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Introduction, Workshop 5: Voices and Perspectives

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

Whatever any of us concludes about race relations, we should start by including all of us. — Frank Wu, author of Yellow

This workshop marks the beginning of the second half of the program. There is considerable flexibility to account for different presentation schedules. Activity 1 is a re-entry activity, useful primarily if your group has been apart for some period of time. Activity 2 provides video clips of People of Color and White-identified people offering perspectives on race, theology, and personal and community practices. Activity 3 provides instructions for racial/ethnic identity- based reflection groups. Alternate Activity 1, which considers cultural misappropriation in a well-loved Unitarian Universalist hymn, can be included if you eliminate Activity 1.

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 about race and privilege 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 program, 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.

Note: Although it is strongly recommended that groups in Activity 3 be formed on the basis of racial/ethnic identity, there are situations where, due to the lack of diversity in the group, small size of the group, or lack of maturity of participants, formation of such groups is not appropriate. For such cases, participants should gather in the reflection groups established in Workshop 3.

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

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Last updated on Friday, July 20, 2012.

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