This workshop details several reasons for our failure to create community, resolve conflict, and encourage inclusion in our schools. A diversity dialogue incorporating small and full group diversity exercises, role-play, and personal stories follows a short introduction by the presenter. The points are discussed and solutions are practiced. A list of solutions is provided, as well. Additionally, film clips from the Director Lee Mun Wah’s most recent documentary film, If These Halls Could Talk, are shown. The film presents eleven diverse college students sharing what it is like for them on their college campuses. The students expose their frustration and anguish about trying to be understood and acknowledged for all of who they are.
We have been trained and rewarded not to talk about exclusion- what divides us and how our schools, neighborhoods, workplaces and government play a part in that daily exclusion. So, when white students are faced with the discussion of slavery, white privilege and racism, their first reaction is often met with “this is dividing us” or is a “thing of the past.” Many white students become defensive and adversarial, as they have been taught to see themselves as having earned their privileges as individuals and not because of their skin color or as the result of a white-dominated society. The work here is to help our white students see that even though they didn’t actually create these inequities of privilege, they benefit from them every day and so will their children, simply by virtue of being white.