Unpacking Race 2013 • Part 5:
Taking Action

Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3  Part 4 • Part 5

In our final session of the Unpacking Race workshop serieswe strategize ways to take action against racism in personal, work and community settings by identifying our spheres of influence and how to empower ourselves to take action.  In the workshop, we used the Theatre of the Oppressed technique known as "The Mini Forum," a shortened version of Forum Theatre.

Spheres of Influence:

We identified four general social strata in which we encounter racism.  As "Spheres of Influence" we reenacted situations where we might have the power to interrupt racism:

  1. Self: Educating yourself, understanding your values and feelings, examining how you want to change.
  2. Close Family and Friends: Influencing the people closest to you.
  3. Social, School, and Work Relationships: Friends and acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, people with whom you interact on a regular basis.
  4. Wider Community: People with whom you interact infrequently or in community settings.


Our last batch of readings (for the workshop—keep reading and writing about race outside the workshop!) are about interrupting racism and how to be an ally.  They are:
  1. Breaking the Silence” by Beverly Tatum from White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism.
  2. Guidelines for Being a Strong White Ally” by Paul Kivel
  3. 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors that Indicate a Detour or Wrong Turn Into White Guilt, Denial or Defensiveness,” by Debra Leigh

Here's a 4-minute excerpt of “Microaggressions In Everyday Life,” narrated by Derald Wing Sue, a video revealing how unconscious biased signals can be perpetuated by well-meaning individuals.  The full video is also viewable online.

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