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Introduction, Workshop 5: Problems and Promises of Unearned Privilege

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

I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. — Nelson Mandela

This workshop and Workshop 6 introduce "White privilege," the idea that there exists a system of racial preferences that are automatically awarded to people who identify as White or of European ancestry, while, at the same time, there is a system of systematic disadvantages for People of Color and other people marginalized by race or ethnicity . Some participants may feel discomfort examining White privilege. Becoming aware of the reality of White privilege or unearned advantage rooted in racism and White identity often triggers anger, shame, denial, and resistance, especially for those who identify as White or of European descent. However, it is impossible to transform racial or other identity-based exclusion, inequity, or oppression without addressing privilege. Understanding White privilege is foundational to understanding how racism operates to provide unearned advantage to people who identify as White or of European ancestry at the expense of People of Color and other people marginalized by race or ethnicity.

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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