White Fragility is a state in which even a small amount of racial stress becomes intolerable for a white person, thus preventing conversations confronting racial issues. Recognizing and naming it can be a helpful way to stay engaged in discussions about racism and in ongoing racial justice work, especially when it becomes uncomfortable. Because VT is a predominately white state, this concept is important to explore in many spaces that seek to meaningfully address racism. Peace & Justice Center facilitators go over this idea, outlining how it actively perpetuates racism in a cycle, and explore ways that the cycle can be disrupted as part of nearly all of our racial justice programming. Participants discover different approaches to noticing white fragility in order to no longer allow it to prevent meaningful learning and work in addressing racism within self, community, and institutions. In addition to being integrated into our multi-week programs like How to Talk with Kids about Racism, Building Empathy and Addressing Racial Oppression, and Privilege and Accountability: Becoming an Ally, the Peace & Justice Center also offers the exploring of this idea as a stand alone racial justice event. Facilitators explored this idea with well over a thousand people throughout VT, in mostly small settings, like classrooms, faith gatherings, social justice action groups, and to community spaces like libraries and our spot at 60 Lake Street, in Burlington.
We are excited to keep on sharing this idea and encouraged by the feedback that we continue to receive that it is helpful in supporting people in taking action to disrupt racism in the everyday lives of people in our community. Please let us know if you would like us to come to your community, or if you are interested and available, please join us at public events that involve this program in April and May. We are committed to including the Deaf community and others who need language interpretation, if you need ASL or other language interpretation and are planning to attend one of the following events, please let us know ASAP so we can plan accordingly.
- Wednesday, April 12th from 6-7:30pm at Saint Michael’s College, McCarthy Arts, 1 Winooski Park, Colchester. The Peace & Justice Center is excited to join the with St. Mike’s MOVE Program to bring this workshop to the school and surrounding communities.
- Thursday, May 4th from from 11am-12 noon at the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake Street, Burlington. Due to the success of offering this program to the community at our space in February and to the success of our monthly lunch hour Toxic Whiteness Discussion Groups we are offering this as a lunch hour weekday program on May. People are encouraged to stay after to participate in a New Volunteer Orientation.