The book, Witnessing Whiteness, is best read as part of a group process because…
- We learn more by talking about new ideas in community
- Friends and colleagues can help us process challenging ideas and feelings
Engaging with the workshop/dialogue series helps people….
- notice and interrupt internal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural racism
- improve cross-race relationships and collaboration to support racial justice.
What does the workshop/dialogue series involve?
- Integrated, comprehensive, guided experience. A 14-part, sequential process aligns with the reading of the Third Edition of Witnessing Whiteness: The Journey into Racial Awareness and Antiracist Action.
- Dialogue-based, experiential approach. Agendas allow groups of 5 to 25 people to explore how issues discussed in Witnessing Whiteness relate to personal lives and communities in 2-hour sessions.
- Grassroots philosophy. Assumption that people can learn by doing, and groups need to organize themselves to develop skills and capacities that bring needed change to their communities, organizations, and institutions.
- Accessible and sustainable. Dialogue session agendas with facilitator’s notes offer detailed instructions so groups can avoid hiring an expensive consultant.
- Supportive intention. Guidelines support the creation of a welcoming, inviting space where people feel free to speak the truth of their experience without fear of shame or reprisal.
How can I start a group?
Consider the approach that is right for you:
- A big step: Work with a group to organize and recruit participants to be part of a workshop/dialogue series in your community.
- A medium step: Invite interested friends or colleagues to begin reading the book with you, chapter by chapter, dialoguing along the way using the agendas to guide your discussion.
- Step-by-step: Read the book on your own. Consider why the information is beneficial and jot down key ideas. Share your insights and invite people to join you as a small group. Read the book again with friends and colleagues and talk about it, chapter by chapter, using the agendas to guide your discussion. See what new insights the second reading brings!
Preparation: Review the Workshop/Dialogue Series facilitation guides and agendas to decide 1) which resources are helpful to you and 2) how each chapter’s discussions or exercises would work for your group. Use the facilitation notes to decide which key ideas to focus on in your discussion sessions.
Agendas, handouts, and resource documents aligned with the Third Edition are now available via this Witnessing Whiteness Workshop/Dialogue Series landing file. For easier navigation and an overview of the materials, please read the author’s welcome letter before scrolling and exploring.
Hard copies available beginning January 2023. If you wish to order a complete set of printed documents specific to the Third Edition as a bound manual with plastic cover and backing, please email send a check payable to Shelly Tochluk, Education Department, Mount Saint Mary’s University-Los Angeles, Doheny Campus, 10 Chester Place, Los Angeles, CA 90007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about paying via Venmo. Each printed set is $150.
A note about group book orders
For group or bulk orders of the book call Rowman & Littlefield-Education at 1-800-462-6420 and choose option 3. Be sure to ask for the Third Edition. If you’ve been working with me directly, you may be able to benefit from a discount. Be sure to ask (or contact me) before you place an order!
Who helped create the workshop/dialogue series?
Collaboration with series facilitators: Thank you to members of the YWCA-Metro St. Louis Witnessing Whiteness facilitation team, Hilary Sedovic, Susan Dersch, Cyndie Jones, Leah Patriarco, Susan Berger, Andrea Tharian, and Hannah Bisch, for your time, insight, and thoughtful suggestions. The Third Edition Workshop/Dialogue Series would not have come to fruition without their brainstorming, critical feedback on early drafts, and formatting support. Thank you to Mary Ferguson for developing the facilitation training documents and sharing them for modified use with the wider community. Many thanks also go to all those in Madison, WI and St. Louis, MO who participated in focus groups, offering feedback on what worked and what didn’t while implementing the series matched to the Second Edition.
Second Edition Resources – Still Available
If you and your group are not ready to transition to the Third Edition materials, you may continue to use the old materials corresponding to the book’s Second Edition. Facilitators should note that the Second Edition has a stronger emphasis on personal growth related to cultivating cross-race relationships and less focus on antiracist action. The Second Edition also lacks any context related to the last 10 years of activism in support of Black lives, the push to end police violence, the need to interrupt white nationalist recruitment, and the threat of an authoritarian right-wing gaining power in the U.S.
Materials related to the Second Edition:
Chapter by chapter agendas and handouts:
- Virtual Format Resources - Witnessing Whiteness Online Facilitator Guide
- Includes online session agendas for a 10-part series.
- Includes embedded links to slides, handouts, and email templates.
- Thank you to Nichole, Laurie, Laurel, and Thomas from Madison, WI who translated the in-person series into the online format in 2020 and generously shared it with the community.
- In-Person Format Resources - Full Series – All Agendas and Handouts
- Includes in-person session agendas for an 11-part series.
- Includes handouts that can be printed and copied.
- This is the original 2010 publication. There are likely many broken links. I strongly urge you to use the new edition matched to the book’s Third Edition, published in 2022.
Multiracial review teams. Continued appreciation goes to those who offered so much to this process in the early days: Mana Tahai, Justice Waidner, Mary Waidener, Kim Nave, Rasheda Carroll, Melinda Tsapatsaris, Katy Green, Diane Burbie, Jorge Zeballos, and Michele DeRosa
Check out this NBC News post and watch the video for an indication of what is possible with this series.
Feedback and stories are appreciated. If you use the series and would like to offer feedback about your group’s experience, please email email@example.com. All information regarding how the series works for your group is appreciated. Stay in touch. If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter with additional resource links, subscribe here.
“We began as a group of ten parents and teachers meeting once a month, and started to work our way through the Witnessing Whiteness book. The following year, everyone who had participated before signed up to do it again, along with 10 new folks. This, our 3rd year, nearly everyone has come back again, and our numbers are close to 30. There is so much richness and depth to the book that allows for many years of conversation and discovery. We meet on the same night as the Parents and Teachers of color group, and occasionally we meet together. What is most remarkable, is that we are starting to see palpable change as a result of the work of these groups- we are closer to having a school community that is comfortable with talking about issues of race. It has been so rewarding!”
– Jenna Chandler-Ward, Fayerweather Street School Parent and Witnessing Whiteness Group Facilitator