Learning as Leadership had organized a race and gender dialogue conference, and seven of the participants were gathered in a conference room: three African-Americans, three Caucasians and one bi-racial woman who was struggling mightily with ‘in-between’ feelings. The first activity was to fill in a ‘racial identity grid.’
I had felt resistance to the task, anticipating the boring answers I would put down. As a white man, I was participating in these discussions on race in order to learn more about how people of color experience racism, be an empathic listener, and (gulp) be attuned to when my own racism might surface.
I was here to support the other participants and be helpful in exploring how racial stereotypes affected them.