The Spring 2022 cohort’s shared commitments to continuing their anti-racism journeys
On 21st July 2022, the Spring 2022 cohort of #TheUnlearningCircle with Full Frame Coach completed their three month immersive #antiracism programme. The Unlearning Circle marks the start of a life long journey, and as a group the cohort came up with some shared commitments using two prompts from Layla F. Saad’s Me and White Supremacy.
Would you consider looking inwards as one of your top 3 things to do to understand racism and practice anti-racism? Or perhaps the fear of getting things wrong and hurting people stops you from knowing more about #whiteness and how it shows up for you. If yes, then you might like to know that the Winter 22/23 cohort starts on Thursday, 10th November. You can find out more at www.fullframecoach.com/unlearning
In the spirit of accountability, the Spring 2022 cohort are happy for their #commitments to be shared with you all. The following commitments were developed by Rachel Alvarez-Reyes, Tim Hess and Alexandra Paterson with facilitation provided by me, Liz Price.
"I am committed to showing up for this lifelong anti-racism work because…
It’s important - racism and how it has manifested, both historically and now, has a huge negative impact on people from the global majority
We’re not powerless in this situation - we benefit from this and we have agency. It’s not an option to do nothing
I can see it playing out in front of me - on my friends, my community, people I care about. And I don’t want that to be such a big part of their lives
We live in such a divided world - it’s the only way to start building bridges by stepping into this world and owning our part in that division. We need to use our privilege to address that.
It could open up a whole new world of meaningful, enriching conversations and connections - all the time we’ve not dealt with this stuff, our relationships with people from the global majority are going to be limited.
Really understanding where someone is coming from and understanding what makes up all of their identity, is a duty/responsibility to do this work - people from the global majority have been doing this work since before they were born (taking into account inter-generational trauma of racism).
We have a responsibility to use our privilege to try and level the playing field.
This is a good time to be stepping up - we are at a point in our society where there are little glimmers of hope:
discussions in the mainstream about not tolerating inequalities,
discussions in wider society eg attitudes towards immigration and refugees are shifting
attempts by our politicians to start culture wars are reducing,
people are making their minds up on individual issues, and not following the party line.
I want to add my voice and energy to the progress that has already been made in the UK about anti-racism - it’s time to actively contribute to anti-racism and the rights of others
This process has inspired me that the little things can make a difference - my privilege is so obvious to me, I can then turn that on its head and use my privilege in a productive way.
This feels core to me – regarding global and structural inequality. If we can chip away and make a small part, you never know where those ripples will lead in creating some change in the world.
I have a growing, deepening realisation that it all starts with our inner work. And we all need to continue with the inner work to remain active in this area.
I don’t want to fall back into the trap of thinking of myself as ‘a good white person’ – for having done this work and the ‘good things’ I do next. That’s why it’s lifelong work.
I am committed to challenging racism in other people with white privilege by…
Talking about The Unlearning Circle - having done this work, and my journey before I started this process and what I’ve learnt through this about myself. Using it as an opportunity to talk about it with others
Sharing how I want this work to continue in my life - to make it clear that it’s not “I’ve done this and full stop”. It’s not a ‘one and done’, so it’s lifelong work.
Having a conversation with my partner – carve out the time to talk about this, even if it’s difficult. I don’t want to wait for it to happen organically.
Building the confidence (putting myself out there and taking action) and knowledge (immersing myself in ongoing learning and exposure to material from the global majority) to have a challenging conversation, that involves calling out someone I care about.
Starting a process to have longer conversations – I need to get clear in my head before I have them. This means being able to speak about this in a clear and compelling way, so that people who will be open to this but won’t have heard it before, can take it on board.
Having conversations coming from a place of authenticity - not letting perfectionism and my inner critic get in the way of wanting to ‘get it right’. Not sounding sanctimonious, intellectual in these conversations.
Listening out for white fragility - the other person might not recognise or understand that’s what it is.
Being courageous – the build up to something can be more of a thing than actually doing it. I’ve been empowered in the past by taking action. So I will focus on the feeling of taking action, even if I know it could be difficult or have an impact on relationships.
By trusting that down the line, perhaps years from now, others will understand where I’m coming from now.
Starting from a place of compassion, kindness, love and connection with another person – creating safe spaces to have these conversations. Giving space for people to change their views without being judged for a ‘u-turn’. Giving space for people to add to their understanding without them feeling like I’ve told them they were wrong. Giving space for those that haven’t yet started the work.
Recognising where the other person is at - adapting my expectations of them without colluding with their white fragility etc.
Acknowledging how I might be perceived by the other person - these people haven’t been on the same journey with me. They might have a new perception of me (that is uncomfortable) and I will need to acknowledge that with them."