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White allies must practice the skill of empathetic listening


The White Ally Toolkit

The white ally toolkit contains specific modules. The first is focused on preparing and encouraging white allies to stand in the fire of the conversation about race.

Other modules are focused on myths that reflect racial skepticism. These myths are the key issues around which the toolkit is constructed. The key tool is the Connector Method, which is a specific way of managing a conversation or conversation series with a skeptic.

For the Connector Method to work, the ally must practice the skill of empathetic listening.

Without being able to listen to white skeptics express perspectives that you may find racially problematic or even disturbing, the Connector Method will not work. This is why the first module about preparing for this work focused mostly on improving listening skills.

Why listening is fundamental:

When having an encounter with a racial skeptic that you are trying to reach, it is critical to remember, that your sadness, anger, or racial shame is not what is important. This is not about you!  For the most part, POCs need you to not burn the bridge with this person, but rather to stand in the fire and map out a strategy that has some chance of moving them out of racial denial.

If you can’t empathetically listen to someone, you are highly unlikely to be effective in inviting them to see gaps in their point of view.

The other key parts of the toolkit:

The rest of the tools are based on specific myths that reflect racial skepticism/denial/ignorance. All of these They can all work together to form a defense against people of color’s claims that:

  • Racism agains POCs matters, 
  • White people should take some responsibility to by address racism as an act of both fairness and patriotism.

When trying to engage a white skeptic, the ally’s job is the identify a few racial beliefs of the skeptic, and try to engage them about this issues in a way that invites them to more enlightened and more racially sensitive thinking.

Over time, this site will roll out modules that embody many of the most common myths that come up in conversation. These five we will focus on first.

  1. Explicit prejudice is so rare that it does not matter anymore.
  2. People know if they have racial bias; so unconscious bias does not exist.
  3. The economic problems of people of color are primarily of their own doing.
  4. There is very little reason for POCs to distrust law enforcement and the legal system.
  5. White privilege is a dramatically overblown concept.