Antiracism trainers get to talk to lots of groups of people. Sometimes you get to talk to groups of people who really want to grow and learn. This is the ideal. These conversations tend to be very motivating for leaders and easier for participants because of the level of interest and buy-in right from the start. Other times antiracism educators get to talk to people after a damaging or traumatic racial incident within the organization, or perhaps something in the news. These can be more “high-stakes” conversations. They also can be a little trickier because people come to these sessions with more emotion walking into the room – including the leaders sometimes! And at other times, antiracism trainers are called to talk to groups where some or most of the people in the room are resistant to the training. These are hard sessions to do. Sometimes the resistance can come from one or more very vocal individuals who dominate the space, making it difficult for both the trainer and the other participants who may be motivated to learn, but afraid to speak, to engage with the material. And there are varying levels of complexity based on whether vocally resistant individuals are part of the majority racial or ethnic group, or whether they are a member of a minority racial or ethnic group. This stuff goes deep.
And what happens when the antiracism trainer conducts a training in a damaging way, or makes mistakes, which then leave the groups they teach less-motivated to engage in the work of antiracism? What about that?
So for the next hour, three members of our team have a really honest conversation about what it is like to be an antiracism educator, and some of the hard dynamics in doing this work.