Experts say it best. Below are some of the world’s most prolific academics, teachers, activists and trainers who have dedicated their lives and their work to the better understanding of Race and Racial Literacy.
While some of the work is difficult to process, the intention is not to evoke a sense of guilt or shame. First of all, it is helpful to note that a discussion about racism is not intended to make you, as an individual feel guilty. Racial oppression is not your fault. Racial literacy teaches us about the system that all white people are a part of simply due to the way our racial history has constructed society. The end of worldwide racial oppression did not dismantle the systems. That is the task of our generation.
“The positive sense of whiteness is knowing that you’re working towards something bigger,” she says. “By examining your whiteness and by working to dismantle [racist] institutions, you’re working towards equity.”
– Melissa Katz
Dr. Robin DiAngelo received her PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2004. She has taught courses in Multicultural Teaching, Inter-group Dialogue Facilitation, Cultural Diversity & Social Justice, and Anti-Racist Education. Her area of research is in Whiteness Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis, explicating how Whiteness is reproduced in everyday narratives. She is a two-time winner of the Student’s Choice Award for Educator of the Year and is currently serving as Lecturer at the University of Washington. Her work on White Fragility has been featured in Salon, NPR, Slate, Alternet and The Seattle Times. Dr. DiAngelo been a consultant and trainer for over 20 years on issues of racial and social justice. She was appointed to co-design, develop and deliver the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative Anti-Racism training.
Click here to view her page and video material.
Jane Elliot is an American former third-grade schoolteacher, anti-racism activist, and educator, as well as a feminist and LGBT activist. She is known for her “Blue eyes–Brown eyes” exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. When her local newspaper published compositions that the children wrote about the experience, the reactions (both positive and negative) formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination. Elliott’s classroom exercise was filmed the third time she held it with her 1970 third-graders to become Eye of the Storm. This, in turn, inspired a retrospective that reunited the 1970 class members with their teacher fifteen years later in A Class Divided. After leaving her school, Elliott became a diversity educator full-time. She still holds the exercise and gives lectures about its effects all over the U.S. and in several locations overseas.
Click here to view her page and video material, including her world-renowned Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment.
Tim Wise is the author of seven books, including his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, as well as Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority, and his latest, Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America. He has been featured in several documentaries, including “White Like Me: Race, Racism and White Privilege in America” (from the Media Education Foundation), which has been called “A phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism,” and “One of the best films made on the unfinished quest for racial justice,” by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, and Robert Jensen of the University of Texas, respectively. He also appeared alongside legendary scholar and activist, Angela Davis, in the 2011 documentary, “Vocabulary of Change.” In this public dialogue between the two activists, Davis and Wise discussed the connections between issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and militarism, as well as inter-generational movement building and the prospects for social change. He is also one of five persons—including president Obama—interviewed for a video exhibition on race relations in America, featured at the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. Additionally, his media presence includes dozens of appearances on CNN, MSNBC and NPR, feature interviews on ABC’s 20/20 and CBS’s 48 Hours, as well as videos posted on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms that have received over 20 million views.
Click here to view his page and video material.