In November 2017 T.O. Philly is holding its workshop series about race and undoing racism. Between sessions we are posting videos, articles, radio pieces, and writing prompts for participants. Feel free to follow along!
In week three, we considered whiteness through three lenses:
- What have we learned about what it means to be white?
- What are stereotypes that we've heard about white people?
- What have we heard from people of color about white people?
After listing aspects of these three lenses through which we might look at whiteness, our Image Theatre work turned the lens from one view to another: What does whiteness look like in our bodies? How do we project whiteness in subtle and not so subtle ways? How do POC perspectives see images of whiteness? What are stereotypes of whiteness that show up in our communities, our homes, ourselves?
The essence of theatre is being able to to shift the lens. Next week we will spend some time embodying the indigenous parts of ourselves that often lay dormant in our bodies and acknowledge and strengthen those parts of our moving selves. We will also create an indigeneity of our collective group, creating tools for surviving and thriving as agents of anti-racism.
1. WATCH "How To Do Thanksgiving Makeup That Has Nothing To Do With The 566 Federally Recognized Tribes." Content Warning: language.
How have you interrupted race this week? Sailor J used humor as a strategy to dismantle whiteness as a colonizing, violent, and appropriative force. In what ways in your life can you imagine using humor to combat anti-blackness and native erasure? Try to be as detailed as possible here.
2. LISTEN to the first episode of "Who Is This Restaurant For?" from The Sporkful:
This episode reminds us that the spaces we inhabit and the way we relate to people in a space are full of racial cues and contexts. How do your spaces invite in people of color? How does the space you inhabit work to dismantle white supremacy? What can you do differently to your space to make it more inviting for people of color in your community? How can you relate differently to people of color in your neighborhood to make them feel safer?
3. WATCH this excerpt from press conference held by Jocelyn Wabano-Iahtail and family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls:
When is a time that you used your tone or your whiteness to silence people of color? How about a time in the last week? Whiteness gives us the ability to harm others despite our best intentions. How can you apologize for pain you may have caused people of color in your life? Write a brief letter thanking a person of color in your life for their patience and apologizing for your behavior.
4. READ "White Supremacy On My Mind: Learning to Undermine Racism" by Chris Crass.
Chris Crass is a racial justice educator that "woke up" during the Rodney King brutality and trial in the early 90s. When did you officially "wake up"? How are you continuing to challenge yourself to wake up? There is a lot to learn from white anti-racism activists. What surprised you about Chris' writing? What will you be taking with you?
5. READ "Bring Us Back into the Dance: Women of the Wasase" by Kahente Horn-Miller.
Kahente Horn-Miller reminds us that returning to her indigenous roots gives her the strength to resist the violence against her and her community perpetrated by the state. What are indigenous practices in your culture? Think about your family, your roots and your community. You might have to actually study your own history here. How can you begin to strengthen your naturally occurring indigenity to subvert white supremacy?
6. RACE JOURNAL Keep thinking about your relationship to whiteness. What behaviors do you engage in that support white supremacy? What behaviors are you currently becoming aware of? How can you use your unearned power to dismantle whiteness as a reality (and as a corollary to anti-blackness from last week's reading)? What do you stand to lose by dismantling white supremacy (think money and also reputation, family, support, etc.)? Be honest in your assessment. What is stopping you from acting?