Session 5

Developing a Practice of Seeing Racism in the World Around and Within

One of the characteristics of white privilege is to deny its own contemporary, active and influential existence. For if it was clearly seen, it would so offend its carriers that it would cease to exist. As a kind of self-defense, it disappears to itself. However, with some practice, we can start to get “the knack” for seeing the ways white privilege continues to manifest and operate, both internally and externally. This session is designed to help us in that journey by revealing more dimensions, beyond the headlines, of how white culture operates.

Before your meeting

Please read/watch/listen to these before your meeting:

Please complete these assignments before your session 5 meeting

  • Assignment A: Bring an example of something you are reading or experiencing around race & white supremacy. This could include a situation from your own life, or something you’ve heard or read about.
  • Assignment B: Using the maps and other available resources, find out about the indigenous people who live or lived on the land where you currently live. Research the history of those people and any displacement or genocide that occurred.

Other Resources:


Your group should choose a facilitator for this meeting. The facilitator role will rotate each meeting.

The facilitator’s role is to guide the group through the proposed agenda. The facilitator is not expected to have any special knowledge about the topic, and responds to each question as a participant. The facilitator’s role incorporates three jobs:

  1. Make sure all voices are heard. We suggest “going around” to have each person speak during most sections of the agenda, rather than open discussion.
  2. Keep time and keep the group moving through the agenda.
  3. Ensure that a date and facilitator is set for the next meeting

Proposed Agenda

  • Sit (5 minutes)
  • Review Communication Guidelines that will support your group (5 minutes)
    1. Read aloud your group’s guidelines developed in the first session
    2. Discuss any revisions to the guidelines
    3. Confirm that all members can abide by the group’s guidelines, or at least open to practicing with them
  • Mindful Sharing (85 minutes)
    • Instruction: Mindful sharing involves each participant sharing from personal experience. There is no discussion or cross-talk during this time period, only personal sharing.
    • Each person in the group can share 3-5 minutes on each question (gauge the time depending on the number of people in your group)

    • Discussion Questions
      1. Share something about the reading or experience from assignment A. (Assignment A: Bring an example of something you are reading or experiencing around race & white supremacy.  This could include a situation from your own life, or something you’ve heard or read about.)

      2. Describe what you learned in Assignment B, researching the histories of the indigenous people who live/d on the land you current live on. What histories of displacement, genocide, and other harm did you discover? How does knowing this history impact your relationship to the land? What is your connection to this collective karma? How is history different when we tell the story of Christopher Columbus versus the stories of indigenous people?

      3. Discuss how compassion arises (or does not) when hearing the stories of refugees. (This could include the Central American refugees described in the reading, or other refugee stories you are familiar with.) What does collective compassion look like in a refugee crisis? Whose land is being protected when trying to keep out migrants and refugees? How does the fiction of national borders prop up white supremacy in the US and Europe?

      4. What was your reaction to the results of the 2016 US Presidential election? Did you find yourself committing any of the micro-aggressions discussed in the “Woke” article? What is your reaction now, after having been in this course?

  • Sit (5 minutes)
  • Group Reflection (10 minutes)
    • Instruction: Group Reflection is like Mindful Sharing in that there is no discussion or cross-talk, however the focus is on what kind of experience the participants had during the meeting rather than on the content covered.
    • Each person in the group can share 2-3 minutes about what it was like to participate in the group (gauge time based on number of people in the group)
    • PROMPT: What was it like to engage in Mindful Sharing today? How has this been for you so far?
  • Plan the next meeting (5 minutes)
    • How did your technology or meeting logistics work? Any changes you would like to try for the next meeting?
    • When will you meet?
    • Who will facilitate?
  • If there’s time left, finish with a closing sit (5 minutes)