White awareness means understanding the unearned privileges that come from being white. There is no blame to cast. Instead, it’s an important conversation to start, especially as people become more aware of historical injustices and the value of equity, diversity, and inclusion in pluralistic societies.
The topics of White Awareness and White Privilege require skillfulness to broach because it is easy to tap feelings of defensiveness, guilt, fear, confusion, or anger. Moreover, the topics take on extra emotional charge in workplaces, schools, and other organizations. As a teacher and author committed to social justice, I offer a curated list of resources to help facilitators working in this area to raise and extend awareness of white privilege in ways that are compassionate and ethical. Therefore, feel free to share, cite, and use these resources.
Bjorn, G. (2020, February 4). Resources for White Awareness. Retrieved from https://www.genevivebjorn.com/2018/08/02/white-privilege-awareness-resources/.
Notice that something is missing? If you have a resource to suggest, please contact me.
Introductory Resources for White Awareness
- 15-minute introductory video of Camara Jones’ TED talk on race and racism.
- Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy Macintosh is an introductory checklist to raise awareness for beginners
- White Awake by pastor Daniel Hill (2017). He gently helps white people realize they have a culture and what it means. He comes from a Christian point of view. He also explains his approach in a series of short videos.
- Seeing White podcast produced and hosted by John Biewen goes deep into questions about what it means to be white in America.
- Race: The Power of an Illusion (2018) is a 3-part film produced by the California Newsreel that focuses on the notion of why race was not a biologically meaningful concept until the founding of the U.S.
Courses for White Awareness
- Witnessing Whiteness by Shelly Tochluk is an 11-part workshop that pairs with a book and blog.
- Roots Deeper Than Whiteness is on online course purposed to increase emotional resilience and socio-political clarity. Teachers, Eleanor Hancock, and David Dean designed the course for people seeking self-awareness at a beginning to intermediate level.
- An article introducing the Healing White Toxicity online course: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/toxic-whiteness-healing-white-people-internalised-racism-woman-sandra-kim-new-york-a7595216.html
- WhiteAwake.org is an online platform and network of trainers focused on educating people socialized as “white”. They offer workshops, consultations, and resources for self-study.
- Undoing Whiteness is a Seattle-based course aimed at helping white people understand the ways that white privilege can be harmful to body, spirit, and mind.
- Waking Up to Whiteness: Dharma and Racism Study Curriculum. Course materials for collective self-study coming from a non-denominational Buddhist perspective. (Shortlink at: http://bit.ly/29WiTSx ).
More Reading Resources for White Awareness
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (2006). Mann uses science, archaeology, and history to deeply inform our understanding of the Americas before Columbus.
- 1493: Uncovering the New World Created by Columbus by Charles C. Mann (2012) shows how post-Columbian European settlements in the Americas altered the world and ushered in the modern era of globalization.
- Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013), who is a botanist and citizen of the Potawatomi Nation. She shows how other living beings―asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass―offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten, or never learned, how to hear their voices.
- Stolen Continents: Five Hundred Years of Conquest and Resistance in the Americas by Ronald White (2005). A history of how aboriginal people in the Americas discovered Europeans. White’s meticulous work focuses on the voices, primary texts, and original records of the five nations of first people: the Aztecs, Mayas, Incas, Cherokee, and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois to the French). White traces the experiences and perspectives of these five groups from pre-contact to modern time. The history calls into serious question the U.S. and Canadian national founding myths and helps us reconsider these myths through the lens of European “settler republics,” which enacted policies of lying, cheating, stealing, reversing treaties, and murdering to grab more Indian land.
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson (2018). The authors address how the emotions of anger, fear, and guilt lead to argumentation and silence, which maintain racial inequality. This is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand how racism perpetuates, despite good people and good intentions.
- White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (2017). Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. She exposes how Reconstruction pitted poor whites against newly freed slaves, and how we continue to live with this legacy today.
U.S.-Specific Resources for White Awareness
- What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy by Robin di Angelo (2012). She publishes a website with more resources at Robindiangelo.com.
- Waking Up White: Finding Myself in The Story of Race by Debby Irving (2014). In her TED talk, she explains the intersection of individual and institutional racism. She publishes a website with many resources at DebbyIrving.com, including a 21-day racial equity habit building challenge
- Lori Lakin Hutcherson publisher of Good Black News offers insight into first-time questions about what it means to have white privilege on her blog Onbeing.org.
- White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise (2011). He also publishes resources at http://www.timwise.org/books-and-dvds/white-like-me/
Education-Specific Resources for White Awareness
- Everyday Antiracism by Mica Pollock (2008). This book includes essays from 70 scholars aimed at raising awareness of white privilege.
- Schooltalk by Mica Pollock (2017) shows us how our words matter in how we replicate and reproduce white privilege, knowingly or not. Likewise, language is a powerful tool for raising awareness of inequality and changing how we respond.
- “I don’t want to hear that: Legitimizing whiteness through silence in schools” by Angelina Castagno (2008). This article stems from original research and explains the dynamics of White privilege and silencing race talk.