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Principles for White Affinity Study Groups


“About Study Group” from WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh 

The Catalyst Project 

  • We focus on working with other white people and in majority white organizations. This is a response to generations of encouragement from activists of color for white people to take on this responsibility with each other, and to take collection action against racism in coordination with leadership from working-class, grassroots-led communities of color.
  • Intentionally white? Isn’t that racist? These study groups are intentionally white for several reasons. We are part of a historical white anti-racist movement responding to the voices of civil rights activists who called on white people to go work with other white people to end racism. 
  • We believe that white supremacy will not fall without white people actively collaborating and fighting against it. 
  • It is often said that white people listen to white people with different ears, meaning that white people dismiss criticism or information about racism when it comes from people of color. 
  • It has also been said that the responsibility of teaching white people about racism should not fall on the backs of people of color (POC).
  • People of color have a lot more to lose by engaging in conversations about racism with inexperienced white people, who need a relatively safe (though not uncomplicated or pain-free) space to be vulnerable, to risk, in order to process internalized supremacy without simultaneously hurting POC. 
  • Racism silences white people; we are often afraid to talk around POC for fear of offending them and being perceived as racist.  
  • These study groups and workshops create a space for white people to unravel their feelings and ways of understanding without hurting people of color. 
  • It’s also important to note that people of color create a majority of the material we study. We are availing ourselves of many books, videos, articles, that have already been created from the hearts and minds of POC; we therefore learn more directly (from) people of color perspectives, even though only white people are physically present in the room.

Via WHAT’S UP?! Pittsburgh