I have just seen Miki Kashtan’s blog where she celebrates and mourns aspects of her previous month. One was co-presenting the White Privilege Conference with Victor Lewis. She celebrates being surrounded by a diverse group of people who accept that white privilege is real and talking about it is urgent as she mourns the difficulties ahead. I immediately added my name to their contact form and then had a look at the website and saw this explanation for what the White Privilege Conference is,
- WPC is a conference that examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world.
- It is not a conference designed to attack, degrade or beat up on white folks.
- It is not a conference designed to rally white supremacist groups.
- WPC is a conference designed to examine issues of privilege beyond skin color.
- WPC is open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including: race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, etc. — the ways we all experience some form of privilege, and how we’re all affected by that privilege.
- WPC attracts students, professionals, activists, parents, and community leaders/members from diverse perspectives. WPC welcomes folks with varying levels of experience addressing issues of diversity, cultural competency, and multiculturalism.
- WPC is committed to a philosophy of “understanding, respecting and connecting.”
As I read number two made me laugh out loud, imagining the ridiculous, defensive people who would imagine that people on the wrong end of a power dynamic would band together in small numbers to be mean to them. Then number three chilled me, some people may read the headline and think that the White Privilege Conference is to more firmly entrench it – what a terrifying, scary world. What kind of people would want to keep and build on inequitable power? Then I realised how quickly these judgements had been made.
I am grateful for this Huffington Post article which unlike my initial reaction does not jump to judgements, categories of rights and wrong but to humbly beginning to communicate about this.
We judge quickly when the subject matter is important to us, and this is vitally important to me. But our judging and scolding, begging and pleading simply entrench hardline positions and further divisions.
Hope to see you sometime at the conference.