While the early years of White Awake’s development focused on sharing educational materials for independent use in communities around the country, beginning in 2016 White Awake’s central focus has slowly shifted to offering large-scale, online courses designed to support the political education and spiritual/mental/emotional development of our participants. The response to these courses has been overwhelming, and over time our programming has developed into a set of three core courses that we offer in the fall, winter, and spring of each year, respectively. These courses are:
- ROOTS DEEPER THAN WHITENESS – a general, foundations course for people socially categorized as white
- BEFORE WE WERE WHITE – a deep dive into history and ancestral recovery for people of European descent
- UNBREAKABLE SOLIDARITY – a deep dive into political analysis and strategy for solidarity-based social change, open to anyone who is interested
In addition to these core classes, White Awake has held a variety of summer offerings that now include an annual course for white men and (new in 2021) a holistic, action-focused anti-bias training for white people who want to unpack their race and/or class bias. These courses are:
- RADICAL ANTIBIAS TRAINING – a training designed to help white participants unlearn race and class biases within the context of solidarity based organizing
- DEFECTING FROM SUPREMACY – a course designed to support white men’s commitment to anti-racism, feminism, and economic justice
While there are no prerequisites involved, folks who are new to our work may benefit from taking Roots Deeper Than Whiteness first. Most of our courses are held as caucuses for white folks and/or people with European ancestry (a well-established practice in the field of anti-racism education); however, anyone is welcome to register and engage with our curricula through the use of recordings, and our annual Unbreakable Solidarity course is not a caucus and is open to all people seeking to deepen their political analysis and movement-building strategy.
All courses are held with the blessing and support of our advisory council; course fees are suggested on a sliding scale basis with no one turned away for lack of funds; and all of our programming is offered with the intention of promoting analysis and skills for building power and solidarity within liberatory social movements in the United States (our specific area of focus) and abroad.
See below for more detailed descriptions of each of our major offerings, as well as some clarification on how they fit together. If you are interested in learning a little bit about how we approach our curriculum, please check out our Curriculum Content and Pedagogy document.
Registration for White Awake courses usually opens 6-7 weeks before the start date of the series. To receive registration announcements please sign up for our mailing list.
~✵~ Fall Course ~✵~
ROOTS DEEPER THAN WHITENESS — building emotional strength and political clarity for collective liberation
Roots Deeper than Whiteness is White Awake’s annual foundations course, designed to help white people reject the role we have been groomed to fill and build a healthy sense of self rooted in liberatory knowledge and practice. Many of our other online courses expand on the three essential themes that are covered in the Roots Deeper curriculum: developing emotional resilience and an innate, political wisdom; connecting personal and family stories to a broader historical and political analysis; and familiarization with basic elements of solidarity-based action for positive social change.
This is a good course for white folks at all stages of political development, whether you are new to anti-racism or have years of experience in activism, organizing, and/or working class politics. It is also a great introduction to White Awake’s work, and can be a powerful curriculum for group engagement.
The goal of the class is to support your (or your group’s) engagement in multiracial, solidarity-based organizing for a world where everyone thrives. In service of this goal, the course focuses on:
- emotional resilience tools for navigating the work of social change and responding intentionally in charged situations
- a solidarity-based political analysis
- the function of white supremacy as a divide and control strategy
- historical understanding of the creation of white racial identity, how different European settler and immigrant groups were socialized into it, and the cultural and political traditions they lost in the process
- insight into hidden histories of multiracial resistance to oppressive social forces
- a personal action plan to engage in solidarity-based organizing and activism.
Because Roots Deeper than Whiteness focuses on the legacy and socialization of white identity as it is experienced by people socially categorized as white, live sessions of this course are held as a white identity caucus. This course usually includes an optional, supplemental mindfulness training, available on off weeks and prior to live sessions for all registered participants.
Read the full description of Roots Deeper Than Whiteness, 2021 here.
~✵~ Winter Course ~✵~
BEFORE WE WERE WHITE — ancestral recovery for collective liberation
Each of us belongs to a collective body of people with a story (or stories) that reach before us and after us in time. Before We Were White offers people of European descent the opportunity to work extensively with this ancestry.
Before they were ever classified as “white” our European ancestors* were distinct peoples with their own unique cultures and relationships to place. What happened to them? How did white supremacy and colonization change them? Did anyone resist? Can we build relationship with this legacy in a way that nurtures our ability to work for a better world today?
This course explores these questions with a focus on:
- white supremacy, capitalism, settler-colonialism, and the European origins of these phenomena
- understanding family and ancestral stories within their historical and political context
- discharging harm or confusion that can arise from a connection to ancestors who have perpetrated or participated in oppression, exploitation, or genocide
- relationship with ancestors of blood, social location, or chosen lineage who can support contemporary work for positive social change
- personal resilience and a strong sense of purpose in your work for collective liberation
The curriculum combines study and application with nondogmatic spiritual practices, which participants are encouraged to work with according to their own belief system and comfort level. The premise of the course is that part of the work of collective liberation is understanding and bringing healing to our relationship with our collective past, and that our ability to engage in the work of social change can be enhanced by the intellectual and emotional work of placing our personal ancestry into a larger historical and political context.
Live sessions of Before We Were White are held as a caucus for people with European ancestry (white and/or multiracial) who want to bring their attention to this ancestral line. *By “European ancestry” we mean the diverse ancestry of those who have come to be classified as white, which is predominantly (but not exclusively) European.
Adopted participants are welcome to work with their adopted family line, birth ancestry, or both. Supplemental, identity-based caucus calls are held for participants who have a unique relationship to the material, including Jewish, multiracial and queer participants.
Read the full description of Before We Were White, 2021 here.
~✵~ Spring Course ~✵~
UNBREAKABLE SOLIDARITY — analysis and strategy for coming together, breaking free, and building the world we need
Unbreakable Solidarity is an online course that focuses on how we build collective power on the bedrock of interdependence and use this power to get free.
Through study, embodied learning and group discussion this course focuses on:
- a foundational analysis of the root causes of dysfunction in our society, beginning with a focus on capitalism – the monopoly of power that is accumulated when our economy is not managed democratically – and considering the ways in which white supremacy and other forms of oppression serve this monopoly of power by dividing us.
- the pressing question: when faced with the overwhelming consolidation of power among a wealthy few, how do we get free?
- how political, social and economic power can be built by everyday, working people when we join together to address shared and intersecting needs
- the ways in which true, unbreakable solidarity insists on the fair and equitable treatment of all people as part of the larger project of caring for the common good.
This course is not a caucus. While White Awake is an organization that specializes in holistic, anti-racist education for white people, this course is designed as a political primer for people of all backgrounds who are seeking a deeper analysis of the roots of today’s problems and effective strategies for social and political change.
Read the full description of Unbreakable Solidarity, 2021 here
~✵~ Summer Courses ~✵~
RADICAL ANTIBIAS EDUCATION: Cultivating True Comrades in Struggle
Radical Anti-Bias Education is an online training from White Awake designed to support people socially classified as “white” in unlearning race and class biases within the context of a liberatory struggle for an equitable and life-sustaining society. The training focuses on tools and best practices for catching and interrupting unconscious bias while directing our participants to the place where deep transformation actually occurs: the comradeship that grows from solidarity-based struggle for social change.
This training is a white identity caucus with a specific focus on racial and class-based biases. Radical Anti-Bias Education is held in the spirit of radical political parties and labor organizations of the past who did this work for the explicit purpose of building strong, diverse coalitions to challenge ruling class power.
Read the full description our 2021 anti-bias training here.
DEFECTING FROM SUPREMACY: Joining the struggle for collective liberation
Defecting from Supremacy is an annual course designed to help white men forge healthy racial and gender identities, cultivate emotional resilience, and gain political clarity as they join in solidarity with people of all genders and people of color in the struggle for a better world.
Read the full description of Defecting from Supremacy, 2021 here.
Sometimes we are asked “why do you charge for your work?”
White Awake focuses on education. We help promote a clear understanding of how global, corporate capitalism is the driving force behind the structural inequity of these times. We shed light on how white supremacy perpetuates inequity by dividing those of us with common interests, making it difficult to replace capitalism with a system that serves our mutual well-being.
White Awake and our instructors support a transition away from global, corporate capitalism to a democratically managed economy, and we support reparations and the prioritization of the needs of historically targeted groups, communities and Peoples. We do what we do in support of these changes, and we make our work available to all regardless of financial means.
We believe the work that we do is significant, and we want to do it well. To this end, we charge a modest fee for our online workshops, and solicit donations from our participants and supporters, in order to meet our financial needs. This allows White Awake staff and instructors to focus their time and energy on the educational work this project promotes, for the benefit of all.
If you have further questions, please contact: email@example.com