What is the White Privilege Conference (WPC)?
WPC examines the challenging concepts of privilege and oppression, and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world. The conference invites diverse perspectives, providing a comprehensive look at issues of privilege, including: race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. The conference is unique in its ability to bring together the diverse perspectives of high school and college students, teachers, university faculty and higher education professionals, nonprofit staff, activists, social workers and counselors, healthcare workers, parents, and members of the spiritual community and corporate arena. Individuals with varying levels of experience addressing issues of diversity, cultural competency, and multiculturalism are welcome. Annual attendance exceeds 1,500 people, from the United States and abroad.
For more information visit whiteprivilegeconference.com
Session: How to Mobilize Your Privilege for the Benefit of All: From Shame to Vision and Action (All Levels)
Friday April 28, 1-2:30pm or Saturday April 29, 3:30-5pm
The 2016 elections underscore the fact that progressives must do better at reaching and organizing the “mainstream” of U.S. society. Specifically, we need to develop ways of talking about privilege that are liberating and mobilizing to a broad range of people. One of the insidious powers of privilege systems is their capacity to appear invisible as systems. We need accessible tools for exposing this invisibility and the mechanics of system of racial caste that is hides and protects. In this workshop, participants will learn about four productive and liberative ways of naming and engaging with privilege. Four counterproductive ways of dealing with privilege will also be named and simple steps to support change in the direction of our values and commitments. Through interactive practices, participants can come to more deeply see, own, thoughtfully talk about and use privilege to work for change at all levels of society. As part of this workshop, participants will get useful approaches for engaging or leading others in conversations about privilege, as well as opportunities to collaboratively envision a world beyond privilege and what steps in our lives and work we can take to create that just, beloved and radically inclusive community.
and a second, more detailed, writeup about the session…
Social justice work struggles with the enormous difficulty of creating productive conversations about privilege. This workshop presents a simple conceptual framework for distinguishing between privilege as a structural system that confers unchosen benefits on some at the expense of others and attitude, an individual attribute. The premise is that while privilege is not chosen (for the most part we are born into it), we all have ample choice about how we engage with it. In this workshop, participants can learn about how to shift from negative to positive ways of engaging with privilege. Through interactive practices, participants move towards owning privilege instead of denying it; learning about the history and structural mechanisms of privilege as a way to transcend guilt and shame; opening to and inviting feedback from those who don’t have the privilege instead of defensiveness about it; and, ultimately, making new choices about stewarding privilege for the benefit of all instead of conscious or unconscious entitlement to personal enjoyment of the benefits of the privilege.
As part of this workshop, participants can develop a vision for a world beyond privilege, and then examine current choices about use of resources / privilege and identify new options that more align with their vision. The fundamental intention is for participants to feel the different aspects of how they currently engage with privilege and how they want to engage in the future, and then choose, based on that difference, actions and conversations that take on the structural reality of their lives.
Miki Kashtan is a writer, blogger, facilitator, consultant, and trainer supporting the move towards reclaiming our collective capacity for collaboration, including across divisions of and privilege, as described in her book Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working Together to Create a Nonviolent Future. She co-founded Bay Area Nonviolent Communication.
Victor Lee Lewis is a veteran social justice educator committed to liberation for all as a core aspect of leadership, founder of the Radical Resilience Institute, coach, and trauma healer. His primary focus is bringing an understanding of trauma and neurological wisdom to social justice work.