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Community conversation Social change Understanding whiteness

Community Conversation – Understanding Whiteness

Thank you for your attendance and/or interest in the Conflict Transformation Weave’s Community Conversation – Understanding Whiteness on Friday 19th November 2021.  


I know many more of you were interested in this Conversation than were able to attend.

We began looking at these Books

In A Race is a Nice Thing to Have, Dr Janet Helms explores 6 lenses of whiteness, through which we interpret racial events, race and racism; and how important it is for white people to understand and free themselves from the ‘rules of whiteness.

She advocates asking the question ‘How is racism playing out in our organisation or network?’

In What white people can do next, Emma Dabiri discusses how overly focusing on ‘performative allyship’ and worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing replaces the solidarity we need.  She explores how we need to be talking about class, capitalism and sources of oppression.  She advocates building a coalition around shared interests, figuring out people’s material needs and working together to organise a workplace or community.


Here is a short video (15 mins) with the framing of the evening.  You also get the questions.

Slides shared are here.


The questions we asked about how white supremacy is showing out in our contexts and organisations are helpful for ongoing reflection.


We are going to co-host an Understanding Whiteness Study Group beginning in January 2022. More info here.  Register interest here

Categories
Social change Understanding whiteness

Understanding Whiteness Study Group

Understanding Whiteness Study group

After the Community Conversation on 19th November 2021, we will continue the journey of Understanding Whiteness in relation to our NVC practice, there will be a 6 month series of sessions to study and apply to our own contexts

  •   Janet E Helms (2020) A Race is a Nice Thing to Have A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in Your Life 3rd edition San Diego:Cognella
  •   Emma Dabiri (2021) What White People Can Do Next From Allyship to Coalition  Penguin Random House UK

Logistics

It’s like a book group.

You will need access to both books, either buying, ordering from local library (order now!) or sharing.

We’ll begin in January or February 2022

1 meeting a month for 1.5 hours.

We meet for 6 sessions.

We will rotate hosting the session. If you host the session, your task is to:

  • Come with some reflections on the material to begin the conversation
  • Facilitate ‘something to happen’
  • Clarify chapters to focus on in next session

We will definitely begin with weekend morning sessions and either continue with these or also include Midweek lunchtime options

Please try to commit to all 6 sessions.

The Conflict Transformation Weave (CTW) will continue to support this learning in NVC UK networks. Kate Gard Cooke has also been instrumental  in bringing this group into being, contributing resource suggestions and energy.

The Books

In A Race is a Nice Thing to Have, Dr Janet Helms explores 6 lenses of whiteness, through which we interpret racial events, race and racism; and how important it is for white people to understand and free themselves from the ‘rules of whiteness.

She advocates asking the question ‘How is racism playing out in our organisation or network?’

In What white people can do next, Emma Dabiri discusses how overly focusing on ‘performative allyship’ and worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing replaces the solidarity we need.  She explores how we need to be talking about class, capitalism and sources of oppression.  She advocates building a coalition around shared interests, figuring out people’s material needs and working together to organise a workplace or community.

In the meantime,here are a couple of resources, you can watch/read to get a feel for the writers.

  1. “A Race is a Nice Thing to Have” w/ Dr. Janet E. Helms (US context) in discussion with Maryam M. Jernigan-Noesi (1 hr 22 mins)
  2. Emma Dabiri in discussion (1 hour) with Ellie Mae O’Hagan (UK & Ireland context)
  3. White racial identity and anti-racist education (article by Sandra Lawrence and Beverly Tatum
  4. Racial identity development – facilitator guide (uses the 6 schemas Dr Helms addresses)
Categories
Community conversation Social change

Community Conversation: Preparing for COP26 – Harvesting

In our Community Conversation in advance of COP26, there was a palpable sense of togetherness with the emotions of facing this current moment, including space for despair, not knowing, shame and hopelessness.

There was a strong sense that NVC practice and needs awareness and advocacy can support with many elements of organising within social movements.

There was appreciation of this coming together as an NVC-fuelled community. Companionship and togetherness nourish us. We need to learn more and more about power, privilege, and living under patriarchy, white supremacy and this form of capitalism.

There was a sense of freedom and newness at the end. In the face of despair and not knowing, let’s play with that, together. We have nothing to lose.

We like to think of these questions we asked as an ongoing enquiry, and are part of what we are willing to look at within our community in these times of transition and breakdown.

Breakout 1

How can we be heard by those with political and structural power?

How do we believe change happens? How do we believe NVC can create change?

What blocks come up as you think about this?

Selected notes:

We can use empathy  to contribute to changing stories that are told.

We can use empathy to validate all needs, of all stakeholders, including those with different views.

Stop ‘othering’ / dehumanising / judging

Keep learning about how power and privilege operates

What does it mean at an emotional level to face the truth of this moment? – to be with grief and despair.

We can focus on positive news stories of successful (nvc) community action to inspire, keep going, encourage, give hope (news about the French revolution sent ripples across the globe Motivational success stories can nurture hope, validation, entitlement and fuel activity)

We can increase capacity to be vulnerable, Going beyond the victim, perpetrator, rescuer dynamic. 

We can mobililse to be more empowered. Initiate emotionally, grow up into responsible adult. What initiation rites can we create?

Proceed as if you matter, as if what you do matters.

Learn Emergent Strategy.

Change happens through a diverse range of methods that create pressure, unexpected snowballs. Change happens in unpredictable ways.

NVC practitioners can support people on the frontlines / taking to the streets.

Create a community force. Connecting to and speaking from love. 

Help decision makers listen to scientists and us.

Blocks – hard to understand, overwhelming, 

stories i tell myself, 

shame that i dont know

shame that I have nothing to add,

Patriarchy says only special people have vision 🙁

We learn shame when showing up not knowing

Breakout 2

How can our NVC practice support and usher in the change that is needed?

What alliances do you need to make?

What networks can be forged for mutual support?

What healing do you need in order to play your part in this current moment?

Selected notes:

“I want us to learn three things that might help us face what may be coming: to find choice within; to honor our limits and know when to choose death; and to walk towards community and life as far as we find pathways to do so.” – Miki Kashtan

Let’s get more NVC folk in social movements.

We want networks of support, with needs consciousness, and be part of, going somewhere together. 

Learn how to grieve

Togetherness – a movement towards something together – including as NVC UK community.

Recreating the collective.

Supporting young people / children, our present and future, maybe our future leaders.

Maybe they will create our world beyond patriarchy!

Our own healing includes talking with our children / families about power.

Sharing power – Power Anonymous groups!

Standing in my own power. Risking my significance.

Mourning for flow and ease – to know how to make a difference, to express my care, and to be understood for that – that the care and love is there.

Would love to be able to express how i really care and don’t know how.

Finding compassion and empathy for ‘the enemy’.

Not firing ‘the second arrow’.

Act as if my life depended on it, or act as if other people’s lives depended on it.

In the face of despair and not knowing, play with it all, we have nothing to lose

Not knowing what to do and using NVC for finding what we do want to do.

Connecting with others who value NVC. Motivating.

Building NVC UK community that includes awareness of what’s in the world, engaging.

Connecting with not knowing what to do and how to do it – companionship in that.

COMPANIONSHIP. BEAUTY IN THE TOGETHERNESS.

Calls to action in relation to Cop26

Cop26coalition.org  Find your local hub and take action on 6 November

Defundclimatechaos.uk  There are protests on 29 October, mainly in London

Stop excluding Military emissions from climate agreements – Petition https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-excluding-military-pollution-from-climate-agreements-2/

#Stopcambo

British government is set to approve a new oil field called ‘Cambo’ in the North Atlantic, 75 miles from Shetland. Inform yourself www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3666

If you are in Scotland, you can ask your MSP to add their names to the motions opposing Cambo (Monica Lennon’s motion number S6M-00722 and Mark Ruskell’s motion, number S6M-00720. You can also sign this FoE Scotland Petition www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3667

Check out this handy toolkit for writing a letter to your MP and doing social media www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3668

Friends of the Earth UK have an Open Letter you cansign www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3669

Also stay connected to #Stopcambo updates at www.stopcambo.org.uk

Financing fossil fuels:

Inform yourself why this is a problem with the Greenpeace/WWF report from May, The Big Smoke: The Global Emissions of the UK financial Sector www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3670

Bank on our future has 2 min and 10 min online actions you can take to challenge banks funding fossil fuels. Their website also have printable signs and banners, social media images and more www.bankonourfuture.org

Extinction Rebellion are organising direct action under the heading ‘Money Rebellion’ www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3671

On twitter, you can tweet the chancellor Rishi Sunak to #CleanupBanks with a new climate finance law www.clicktotweet.com/gif90

You can switch your bank and tell them why you are leaving. This ‘Market forces’ site will tell you how to check if they’re funding fossil fuels and walk you through the process. www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3572

Divestment: Pressure institutions to stop investing in fossil fuel companies

If you are near Chichester, Sussex, here is an upcoming demo you can join www.tinyurl.com/peacenews3674