Welcome to the Becoming Anti-Racist Course for White Folks. My name is Gabriel Kram. Despite extensive training in mindfulness, despite working with incarcerated youth for many years, despite having some degree of awareness that People of Color in the United States have received the very rawwest end of the deal, it wasn't until my early forties that I began engaging in anti-racist work in earnest. To be candid, I didn't want to engage in this work, and it was only when I was asked to work with young Black men in the Oakland Unified School District, through a program that taught mindful awareness, that the farcical nature of me–a privileged white guy whose social locations personifies the violence of the state that destroys Black bodies–teaching young Black men about being present, that I realized that in order not to be a complete impostor I would need to better understand my whiteness. To this end, I enrolled in a 3-day course with Lee Mun Wah entitled "Unlearning Racism and Internalized Racism," at Stirfry Seminars in Berkeley, California. I had heard about Mun Wah for many years, from a number of friends, colleagues, and fellow mindfulness teachers, and I knew that he was a surgeon. At the time of the course I was titrating off of pyscho-tropic medication, and it occurred to me not at all that there was any relationship between the mental health challenge that I had experienced, and my own unconscious racism and White Supremacy. As I drove that day in late September, years ago, the air was crisp, the light clear, the leaves on 6th street bursting into flames of crimson and orange and a startling yellow under the bluest of skies. My heart was pounding in my chest. The entire drive, from my house, I'd been having to swallow down a bodily compulsion to run. To cancel the course, call in and apologize, tell them that something urgent had come up, anything really. I was ready to forfeit the tuition, not a problem, I understood that I wasn't giving them adequate notice, etc etc. My body was already deep in flight, and I had to disregard all of my internal talk and keep driving, squeeze the steering wheel with force to stay firm. I'm not sure I understood, really, how much my life was about to change.
I’ve created this course for my White family, friends, and for all who seek or receive protection under the mantle of White Identity. This course is an act of protest. It is a qi gong meditation on empty force.
In Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao te Ching he says:
The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin of all particular things.
This course is attempt to name (and render visible) the by-design, veiled and invisibilized sociological structuring of Whiteness in the United States, for the purposes of dismantling White Supremacy.
If you are White, and taking this course, I applaud you. It has the power to change your mind. And fasten your seatbelt, because it's going to be a bumpy ride. By proceeding, our legal team requires that you understand that by pressing next lecture, you are agreeing to the terms of our liability release, which explicitly states that you understand that the course in which you are enrolled may involve your body and emotions in a manner that might subject you to physical and/or emotional distress. As a pre-condition for continuing, you agree to accept such risks, and assume responsibility for emotional distress and/or other effects that might arise from your own interpretation of the process. You understand that the training is not intended as a medical treatment or substitute for medical treatment, or psychotherapy or a substitute for psychotherapy. You also understand that it is your responsibility to determine your readiness and/or ability to engage in the training Activities, to determine whether doing so is safe for you, and to choose not to participate if, in your estimation, participation is beyond your abilities.,
Furthermore, YOU DO HEREBY UNDERTAKE TO INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS Applied Mindfulness, Inc. (AMI), and the Restorative Practices Alliance (RPA) from and against any and all liabilities, loss, damage, cost and expenses incurred as a result of any action, proceedings, demands or claims taken or made by you, or your heirs, executors or administrators in the unlikely event that you experience injury or death resulting from or relating to such AMI and RPA training and any time thereafter.
Any person participating in an AMI / RPA training recognizes that there may be certain risks involved with this training. It is a condition of participation in any of the Activities that the person, for him/her/their self, his/her/their heirs, executors and administrators, hereby waives and releases AMI, and RPA from any or all claims, rights or causes of action that the person, his/her/their heirs, executors or administrators may have in respect of any loss of life or injury, damage or loss of any description and howsoever caused (including negligent act or default and/or omission or breach of duty of the Released or otherwise) arising out of or relating to participation in any of the Activities.
ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT
In consideration of participating in this AMI Restorative Practices training, you agree that:
(1) EXEMPTION FROM LIABILITY: You exempt and release AMI and RPA from any and all liability, claims, demands or actions or causes of action whatsoever arising out of any damage, loss or injury to you or your property while participating in any of the activities contemplated by this Agreement, whether such loss, damage, or injury results from the negligence of AMI, and RPA from some other cause.
(2) COVENANT NOT TO SUE: You agree never to institute any suit action at law or otherwise against AMI and RPA nor to initiate any or assist in the prosecution of any claim for damages or cause of action which you, your heirs, executors or administrators hereinafter may have by reason of injury to your person or to your property arising from the activities contemplated by this Agreement.
(3) INDEMNITY AGAINST THIRD PARTY CLAIMS: You will indemnify, save and hold harmless AMI and RPA from any and all losses, claims, actions or proceedings of every kind and character which may be presented or initiated by any persons or organizations and which arise directly or indirectly by your activities or neglect while engaged in the activities contemplated by this Agreement.
(4) CONTINUATION OF OBLIGATIONS: You agree and acknowledge that the terms and conditions of the foregoing EXEMPTION FROM LIABILITY, COVENANT NOT TO SUE and INDEMNITY AGAINST THIRD PARTY CLAIMS shall continue in force and effect now and in the future at all times during which you participate, either directly or indirectly, in the activities of AMI and RPA and shall be binding upon your heirs, executors and administrators of my estate.
Alright, great. Now that that's out of the way, let's begin.