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White-Identifying, Anti-Racist Workspaces

In collaboration with the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Social Change (IDEAS) and the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life (SACL), these workspaces were created in response recent and ongoing violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in the United States and around the world.

These are WORKspaces where white-identifying students can explore what it means to be white, and subsequently, to understand their role in anti-racist work. Our goal is to shift from a mindset of "I'm not a racist" to actively practicing anti-racism in our everyday lives, but first we must understand the systems of white supremacy, white privilege, and white fragility that are operating all around us. Join this Engage portal to register for weekly workspaces, and gain access to resources. Remember, the work of anti-racism is lifelong and expansive - this is not a fully comprehensive series, and we encourage all students to continue learning on their own and to seek out additional resources. 

Follow the Center for IDEAS on Instagram to stay engaged in the conversation and get important updates about events. 

Upcoming Workspaces

Workspaces will be held on Fridays from 11am-12pm EST unless otherwise noted. Workspace topics are dates/times are subject to change. 

Click on each link to register in Engage. Please note that you must register for each event separately. Even if you attended one of these workspaces in the summer, you are still encouraged to attend as the conversation with a new group of your peers will undoubtedly be unique. 

Dates and times for workspaces in the spring semester at TBD, but tentative topics include: racism in higher education, racism in athletics, exploring when racism intersects with homophobia/transphobia and/or misogyny, racism in politics and policies, activism as a white accomplice and confronting racism.

Weekly Content and Discussion Questions

If you're not able to join us for a workspace or discussion, you can still "follow along" and review some of the content and discussion questions on your own.

September 25th: Open Discussion 

  • This was an open discussion and introduction to the workspaces. We shared information about the goals of this workspace, and spent majority of the time discussing some of the following questions:
    • On a scale of 0-5, how comfortable are you talking about race? On a scale of 0-5, how comfortable are you talking about racism? Explain both.
      • 0 = I would rather not talk about race/racism.
      • 1 = I am very uncomfortable talking about race/racism. 
      • 2 = I am usually uncomfortable talking about race/racism. 
      • 3 = I am sometimes uncomfortable talking about race/racism. 
      • 4 = I am usually comfortable talking about race/racism. 
      • 5 = I am very comfortable talking about race/racism.  
    • Does your comfort level change based on who you are with? 
    • What is your earliest experience dealing with race and/or racism? Or when did you realize that you are White? 
    • How have you been feeling about/reacting to recent and ongoing violence against BIPOC? 
    • What actions have you taken/do you want to take to continue your learning around whiteness and anti-racist work?

October 2nd: History of slavery over the last 400 years

  • Content: 2016 documentary 13th. You can watch the full film on YouTube: https://youtu.be/krfcq5pF8u8. We discussed the following questions:
    • How did you feel after viewing 13th? Did you feel helpless, inspired, stirred to action, or a combination of all three? Do you think the message of the film was ultimately hopeful? Why or why not?
    • How does 13th characterize our criminal justice system and political institutions? How did this film shape your understanding of the prison system? Was there a particular case or series of facts that altered or challenged any of your pre-existing views? Explain.  
    • How do you think media and popular culture representations of Black Americans, particularly of Black men, have contributed to a dangerous climate of white fear and anxiety?  
    • Have you ever considered who curates history as we know it? What does that mean about the history we’ve been taught (or not taught) or how we perceive ourselves within that history?

October 9th: Understanding What it Means to be White

  • Content: What it Means to be White by D. Elisabeth Glassco. We discussed the following questions:
    • What are your initial reactions to this article?  
    • What reaction do you have to this quote specifically: “Whiteness is the norm — -the default racial category. This allows those possessing it to generally think of themselves as not a race, an unmarked identity.” 
    • What reaction do you have to this quote specifically: “the value and privilege associated with Whiteness depends on other social categories being degraded.” 
    • What did you learn it means to be White?  
      • Growing up vs. Recently? 
    • What ‘value’ has been awarded to Whiteness? 
      • How does this ‘value’ operate to degrade other social categories? 
    • Have a discussion around this concept: “In the latter work, Dyer argued that, in Western culture, the essential everydayness of whiteness allows white people to “create the dominant images of the world,” and yet be unable to see that “they construct the world in their image.”  
    • Have you ever thought about the concept that because Whiteness and White culture is so dominant (the water we swim in), that we simply didn’t notice the way we construct the world in that image? 
    • How do you understand “White culture”? Have you ever thought about having a culture as a White person?

October 16th: Understanding Systemic Racism and White Privilege 

  • Content: Systemic Racism https://youtu.be/YrHIQIO_bdQ. We discussed the following questions:
    • What are some initial reactions you have to the video? What stereotypes did you notice? 
    • Think about the community you grew up in and the school you went to – was it predominately white? Did you ever think about that growing up or why that might be the case?
    • The video touches on the fact that schools receive funding based on property tax. This is one part of a cycle that results in underfunded and under resourced schools in Black and brown communities. What are your reactions to that? 
      • Alternatives to local property taxes funding schools include: pool all property tax at the state level and distribute funds based on number of students in a school.  
    • Were you familiar with the practice of redlining prior to watching this video? Let’s talk about how that creates a cycle of generational oppression.  
    • Reflect on your grandparents and parents. Did/do they own homes? Do you think they experienced discrimination based the color of their skin? 
    • Can someone (or a couple of people) volunteer to explain systemic racism as you understand it? 
    • The video prompts us to think of our own implicit biases or prejudices we might hold. Can anyone share a bias or prejudice they used to hold or are still working through? 
    • Does anyone want to explain White privilege in their own words? 
    • Give examples of areas in your own life where you have experienced White privilege. 

October 23rd:  Understanding Race as a Social Construct

  • Content: Myth of Race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnfKgffCZ7U. We discussed the following questions:
    • As we saw in the video, race is a social construction... reactions? Thoughts? 
    • Why do you think it is so hard for people to not assess other cultures from their own cultural standards? How does doing this trap people in racist ideas? 
    • Have you ever struggled to identify your race, or ever had to think twice about it when filling out a form? 
    • Are the cultural explanations for race more accurate than the biological explanations? Explain and give examples. 
    • What are positive attributes/qualities graciously afforded to white-identifying folks that are typically not afforded to BIPOC folks?  
    • When a white person commits a crime, you might hear “He/she is troubled. He/she was bullied. That was a mistake.” The focus is on individualized problems. When a Black person commits a crime, you might hear “Oh look, Black on Black crime” of “Or they’re a criminal and should be held accountable” as if to say crime is a result of the collective rather than individual. Let's have a discussion about this.  
    • Watch Jane Elliot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUlqTNwm-mk and ask yourself: Would you personally want the same treatment as Black folks in this society? Why or why not?

October 30th:  Understanding White Fragility - Hosted by Eileen Roth

  • Eileen presented on White Fragility, and we discussed the following questions:
    • What surprised you in the presentation? 
    • If you are white, reflect on experiences that may have caused you to feel uncomfortable frustrated, confused, angry, guilty, etc. around race.  
    • Recall how you were thinking and feeling in that moment? What actions did you take or not take as a result of those feelings? What were the possible impacts of your actions or inaction? 
    • What stuck out to you the most in the Pyramid of White Supremacy?  
    • What’s the difference between a colonist and an immigrant? How do our understandings of how and why whites came to North America shape the way whites understand and respond to immigrants of color both historically and currently? 
    • Can racism in a modern U.S. context be defined separate from whiteness? 
    • What patterns of white fragility do you notice?  
      • At home?  
      • At work?  
      • In media? 

November 6th: Anti-Latinx racism in the US

  • Content: Article titled "Racism, not a lack of assimilation, is the real problem facing Latinos in America":  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/racism-not-lack-assimilation-real-problem-facing-latinos-america-n974021 . We then discussed the following questions: 
    • What are some of your takeaways from this article? 
    • What did you learn about anti-Latinx discrimination?  
    • Why do you think we assume when someone isn’t white or they don’t speak English that we assume they are not American? (share this article as a resource in the chat, but no need to read during the workspace) 
    • How does the pressure for people to “assimilate” function as a tool of white supremacy?  
    • We’ll have a future discussion to discuss microaggressions, but one you might be familiar with is complimenting someone on how well they speak English, or how articulate they are, if we did not expect that. It creates a double standard where we expect people to “assimilate” and speak English fluently, but if they do, we are surprised. What do you think about this double standard? 
    • Why do you think we assume someone is uneducated or not intelligent if they don’t speak English? 
    • The article talks about how groups of people are expected to assimilate, but even when they do they are still discriminated against, like “when World War II veterans returned from combat and were denied equal treatment. The Chicano soldiers’ contributions are still not fully recognized.”  
      • What are your reactions to that?  
    • We’ve previously talked about redlining and discrimination in receiving bank loans for Black individuals and families. Were you aware that those discrimination tools impacted other communities as well including Latinx folks? 
    • In understanding this long history of racism against the Latinx community, how do you now understand the current conflict at the US and Mexico border? 

November 13th: Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

  • Content: How the US stole thousands of Native American children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGqWRyBCHhw&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=Vox. And "Invisibility is the modern form of racism against Native Americans": https://www.teenvogue.com/story/racism-against-native-americans. We then discussed the following questions:
    • What feelings came up for you as you watched this video?  
    • Consider this quote: “Without our relatives, we cease to exist. So with Native people, part of our wealth is in our family.”  
    • When social workers use “overcrowded homes” to justify taking Native children, how is that an act of white supremacy? What impact does this action possibly have on individuals’ cultural identities and the persistence of each nation?  
    • The video draws connections between the federal policies around boarding schools and adoptions and Native landholding.  What questions does this bring up for you? Are you familiar with America’s history of land-grabbing from Native nations, and if you are not, why do you think that is? 
    • The idea of ownership over land was introduced here by Europeans. Generally, Native peoples viewed (and still view) humans’ role as stewards (protectors) of the land and elements. How do you think this difference in cultural values has impacted the lives of Native peoples, over time and in the present, and where do you see connections with white supremacy? 
    • What do you know (or believe you know) about Native America today? What’s your source of knowledge? How often do you think about America’s Indigenous peoples, and when you do, do you think of them in the present tense or the past tense? 
    • Consider messages you may have taken in throughout your education, from media and from your family & peers. The last time you saw a chart of coronavirus impact broken down by race, were Indigenous people included? 
    • What happens when racist policies brutally traumatize communities for centuries and we omit both the brutality and the present-day real-life people from our national discourse? Or we concede that they exist, but say that they have gotten rich off casinos and use caricatures of their images as mascots? 
    • Today, Native Americans are more likely to be killed by police than people of any other race. Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than any other ethnic group, and 97% have experienced violence perpetrated by at least one non-Native person. Native youth not only have the lowest graduation rates of any racial group, but they are also dying by suicide at the highest rate of any demographic in the United States. These same teens are twice as likely to be disciplined than their white peers in school and are twice as likely to be incarcerated for minor crimes than teens of any other race. (Teen Vogue) 

November 20th: Microaggressions - Hosted by Dr. Belisa Gonzalez

  • Dr. Gonzalez presented on microaggressions and talked about how students can recognize microaggressions, avoid this behavior/language themselves, and hold others accountable if they witness a microaggression. 

December 4th: Anti-Asian Racism

December 11th: Shame, Accountability, Guilt + Wrap up

Ithaca College Course Offerings

Please consider registering for one or multiple courses that relate to race, racism, anti-racism, or another topic that is covered in this series.

This is likely not a comprehensive list of courses, please check HomerConnect for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you notice a course that is missing, feel free to share that with us and we will add it to the list. 

Culture and Communication

  • Introduction to Culture and Communication

Culture, Race and Ethnicity

  • Introduction to African Diaspora Studies
  • Introduction to Native American Indigenous Studies
  • Introduction to Asian American Studies
  • Introduction to Culture, Race & Ethnicity Concepts
  • Japanese Americans and Mass Incarceration
  • The Politics of Whiteness
  • Watching Race in American Media
  • Punishment, Prisons, and Democracy
  • Scholarship of and by Women of Color

English

  • The Power of Injustice and the Injustice of Power
  • Survey of African American Literature
  • Studies in Multicultural American Literature
  • Latino/a Culture through Literature 

Health

  • Inequalities in U.S. Health Care
  • Wellness: Multicultural Perspectives on Health and Healing

Journalism

  • Media Literacy: Race, Gender and Ethnicity 

Music

  • African American Popular Music: Blues to Hip Hop

Psychology

  • Psych of Privilege & Oppression

Sociology

  • Scholarship of and by Women of Color

Spanish

  • Latino/a Culture through Literature

This is likely not a comprehensive list of courses, please check HomerConnect for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you notice a course that is missing, feel free to share that with us and we will add it to the list. 

Anthropology

  • Medical Anthropology: Health, Culture, and Social Justice
  • From Equal to Unequal: New World Transformation

Culture and Communication

  • Introduction to Culture and Communication

Culture, Race and Ethnicity

  • Introduction to African Diaspora Studies
  • Introduction to Latino/a Studies
  • Introduction to Culture, Race, and Ethnicity Concepts
  • Black Cinema: Exploring the Black Image in Film
  • Asian American Gender and Sexual Politics
  • Asian Americans Speak Out: Resisting Mainstream History
  • Policing the Borderlands: Power, Policy, and Justice
  • The Politics of Whiteness
  • Watching Race in American Media
  • Black Sexualities
  • Feminist and Queer Latinx
  • Critical Race Theories in United States
  • 21st Century Conversations on Race

English

  • The Power of Injustice and the Injustice of Power
  • Introduction to Asian American Literature
  • Black Women Writers
  • Survey of African American Literature
  • Introduction to Latino/a Literature
  • The Matter of Black Lives in the 18th Century

Health

  • Wellness: Multicultural Perspectives on Health and Healing
  • Inequalities in U.S. Health Care

Music

  • West African Drumming and Dance Ensemble

Psychology

  • Culture and Psychology
  • Psychology of Privilege and Oppression
  • Social and Cultural Issues in the History of Psychology

Sociology

  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Social Change
  • Social Movement
  • 21st Century Conversations on Race

Spanish

  • Introduction to Latino/a Literature
  • Experiencing Hispanic Literature
  • Spanish Civilizations and Culture
  • Introduction to Latin American Literature

Additional Support and Resources

Please seek additional support, resources, events, and educational materials from any of these offices/departments/student organizations on campus.

Website: https://www.ithaca.edu/center-ideas

Engage (find upcoming events): https://ithaca.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/center-for-ideas-iden…

Website: https://www.ithaca.edu/center-study-culture-race-and-ethnicity (here you can find upcoming events, discussion series, lectures/presentations, and course offerings)

Engage Website: https://ithaca.campuslabs.com/engage/ (here you can explore events being offered across campus). Specifically, here you can find event that have the "leading in a diverse world attribute" https://ithaca.campuslabs.com/engage/events?query=leading%20in%20a%20diverse%20world

You may want to specifically check any of the following portals for events related to topics/themes discussed in this series. Please note that some organizations may restrict membership/certain events to a specific identity or community, and we ask that you please respect those spaces when they are identified that way, however, most will offer events that are open to all students as well. 

African Latino Society

African Students Association

Asian American Alliance

Brothers for Brothers

Buzzsaw Magazine

Caribbean Students Association

Chinese Students and Scholars Association

Committee on Decolonial Affairs 

Embrace Publication

Engaging Mental Health in People of Color

Futures Club, Ithaca College

IC Mixed

IC Proud

International Club of Ithaca College 

Ithaca College Physical Therapy Students of Color 

Melanin in Medicine

NaturALL - Ethnic Hair Care Club

PODER: Latinx Student Association

Sister 2 Sister

Student-Athletes of Color

Contact Us

Please email Samantha Elebiary (selebiary@ithaca.edu) or Elyse Nepa (enepa@ithaca.edu) if you have any questions.