From Integration to Anti-Racism
The Education Justice Research and Organizing Collaborative (EJ-ROC) at NYU Metro Center works closely with grassroots organizations in communities of color to build strong groups and coalitions of parents fighting for racial justice in education at the city, state, and national levels. In recent years, Black parents have increasingly approached EJ-ROC about the divisions and mistrust between parents of color and white parents. White parents, driven by unexamined assumptions about leadership, often preempt the leadership of parent associations without taking the time to build relationships or understand the history and cultures of the communities they operate within. Such myopic efforts often marginalize long-involved parents of color and misalign school cultures to become more responsive to the efforts of privileged white parents.
A new EJ-ROC initiative, From Integration to Anti-Racism: How We Show Up As White Parents, provides anti-racist training, coaching, book circles, tools, and skill-building to white parents to help them understand the destructive beliefs and patterns of internalized white supremacy. This new EJ-ROC initiative also helps white parents collaborate with parents of color in accountable ways, actively challenge racism in all of its forms, and take steps to transform racial power dynamics in our schools and communities. Understanding that the work to end white supremacy is primarily white people’s work, EJ-ROC is committed to helping white public school parents develop the knowledge and skills to collaborate with communities of color to fight racism, use their privilege to challenge racial hierarchies, articulate race-based systems of power and privilege and how they structure our daily experience.
EJ-ROC’s new initiative helps develop the following capacities, especially for white public school parents:
● Awareness of the history of white supremacy, racism, and anti-racist struggles in our society and schools, how we have internalized messages and behaviors of white supremacy and white superiority, and how we act them out.
● Ability to communicate our own stories and perspectives in ways that disrupt overt and coded racism, influence other white people, and shift mindsets.
● Strategies for building enduring allies, supporting the leadership of parents of color, and developing effective methods of outreach and engagement to build multi-racial, multi-class Parent Associations.
● Antiracist training series for white public school parents: EJ-ROC offers a 6- month workshop series for white parents committed to disrupting and dismantling white supremacy in their schools, families and communities. The training offers a grounding in antiracist principles and practices through readings, podcasts, small and large group discussions, role plays, case studies and interactive activities. Depending on the current context and needs of the group, topics covered may include: Challenging Internalized white superiority; Decentering whiteness; Building genuine relationships across race & class; Interrupting racism in the playground, in schools, in communities; Anti-racist parenting; Developing a radical antiracist white identity.
● Workshops, affinity groups and coaching for white and multiracial parent groups and organizations: EJ-ROC partners with parent groups and organizations developing projects to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy in their institutions, by designing and facilitating workshops tailored to their needs and interests, and providing consultation and coaching to staff and/or parent leaders.
● Virtual book circle on me and white supremacy by Layla F. Saad: This group provides an opportunity for deep personal reflection and learning about the racism that white people have internalized and act upon both consciously and unconsciously. Through reading, journal prompts, and deep discussions, participants will be better equipped to disrupt racism and white supremacy in their families, schools and communities.