White Awake originated as a set of educational resources for guiding white affinity processes (workshops and/or study groups by and for white-identified people), and the first section of our Manual – “Workshops and Study Groups” – focuses exclusively on this type of educational work.
As White Awake grows, we are beginning to expand our offerings to include heart-centered, relational practices for individuals and groups who are committed to long-term engagement, spiritual transformation, and healing around issues of dominance, white supremacy, genocide, and colonization.
While the social category of “whiteness” includes a broad spectrum of people, it is a social construct that grows out of a particular history of domination (embedded in European colonialism and the creation of the United States as a global power). Coming to terms with this history, understanding our relationship to it, and transforming ourselves – from “white” people, whose minds and hearts are colonized to cooperate with dominance, to self-aware groups and individuals dedicated to justice and a life affirming society – is beyond the scope of a workshop or study group. It requires both personal practice, and a community of practice, and to this end White Awake is building out these two new sections within our manual.
Our online manual is a work in process. We encourage your feedback and participation.
This section of the manual outlines concepts and practices essential to White Awake’s educational methodology, offers group exercises to be used in educational settings, and gives examples of how these pieces can be put together for a curriculum that is tailored to your group’s needs and goals.
Supportive, spiritual practices – for individual use – that help “white” people dismantle dominant socialization and engage in personal transformation that aligns our inner world with our outer work for a just and life affirming society.
Dismantling white supremacy is life-long work. White folks committed to personal and social transformation will need community spaces in which we sing together, grieve together, share meals together, and support one another in taking risks and building new cultural norms. White Awake is building out a collection of resources to support these types of community building endeavors.
This page contains sources of external information that break through the “closed loop” of white racial conditioning. Look here for a regularly updated list of important themes to consider in our group work and personal practice, along with corresponding articles, videos, books and online resources vetted specifically for this site.
To Caucus or Not to Caucus …
Doing some portion of our educational work, and spiritual practice, in white affinity spaces allows us to center the particular needs we have as members of a dominant group to fill in the gaps in our education, unwind the particulars of our social conditioning, and come to terms with the emotional baggage of membership in an oppressive social group. (Please note, we are using the terms “caucus” and “affinity” interchangeably.)
Building long-term, support networks with other white people can help us stay engaged socially, and be a good place to process challenges that arise that are particular to our social position (such as relating to family members who consciously or unconsciously embrace white supremacist social conditioning). However, too much time in affinity spaces prevents us from building strong relationships with people of the global majority who are our peers in the struggle for collective liberation.
When deciding when to caucus, and when not to, keep in mind the purpose of affinity work, and find the appropriate balance that helps you and your group meet these goals. White Awake’s mission – in all the resources we offer – is to help people who have been socialized as white (of European and near-European descent) prepare the ground within themselves (and within their spiritual communities/organizations) for authentic relationships and alliances with people of the global majority, and mature as positive agents of liberatory, social change.
For more information on racial caucusing, see this theme on our Resources page.