WITNESSING WHITENESS - Third Edition - A Must Read for White People Who Care
Witnessing Whiteness – Third Edition – A MUST
Read – for White People – Who Care!
Shelly Tochluk’s Third Edition of: Witnessing Whiteness:
The Journey Into Racial Awareness And AntiRacist Action is an incredible,
incredible book. White people who care
about ending racism should purchase a copy of this book, read it, and save it for
its reference value.
Note: I must admit my
bias here! On August 14, 2022 – Shelly facilitated
a great workshop that I co-produced – video link: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/2U7suoejgxQZTkcICRyWbY1vjvoCRAMOh7lkJ1OcvjNft4yltO9iH5IvS33IAIx5bN4tx2Tt8bg5Dlg.UKuueFPeO_TXsA1Q?continueMode=true&_x_zm_rtaid=-JIsprobTouFRgyq9hfAFA.1660780012971.003f3754f5623b394bf8c96bf310a331&_x_zm_rhtaid=866
I’ve been a part of multiple trainings with her and members
of AWARE-LA – her “home” group. While it
would be a stretch to say that we are friends, I greatly admire both her work,
and her wonderful caring heart.
This book is a primer for the white anti-racism activist or
anyone else who wishes to become more aware moving into (more) anti-racism work with other white people.
I know of no competition!
The book complements the writings of others, particularly great Black
writers, many of whom are referenced in its pages.
I previously positively reviewed the Second Edition of this
book – see: http://www.workingtowardsendingracism.org/2022/06/witnessing-whiteness-must-reading-for.html
. ‘ The Third Edition is much more “current”
and better for 2022 and beyond!
I’ll share a few quotes from the book, though quotes alone,
can’t possibly do more than be a faint teaser for the book.
The goal of this book, therefore, is to help white people
gain enough knowledge, skills, and self-reflective insight to want to (1) stay
on the racial justice freeway, (2) continue the journey to find the lane that
is right for them, and (3) participate safely and effectively to keep
collective forward momentum flowing as smoothly as possible. (p.5)
We are on a path toward antiracism, and yet this is early
in the journey. At this point, white
people typically do not have a sufficient foundation in antiracism to enjoy a
productive, generative, positive sense of self.
This means that we continue unlearning past socialization while wrestling
with new personal dilemmas. At this phase,
we tend to make a number of common missteps both within multiracial situations
and when trying to influence other white people. (p.90)
For example, while I received a message of inherent
self-worth from the adults in my life, many kids of color receive messages from
authority figures that demean and demoralize. (p.156)
Benefits also came from the fact that my entire racial,
socioeconomic, and cultural background was similar to many of the decision
makers in my life, such that I could easily inspire ease and a sense of camaraderie
in an interview. I inspired no subtle
Even when I wanted desperately to dismiss opinions that did
not resonate with me, it was impossible to ignore that people were experiencing
me as a “typical” white person. The
information they provided is priceless.
If we can sit with new information about ourselves and soak it up even
when we feel personally offended, we can learn so much more. (p.264)
“Building an Antiracist White Culture”, the final chapter,
is a fitting conclusion to this wonderful book! It speaks of our need to do both our
personal and political work moving ahead.
I highly recommend that white people read this book. We white men, who can most easily ignore the
work (as we largely do), need to recognize both our privilege, and how we are
hurt by not being whole.
Obviously – this type of learning is beneficial to all of us!