Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Anti-racism Part 2 - getting personal

From NGLTF "Creating Change", Denver
Wednesday - Part 2

Please read this disclaimer. What you will read here is me baring my soul and my personal struggles. If you are willing to go on this journey with me you will certainly find me immature, politically unaware, less than patient. I hope you will also find a person who wants to do the right thing. If you want to go on this journey with me, read on. I want to understand myself better.

This was a rough experience for me. I'll say that right up front. As I read through the requirements for the course, i must say that it is my fault. "For people who had two previous anti-racism trainings," it said. I assumed that that meant in any venue. I have had it through many organizations inlcluding school and church, but unless you have had anti-racism delivered by a 70+ year old radical feminist, socialist and southerner, who was a sweet, sweet person, but brutal, I guess you haven't had it. In some interesting way I think this was all payback for my formerly mentioned knee-jerk reaction that blamed an entire community for defeating Prop 8. (I know I didn't mean it that way, but it was received that way. Mea culpa)

I did get much that is useful to apply to my own situation in LGBT advocacy and in my role on boards and committees. That follows. But the experience of having white guilt shoveled on me took its toll. I stayed from 9-12:30 and from 2-3:30... but I could not make it to six. There were so many questions that I wanted to ask, but I was afraid to open my mouth. I could feel the leader drilling her way though a room of 20-30 something activists saying "here's this years big, old, dumb white guy that's gonna hate this."

Again, my fault. But most of her ideas were presented in such a way that it was off-putting. I headed to my blog knowing than someone will read it and say "White Supremacist." I also know that someone will read it and say, "Here's a guy that lives 'white privilege" but at least knows it.

I need a nap. Jet-lag. Altitude. Recent stressful events....

My next post will be about the good stuff.


  1. Uh oh Neil -- you must have run into Suzanne Pharr...

  2. I am really not sure. The regulars seem to know her. But names are too often assumed or announced so quickly that I cannot catch them.

    I don't want to make any personal attacks... I just want to share where I am. And where I was then was very uncomfortable.