by Carmen Van Kerckhove
Do you read Anti-Racist Parent religiously, but want to take your understanding of race and racism to the next level?
Then join New Demographic’s Anti-Racism Action Group! There are just 12 spots so if you’re interested, click here to register as soon as possible. Below is more information.
Anti-Racism Action Group
What is it?
The Anti-Racism Action Group is a 9-week-long course that takes an in-depth look at race, racism, privilege, and stereotypes. You can participate no matter where you are located geographically. In order to provide you with personal attention, we limit each group to just 12 participants. The next one starts on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008. That group will meet by phone every Wednesday evening at 5:30 Pacific / 8:30 pm Eastern. The last call will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd.
What’s unique about the course?
You will engage in an in-depth study of race and racism. Taking a single workshop — even if it’s a day-long workshop — only allows you to scratch the surface. The Anti-Racism Action Group, on the other hand, gives you time to thoroughly explore and process new ideas.
You will actively engage with the material and think about how it applies in your life. It’s easy to space out while listening to an audio seminar or a diversity speaker. The Anti-Racism Action Group’s action-oriented format, on the other hand, ensures that you don’t fall into the trap of passive learning.
You will get to know your fellow group members, learn from each other and develop personal bonds. In a typical diversity training setting, the speaker drones on and on to an anonymous mass of people. The Anti-Racism Action Group’s discussions, on the other hand, are driven by your stories, experiences, and analyses.
How does it work?
1. Phone sessions
At the heart of the program are 9 weekly 90-minute group discussions that New Demographic’s co-founder and president Carmen Van Kerckhove facilitates by phone. She’ll use a telephone bridge line that you can access from anywhere in the world. During 5 of the 9 phone sessions, you will discuss the reading and writing assignments. The other phone sessions will be more free-form. You can ask the group for advice with real-life situations, discuss current events, just chat and get to know one another, etc. You will receive audio recordings of each phone session so that you can review what was covered.
2. Reading and writing assignments
Every other week, you will receive a reading and writing assignment on a specific topic. You will read the material assigned (up to 50 pages) and write a few paragraphs in response to questions that Carmen poses to you. You will share this writing assignment with the other members of your group and discuss them on that week’s call. The writing assignments are designed to make you engage with the material and reflect on how it relates to your personal experiences. So don’t worry about being judged on your writing ability!
3. Small group
The Anti-Racism Action Group is deliberately limited to just 12 participants. Not only will this ensure that you receive the personal attention and support you need, but you will also be able to build relationships with the other members of the group. You will all learn from each other in this small, intimate setting.
Yi-Lun in San Francisco, CA was part of our last Anti-Racism Action Group, and here’s what he had to say:
“When Carmen Van Kerckhove posted on Racialicious that she was starting the Anti-Racism Action Group, my first thought was: I hope she doesn’t run out of slots! The wit and insight I’ve grown to love on her blog and podcast are in full bloom on the calls, as Carmen leads you in discussion live from New York City.
Conversations are intelligent and passionate, and you grow to appreciate the many textures of racial experiences, which, like fine wines, are an acquired taste that too often leave you dizzy and remorseful, yet you still come back for more. As you can imagine, I was all too sad putting down the receiver at the end of the last call, yet I leave that experience a bit more optimistic that we are growing up to a place where race is no longer taboo, it’s something we wear on our t-shirts.”
What topics will the course cover?
Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: Why Race Doesn’t Exist Biologically
Week 3: Open Discussion
Week 4: The Fundamentals of Racism
Week 5: Open Discussion
Week 6: Understanding White Privilege and White Supremacy
Week 7: Open Discussion
Week 8: Learning to Recognize Institutional Racism
Week 9: Review and Conclusion
How do I know if it’s suitable for me?
You will be a good fit for the Anti-Racism Action Group if you identify with any or all of these statements:
- You read New Demographic’s blogs religiously, but want to take your understanding of race and racism to the next level.
- You’ve always wanted to learn more about race and racism, but with your hectic schedule, you need structure and deadlines to make it happen.
- You are a parent who wants to raise your child with an anti-racist outlook, but you feel that you need to brush up on your own knowledge of race and racism first.
- You have diversity-related responsibilities at your job, but don’t feel as confident as you could when it comes to issues surrounding race and racism.
- You sometimes find yourself at a loss for words when you’re having a conversation about race, and wish that you could develop more finely-tuned arguments and be more at ease with the subject matter.
- You work with a diverse clientele or manage a diverse staff, and want to be more aware of your unconscious biases and challenge those racist beliefs.
- You’ve undergone diversity training in the past, but felt that it didn’t adequately address the real issues behind race and racism.
- You are passionate about social justice issues and want to learn how you can challenge racism in your community and your everyday life.
You will NOT be a good fit for the Anti-Racism Action Group if you identify with any of these statements:
- You would rather engage in uncritical celebrations of diversity and multiculturalism than talk about race and racism.
- You are convinced that you are colorblind and often say things like “I don’t even notice race! They can be black, yellow, green or purple, it makes no difference to me!”
- You don’t want to examine your own conscious or unconscious beliefs, and are convinced that everyone else is the problem, not you.
- You are more interested in being controversial or winning arguments, than in learning and personal growth.
- You think that exploring the topic of white privilege is “reverse racism” and “white-bashing.”
- You believe that all race-related issues can be blamed on “The Man” and think that it’s “airing dirty laundry” to discuss problems that exist within communities of color.
- You enjoy playing oppression olympics by insisting that your ethnic or racial group has it the worst, and you are not interested in learning about the struggles of other communities.
Natalie A. Gross of Bronxville, NY was part of our last Anti-Racism Action Group, and here’s what she had to say:
“I decided to join the Anti-Racism Action Group because I thought it was a unique and exciting opportunity. It is a different type of diversity training and I thought it would be a good professional development opportunity. I have been planning on starting a discussion group on race and racism on my campus and thought that participating in the ARAG would give me better insight into how to structure the group.
The length of time the workshop was to cover and the materials we were to cover made the Anti-Racism Action Group even more appealing. It’s not often that you get the chance to actively and constructively talk about racism in a mixed race and professionally diverse group of people where everyone is open to learning, participating, and growing from the experience. From the moment I got the first email about it, I wanted to be a part of it.
The Anti-Racism Action Group helped me to start working on having definite and strong answers to the many questions that arise when discussing race and racism. The ARAG provided great resources to help me better formulate my answers. I liked the readings, I feel like a common language was starting to form in the group, which seems to help in breaking down a barrier of discomfort in talking about racism. The readings helped us have specific ideas to talk about and helped keep the conversations focused and flowing.
The phone conferences were very productive and I appreciated hearing the different perspectives of the group members on each of the topics. I am excited about starting a discussion group on my campus in the spring and I hope that we will be as successful as this ARAG group was in our meetings and discussions. Hopefully, there will be a Part II of the ARAG where we can continue reading and discussing issues around racism and/or where the group can meet in person and build a stronger community/ally base.
This is one of the best trainings I have been a part of and would love to see this as the new style of diversity training for the workplace. The ARAG is a good example of how building a community and having regular conversations around racism where all are expected to participate can actually make a difference and affect change in our environments.
Thank you Carmen for providing us all with this opportunity.”
What does the enrollment fee include?
When you enroll in the Anti-Racism Action Group, you get much more than just access to the phone calls. You’ll also receive:
Mini-Library of Books
Included in the enrollment fee are all the books you’ll need for the reading assignments:
- The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America – Joseph Graves
- “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity – Beverly Daniel Tatum
- The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism And White Privilege – Robert Jensen
- Amazing Grace: Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation – Jonathan Kozol
- The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates – Daniel Golden
Archive of Our Phone Sessions
Also included in the enrollment fee are audio recordings (MP3 files) of all 9 of the 90-minute phone sessions. These will be yours to keep so that you can review what we covered at any time.
New Demographic Audio Seminars and E-Books
And finally, you will receive as a gift from me, free access to audio recordings and e-books of all New Demographic’s seminars.
In other words, you’ll receive $415.00 worth of free stuff!
Nicky McCatty in Brookline, MA was part of our last Anti-Racism Action Group, and here’s what he had to say:
“My professional work is in graphic design and communications. While many of my clients are people of color, I often work in an all-white environment. I had heard Carmen speaking about the media and communications industries during her podcasts, on subjects relating to diversity, stereotyping, and activism, so I signed up for the ARAG course almost as soon as I heard about it.
My job is to help companies and non-profit organizations to tell their stories, or to sell their products and services, connecting ideas in unexpected ways across professions and personal experiences. The social justice work I do involves Jewish diversity, and connections between different communities in the Boston area. This group gave me the rare opportunity to have candid conversations about identity and ethnicity in the workplace. My experience is that most Euro-Americans really are not prepared to discussed these topics. Sometimes it’s because they don’t have much knowledge of history; otherwise, they really aren’t prepared to encounter outlooks that diverge substantially from their own. On past occassions when I have attended diversity training, I found that the discussion leader was too worried about getting people upset to enable fruitful, candid conversations. Here, we knew that everyone wanted to participate.
This series exposed me to some new readings that were very informative. One aspect of the conversations that was especially rewarding was getting to hear from people in various age groups, from very different ethnic and national backgrounds. Our conversations enabled me to talk about the readings with people who also find the topics engaging and important, while the ideas were new.”
When does it start?
The next Anti-Racism Action Group starts on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008. That group will meet by phone every Wednesday evening at 5:30 Pacific / 8:30 pm Eastern. The last call will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd.
What if I can’t make Wednesdays at 8:30 pm EST?
If Wednesdays at 5:30 Pacific / 8:30 pm Eastern don’t work with your schedule, click here to sign up for March’s Anti-Racism Action Group, which starts on Sunday, March 16th, 2008. That group will meet by phone every Sunday afternoon at 2 pm Pacific / 5 pm Eastern.
How much is the enrollment fee?
For the 9-week-long course, the enrollment fee is $297. Enrollment will take place on a first come, first served basis. So if you are serious about joining the group, it’s recommended that you submit your enrollment fee as quickly as possible to guarantee your spot in the group. Enrollment will close on Friday, February 22nd.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We process the enrollment fee via Paypal. If you’d prefer to use a credit card, just click the “Continue” link as shown in the screenshot below when you get to the Paypal screen.
What if I can’t afford the enrollment fee?
Two of the twelve spots in the group will be reserved for people with economic need. If this applies to you, click here to fill out the application form. If you’re selected, you will receive a steep discount on the enrollment fee, but will be expected to provide your own books for the reading assignments. All are freely available in public libraries and used bookstores.
Please remember, however, that these spots are for people with genuine economic need (students, low income, etc.). Please don’t apply for these spots just because you blew your savings on holiday shopping!
Can I use Skype to dial into the calls?
You can try to use SkypeOut to call our dial-in number. However, personally I have had limited success with that. For some reason Skype is a bit uncooperative with conference bridge lines — so I recommend using a cell phone or land line.
I’m located outside the United States. Can I still participate?
Yes, absolutely! As long as the time difference won’t make it a problem for you to dial into our weekly phone sessions, you are welcome to join us. Please note that we may have to apply a surcharge to cover the extra cost of shipping the books internationally.