issues without the burden of rationalizing and proving the validity of their experience to White people.

In this workshop, the racial identity group in which an individual participates is based on how they self-identify. Neither you nor other workshop participants assign anyone a racial/ethnic category. Invite and encourage each person to speak from their individual experience and to note both common and unique experiences living in a race-based society.

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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