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 fear. (p.244)
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!