Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Talk

Well, the conference was a mile-a-minute, and there really wasn't time for blogging. I was extra nervous because I was at the People of Color Conference talking about how my white identity development impacts my teaching. But, the presentation went really well, and we got a lot of good feedback.

My only struggle was this eye-contact activity in the white affinity group.  All the white people got together for several sessions to talk about ally behaviors, competencies, and dispositions.  At the end, we had to find someone we didn't know and look into her/his eyes.  Then, the facilitator said stuff like, "Look into this face.  Let the face open to you and inspire you.  This is the face of someone who will help to heal humanity."  All the while, I was supposed to gaze into this stranger guy's eyes.

"I'm sorry," I told him.  "I just can't do this."

It was so beyond.

The next morning, I made up for my refusal to sit "knee-to-knee, toe-to-toe" with another stranger and stare into his eyes for like five minutes by trying really hard in the singing activity.  All 600 white educators sang together about our lifelong journey to be effective allies.  Even though I thought that part was silly at first, I ended up really liking it.


LH said...

I like a sing along. What were some of the songs you sang?
I wish you had taken a selfie with stranger guy. Then we could all look into his eyes with you and it wouldn't feel so weird.
The activity sounds pretty awkward, but I like that line about "the face of someone who will help to heal humanity."

KC said...

We sang one song for a long time. It went like this, "We are the ones, we are the ones, we are waiting. We are the ones we've been waiting for." And we got to sing three parts and dance and stuff.

The intention behind the gazing activity was excellent, but the carrying out was really awkward and I couldn't do it at ALL. We did do this really cool "stand and declare" thing where you had to stand up in your small group and state your intention for helping to dismantle racism in your community. The idea is that if you put the biggest muscles in your body behind the intentions of your heart, that's good. And then, everyone in your small group said your intention back to you before you sat down. It was a commitment!