This practice is described toward the end of the film, so please watch the film before you do it. This is mindful awareness practice, and involves practicing speaking our own social location. In our work, and our research, we've discovered both in ourselves, and in other White Folks, often a strong resistance to naming our own Whiteness. What we're most interested in, in this practice, is exploring what comes up, what is elicited, at a physiological level, when we begin to name our own Whiteness. The exercise is pretty simple. You'll sit in front of a mirror, and you will speak to yourself, using the following phrase. "My name is [YOUR NAME] and I'm a White [NAME YOUR GENDER/ GENDER ORIENTATION]." As you do this, watch your face, listen to your voice, and feel your own body. Notice what comes up for yourself. Notice this without judgment. If you find resistance in yourself, ask yourself–What part of me is having a hard time with this? Why is it making me feel [WHATEVER EMOTION YOU ARE FEELING...attacked, ashamed, guilty, sad, angry, etc.]? If you find yourself having a reaction just reading this, start here, simply with the words on the page. Ask yourself,
Please be self-compassionate with yourself as you do this. Many of us who are White have grown up in White Spaces, such that the idea of naming our Whiteness seems strange, or unncessary. There may be a sense of obviousness about this, or embarrassment, or taboo. Something to keep in mind is that People of Color know that you are White already. You being able to name it means that you know it too, which is really important if you want to establish trust with people who are not White. Whiteness, as part of dominant culture, maintains its power by being invisibilized: hidden in plain view. To speak it disrupts a social convention, which is deeply associated with Whiteness, which is this idea that if we don't talk about something it isn't there. Of course, this is not true.
When people introduce themselves, in our classes, in a multi-cultural context, we have a practice of asking people to name their social location. If you imagine that you are doing this, what comes up for you? This isn't an idle exercise–if you continue training with us, we'll ask you to introduce yourself this way. Ask yourself, please, from a pedagogical standpoint of dismantling White Supremacy, why do you think we ask all of our participants to do this? If you have a practice of journaling, we invite you to reflect on this.