Healing from Internalized Whiteness
Re-launching in Summer/Fall 2018
Are you overwhelmed with trying to respond to everyday racism as a white person -
even though you're committed to racial justice?
...then read on!
Stop Trying To Do It Alone...
You Can Be Held In an Anti-Racism Community
As You Address Everyday Racism Together
YES, it IS possible to release the pain, fear, and anger that keep you from standing up against racism and discover who you when free of internalized whiteness.
I'm going to share with you a healing justice model that
includes step-by-step processes and community support -
and has worked for me and thousands of other people like you.
Let me show you how!
With the election of Trump, many white people's understanding of the US got shaken to its core.
It's become more grounded in the reality of how this country operates on a foundation of white supremacy - as people of color have been experiencing and naming for centuries.
That's been painfully terrifying for many white folks who are against racism.
If that's you, this program is for you.
As Trump's threats and attacks on communities of color escalate, you feel the need to do something to stop them.
But you also feel frozen in place by the feelings of shock, confusion, denial, and guilt that many white people have been dealing with since the election.
Have you felt:
- Confused about how to make sure you don't accidentally say something that's racist - when you can't trust yourself to know what's racist
- Conflicted about speaking up against racism - but not wanting to speak over people of color
- Ashamed when you still subconsciously stereotype people of color - even though you don't want to
- Guilty about having white privilege - but not knowing if you're willing to give it up or how to even do that
- Overwhelmed with trying to figure out what you should do to fight racism - but without asking people of color for the answers while also trying to follow their lead
- Frustrated with yourself for being scared to talk to white people about racism - while scared of ruining your relationships with them
- Angry at your white family and friends who just don't get it - even though you're still learning too
Given all that, it can feel almost impossible to address racism, without emotionally flailing and from a grounded place.
It feels like the more you learn about white supremacy, the less you can trust yourself and the more you believe as a white person, you can't do anything right around race.
You're supposed to follow the leadership of people of color - but you're not supposed to ask people of color to teach you what to do.
Plus, there's no consensus of what needs to be done amongst people of color so you don't know who you're supposed to listen to and support.
Lost and confused about what to do, you do nothing - while understanding that white silence is white violence.
Aka your head spins, your heart hurts, and white supremacy wins.
It's Not You - It's Your Internalized Whiteness
If this is how you feel, you're not alone - and it's not your fault.
I know you’re struggling, but that’s actually symptomatic of something deeper.
The problem isn’t that you aren’t doing enough and so you just need to do more.
The problem is actually that you're trying to taken actions against white supremacy - while still operating from your internalized whiteness, instilled in you by white supremacy.
In other words, you've been set you up to fail at being anti-racist by white supremacy.
As a person of European descent with light skin, you've been unconsciously conditioned by white supremacy to believe you are white and only white.
But whiteness only exists in opposition to people of color and within a system of white supremacy - having been created and written into law starting in the late 1600's in American colonies.
That's why to be anti-racist is to be anti-white - and pro-people of European descent's humanity.
Because people of European descent are not inherently white - you've just been taught to act white.
The good news is that you can stop fighting white supremacy on their terms.
You can free yourself from internalized whiteness and re-ground yourself in your own humanity and history - through healing in a anti-racism, pro-liberation community.
By taking action for your own liberation, you can build the collective power of anti-racist people of European descent that can be used to support the dismantling of systemic racism and liberation of people of color.
But the first step is understand why it's so painful to acknowledge that you've internalized whiteness.
Why It's So Painful To Acknowledge
You've Internalized Whiteness
Like all forms of systemic oppression, white supremacy can only exist if those with privilege remain ignorant of and are deeply numbed out to the level of pervasive violence it causes.
Otherwise the pain of witnessing that violence would override the material benefits you get from white privilege. Individually and collectively, you would refuse to enforce racism on every level of society.
While those on top make the commands, everyday people are the ones who carry it out. If a critical mass of us refused, it would cease to operate.
That clearly is not what is happening - and that makes sense.
You inherited a system designed to keep you both deeply afraid of being called a racist - and deeply ignorant of what racism actually is.
This has left you clueless about how to not be racist - and terrified of finding out.
So acknowledging that you've internalized whiteness is terrifyingly painful. It means you have unknowingly been doing the very thing that you've been taught makes you a terrible person.
It was designed to be so painful so you would be too scared to ever admit you're white.
Yet having white people admit that you're white and know what that means in our racist society is the only way people of European descent can begin to not be driven unconsciously by their unconscious whiteness.
As you become more racially conscious, it will open you up to a lot of pain that you hadn't even realized was there before - and that's important part of the process.
But it is necessary to be in touch with the pain of racism in order to be moved by compassion to take action to dismantle it.
However without some way of gently holding those many layers of pain, it is too easy and understandable for you to want to revert back to being disconnected and numbed out.
But just because you reject your own pain doesn't mean it goes away.
Instead that pain grows in the background, unconsciously driving your reactions of fear and anger and in ways that are not aligned with your values.
This is the dynamic at play when well-intentioned white people react very defensively at hearing that racism exists and especially within them and refuse to engage in that conversation - and thereby perpetuate the very racism they are against.
But it doesn't need to be that way.
You can grieve the fact that you've internalized whiteness and compassionately hold space for the pain of having been turned white.
You will continue to be raced as white and have white privilege, because that's what our racist society does to people of European descent.
But you can stop being an unconscious pawn of white supremacy - and you can start fighting back from a grounded sense of your own humanity.
You Can Free Yourself from Internalized Whiteness -
By Healing in an Anti-Racism Community
As you know too well, trying to address internalized whiteness with any group of white people around you doesn't work out usually - even if you love them.
If everyone in the group doesn't acknowledge that they've internalized whiteness and that's a problem and have practices to support them, then it's too easy for even one person to destroy the delicate intention of healing for the rest of you.
Since you want to stand up to white supremacy, it's important to learn and practice in a protected space like an anti-racism community.
This will help you build up your anti-racism muscles and stay grounded in your individual and collective humanity.
That way, you're both better prepared and better supported to fight systemic racism.
And you'll know you're not alone in this struggle - and that you too are held.
Therefore, it's critical to your healing journey to be in a community of people with shared values of compassion and justice and structured to stay grounded in the humanity and agency of the individual and collective.
In this community, you can:
- Acknowledge that you've unconsciously internalized whiteness and discover what it has cost you
- Be powerfully vulnerable about the shame, blame, and anger you feel toward yourself - without having it be minimized, questioned, or encouraged
- Learn practices that will help you release those judgmental feelings toward yourself and grieve your loss
- Deeply examine your life and how you benefit from racism and what you want to do about it
- Get and give support in shifting how you show up with other white people and with people of color
- Be emotionally intimate with others and show compassion when it is most needed
This community can holds the space for you to get in touch with your pain in an affirming, humanizing way so you can heal.
Once you have cared for your pain in that moment, you're able to move from a place of wholeness - because you are holding all of yourself, including the feelings and needs you have been taught to reject by white supremacy.
From this place of wholeness, you're able to move with greater presence and respond to racist situations from your values of love and justice.
What Other Members Are Saying...
"This program provides white anti-racists with crucial missing tools for the most challenging aspect of our work - navigating our own emotional reactions when confronted with the realities of white supremacy.
These tools help us to work through our knee-jerk tendency to reject ourselves or other white people when we encounter how racism operates through us.
With these tools, we can take on one of our most crucial responsibilities - to engage in productive dialogue with those who knowingly or unknowingly defend white supremacy.
This program has helped me to become a more effective change agent by becoming more accepting of what is, within me and around me - so that I can be present to it, honor it, and transform it with courageous compassion."
- Lenore N.
"This program has helped me to have more productive and genuine interactions with people, especially those who don't share my exact beliefs.
Now I'm also able to better care for myself and more effectively navigate my own path towards an anti-racist existence. I still stand up for my values, but it is now from a place of greater wholeness, openness, and stability."
– Gabriela D.
Here's How I Can Help You
I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from healing from internalized oppression, and channeled it into a comprehensive, step-by-step healing processes at the individual, relationship, and community level.
You not only get the theory, but you also get the actual action steps of how you can do the same in your own life.
And all with the support of our community of practice - where we intentionally and compassionately practice being in loving community together - right here, right now.
HEALING FROM INTERNALIZED WHITENESS ISN’T SO MUCH
A TRAINING PROGRAM AS IT IS A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE.
Yes, you’ll learn the frameworks and step-by-step processes to create a loving and just community. But more importantly, you’ll be doing it within a community of practice with other like-minded program members.
The end result: You'll be held in a loving community designed to help you heal from and address the everyday racism in your life with love and justice.
What Other Members Are Saying...
"Before I thought the answer to addressing white supremacy was in "good" white people coercing "bad" white people into change. Through this program, I realized that perspective can be not only hurtful but also inaccurate and ineffective.
Things can get better when "good" white people become willing to connect to the pain of internalized white supremacy and are able to consciously choose to not act in racist ways.
Before I wasn't open to that part of myself. But now, I can actually accompany other white people in addressing their racism, because I'm learning how to address my own."
- Michael B.
“I want to extend an enormous amount of gratitude! From my journey in this program, I emerged with a newfound confidence to talk about racial justice within white communities from a place of non-attachment and dedicated service. It allowed for intellectual and emotional growth.
It was an exceptional experience to be held in witness of shame and guilt as a white person while still being held compassionately accountable by Sandra.
This has profoundly shifted my worldview and fueled my sense of gratitude. My journey in this program gifted me the opportunity to share and process in safe space. I will definitely be returning to the course material to deepen my understanding and personal study.”
– Maxi L.
Here's What You Will Learn
The Compassionate Justice approach shows how you can transform painful situations of everyday racism into opportunities for:
Understanding How You've Internalized Whiteness
Growing up in a society built on white supremacy and systemic racism, it's impossible for you to not have internalized whiteness. It was the primary way of being that you were taught - so you didn't even know it wasn't true to you.
To begin taking steps to free yourself from it, you'll learn:
- How to notice when your internalized whiteness is manifesting - even if you're unconscious to it
- How actions driven by internalized whiteness often dehumanize you and others - even if you're just trying to protect yourself
- How to loosen the grip of internalized whiteness on you - even if you feel overwhelmed
Healing Yourself Back Into Wholeness
Whiteness teaches that you to be deathly afraid of acknowledging your whiteness and ignorant of the racism that exists in this world. As someone who acknowledges your own whiteness, this may leave you feeling both angry at yourself for still harboring racist biases, painfully bewildered at how to not be racist, and scared to take action.
To release these feelings keeping you from taking action, you'll learn:
- How to release your anger and frustration with others and yourself - and put it into taking self-compassionate action instead
- How to acknowledge and grieve the underlying pain of having been turned white - even if it's hard for you
- How to stop being scared of discovering you had done something harmful - and welcome the opportunity to hold yourself accountable
Healing Your Broken Relationships
Whiteness can have such a strong hold on white folks, because it says you can either be white and with us - or you can not be white and we'll attack you for it. The pain of losing this sense of belonging and connection to the white folks you love hurts . And it can keep you from being influential in places where you have the most potential.
To restore your broken relationships and inspire them with your anti-racism journey, you'll learn:
- How to address everyday racism without silencing yourself or coddling the other person - even if they don't realize what they did was racist
- How to engage in an dialogue with the other person about racism - without it taking an emotional toll on you
- How to help people transform their ignorance and defensiveness into greater consciousness - so they will want to take action again racism too
- How to share your story of healing from internalized whiteness - without judging the other white person in the process
Healing Your Dominating Communities
White supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression are so difficult to dismantle because they've structured how we exist in community together. If we had queer women of color into leadership everywhere and didn't change how we operated, we would still struggle with similar issues of domination, exploitation, and dehumanization.
To replace these oppression-based structures with create a caring, self-governing community, you'll learn:
- How to informally build the critical mass necessary to open up a public community conversation on how it's perpetuating racism - even if you don't know who's on your side
- How to facilitate an inclusive decision-making process that includes people who disagree with you - while not letting them dominate the conversation
- How to structure the work of addressing racial inequities in a self-governing and leaderful way - so you don't replicate an oppressive hierarchy
What Other Members Are Saying...
"I joined this program because I wanted to act against racial injustice, but felt frustrated because that felt so theoretical to me.
This program has opened my eyes to the racism around me and in me, and has allowed me to let go of my sense of guilt, entitlement, and all that goes along with “internalized whiteness.”
I can now be closer to others, including people of color, because I am being my real self, and that has been such a gift."
– Aiyana S.
"One of the main things I learned was to hold myself and other white folks accountable. The concept of "inviting" discussion with white folks was new to me.
Having oppressed people constantly hold their oppressor accountable didn’t make much sense to me, especially since the oppressor is very unlikely to relate and listen. After all, oppressors are conditioned to oppress, even if they're working on understanding their position as a privileged person.
The program taught me to use my relative privilege when talking to other white folks because they are more likely to listen to me.
Plus, I've learned and gotten practical tools in self care, self reflection and effective communication while doing this work!"
This Is For You If You're Willing To...
- Free yourself from internalized whiteness and stop letting white supremacy use you
- Be grounded in your own humanity and connect with others from that heart-centered place
- Build a loving, just community thats structured to be anti-racism and pro-liberation
You don't need to know how to do it.
You just need to be willing to do it.