Session 5

Download Handout for Participants | Download Facilitator Guide (Word .doc format)

Allies in Resisting Racism and White Supremacy

Section 5 Objective

  • To identify how white people can move to being more effective allies
  • To identify characteristics of effective white allies
  • To analyze systems and institutions and begin action planning

Opening Reflection:

“How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one’s culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.” Barry Lopez ~ Arctic Dreams

The Ladder of Empowerment for White People

Responding to “the life long journey” by Tema Okun.

Ladder of Empowerment

Significant Questions:

  • Where are you in your own process?
    What are the next steps in that journey for you?

Using your own personal stories, including the Family of Origin story you developed for the first session, identify how you have lived on the various rungs of the ladder and where you see yourself now.

Looking at Systems and Institutions

Key Terms:

  • Individual Racism
  • Cultural Racism
  • Institutional Racism

Select one of the three institutions to look at and in small groups, discuss how white privilege functions in the institution and what might be some strategies to dismantle it.


Looking at Allies

Significant Questions:

• Who are role models of white people who have effectively worked to dismantle racism and partner with people color in the struggle for racial justice?
• What are the characteristics of effective allies?

Handout:  Characteristics of Effective Allies & Perspectives from Treasurer Jenkins

Closing Reflection:

The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen … Perhaps it can’t be done without the poet, but it certainly can’t be done without the people. The poet and the people get on generally very badly, and yet they need each other. The poet knows it sooner than the people do. The people usually know it after the poet is dead; but that’s all right. The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world. — James Baldwin


  • Bring one situation that you would like to role play or discuss in terms of how to effectively respond.
  • Begin to create an action plan for the next parts of your journey.  (Action Plan Handout)

Posted in: Cracking the Shell of Whiteness