Mar 31 2012


WPC and Intent v Impact

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A couple of months ago, I decided to apply for funding to attend the White Privilege Conference, a conference that deals with the issues of privilege and oppression to change the oppressive structures in place in US society today.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I submitted the application, but the conference is eye-opening and inspiring, and I am so glad that I chose to apply and attend.  I am attending with five other amazing students (both graduate and undergraduate) from OSU

At the WPC Conference, I attended a workshop about the differences between “impact” and “intent” and what it means to transform institutions through transformative leadership.  The presenters in this workshop emphasized the important distinction between the intent of an action and the actual impact of that action.   While the state legislature may implement a policy that is well-intentioned, it is critical we examine the impact of that policy on communities of people.  Though it is easier for us to focus on the intent of people and policies, that focus distracts us from examining the impacts they create.  We do not have to dismiss intention as unimportant, but we must not give it precedence over impact.

The presenters then offered the definition of leadership as “taking responsibility for what matters to you.” With that definition, we discussed what matters most to us.  After thinking for a bit, I said I believe every person has a right to a quality education in a environment that affirms and inspires them.  It is a failing of the educational system every time a person leaves an educational institution because they feel they do not belong.

This workshop reminded me of why I choose to work in certain areas of the university and it inspired me to continue in my life-long pursuit of working toward educational equity.

-Amelia Harris

Third Year Student

History and Philosophy

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Mar 30 2012


First Conference Day

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Wow, what a day! There were many ups and downs, twists and turns. I have no clue where to begin but anywhere is better than nowhere. The opening ceremonies were amazing! We had a Navajo and Pueblo blessing and then a bird song followed by a local supporter who introduced our first keynote speaker, Dr. Heidi Beirich from the Southern Poverty Law Center, who was amazing! She highlighted the many hate groups throughout the US and the increase in hate related violence. Although the statistics are staggering, to say the least, there is hope as many of the people with the privilege to attend this conference are continuously working toward a more pluralistic, whole community.I also attended workshop discussing “abortion as genocide” and another about decolonized spaces.

I need more time to process all of this as I have done a significant amount of work regarding force/coerced sterilization in communities of color. I see parallels between the sterilization and abortion issues and how white people manipulate, even if there are good intentions behind the actions, things in ways that will benefit their position or gain support for their position. How do we see the world and how is that world view part of the either the dominant “normalized” view and where do our views deconstruct the norm? What does it mean to be in an environment that has so many people at different places in their journey and affirm all those many aspects and positions? How do I personally perpetuate the same institutional inequalities?

I think the most interesting, confusing and stunning experience was the white anti-racist caucus. This was the first time I have ever been in a white caucus before and it was interesting. I had no idea how to deal with all the various emotions and perspectives that were being brought up. There were so many things that I identified with, how I make mistakes all the time, how I have the ability to pick and choose my battles which is a privilege that others do not have, how I get so angry with myself, with other white people, how sometimes I wish I could just forget everything that I have and just live, how there is no way I could live with myself if I didn’t continue to explore issues of power and privilege, how I practice my white privilege all the time and most of the time don’t even realize I’m doing it. I demonize white people who overtly and unknowingly perpetuate racism and then at other times  have compassion for those who don’t see it because there was a time when I didn’t see it. There have been so many times when I have felt so alone in looking at my privilege, felt like I couldn’t relate to other white folks. I wanted to be one of the “good whites” who had friends of color. Then realizing that no matter what I do, I am just another white person who perpetuates racism, classism, ablism, etc., the only difference is I am choosing to look at that privilege. Understand it, learn from it and utilize it as a tool to provide room for others to have the floor. I am not good at it, I am always making mistakes, hurting others, lashing out because I am scared. Scared of being alone, of loosing face, of making that one big mistake that causes me to loose the people who mean the most to me. Scared because I don’t really fit in anywhere, not with my family, not with other white folks and many times, not with people of color. At the end of the day, I will always be that white person who means well, works hard to be honest but may at any moment turn, perpetuate the racism a little too strongly. Even knowing that that those mistakes will happen and that there is no perfect white person, no one who can live a life as an ally or as Dr. Eddie Moore, JR says, the “white superstar”, because we have all grown up in a society that places people into categories and then places values on those categories. We have internalized this, every single one of us.

Angi

 

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Mar 29 2012


First night in Albuquerque…

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We arrived earlier this afternoon and settled into our hotel rooms. The hotel is nice and the food is great. After settling in, some of us went to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to learn a bit about the indigenous peoples of the area. After that we had an Indigenous/Mexican fusion dinner in Old Town. We met a few locals and had some pretty amazing conversations about the local history of the oldest Church in New Mexico and a restaurant that was in a building which was built in 1709. Right now we are looking over the workshops trying to figure out which programs we are going to attend tomorrow.

We are trying to spread out and cover as many workshops as possible. The workshops range from “I Don’t See Race” to “Unlearned Internalized Oppression”. These workshops look absolutely amazing, it is difficult to choose what we will be going to! To have a better idea of the quanity of workshops, check them out at the link below:

http://www.whiteprivilegeconference.com/pdf/WPC13_TENTATIVE_WORKSHOPS_3.pdf

I feel so honored to have the privilege to attend this conference. I have been trying to attend for the last 4 years and I have finally made it! I am going to make the most out of it! With that said, I need to focus on which workshops I will be attending tomorrow. Look for updates throughout the next few days…

Angi

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Mar 25 2012


New Blog

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As we get ready to head to the White Privilege Conference (WPC), we want to ensure we are being transparent. To that end, we have developed this blog which includes why we want to go to this conference, our process for developing the planning committee, raising funds and what we will bring back to the OSU community at large. While we attend the conference, the OSU WPC attendees will be blogging about our experience. We want to invite everyone to join us on this journey as we grow and contribute to the current dialogue surrounding white privilege specifically and power, privilege and discrimination based on social locations of ability, age, citizen documentation, class, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, immigration status, marital/parental/family status, military status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious/spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status in general.

We look forward to reading your comments, engaging in the conversation and/or getting involved with our future endeavors. Have a wonderful day…

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Mar 22 2012


Hello world!

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Welcome to blogs.oregonstate.edu. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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