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Introduction, Workshop 9: Ignore-ance of White Identity

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

To consider "Whiteness" . . . is not an attack on people, whatever their skin color. Instead, (it) is an attempt to think critically about how white skin preference has operated systematically, structurally and sometimes unconsciously as a dominant force in American—and indeed in global society and culture. — Dr. Gregory Jay, contemporary author and educator

This workshop continues the examination of White privilege and its relationship to White identity. The readings, activities and discussions in this workshop may well lead to emotional reactions such as defensiveness, guilt, or shame from participants, particularly participants who identify as White or of European ancestry. Some participants may want to emphasize the importance of being "color blind" as the solution to racism. Others may use ethnic identity such as being Irish-, Italian, or Polish-American to separate themselves from the burden of White identity. Invite and encourage participants to consider the ways in which White identity is imposed by the larger society. Ask: how does White privilege apply even for White people who don't think of themselves as White?

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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