This can be the hardest part for people new to racial justice work. Engaging in racially mixed settings can trigger age-old power and privilege dynamics. The goal is to be a learner more than a knower, exactly the opposite of what dominant U.S. culture teaches us to be.
Here are some Engagement Tips to guide you:
- Enter the process to learn and bridge knowledge gaps.
- Enter the process to practice mindful social habits like the ones below.
- Stay engaged even when your mind and body start sending you signals to shrink or walk away.
- Ask clarifying questions.
- Acknowledge what you don’t know.
- Validate others by listening closely and believing the truth and importance of what they are sharing.
- Share airtime so that multiple perspectives are shared.
- Step Up Step Back. If you are generally quiet, step up and practice speaking more. If you are generally a talker, practice stepping back and listening more.
- Notice your biases and judgments as they arise. These are gold for you to excavate your subconscious!
- Notice when you are uncomfortable. Reflect on why you’re uncomfortable and think about what you can do to build more emotional stamina in this area.
- Honor confidentiality. Though you can share what you are learning in general terms, do not repeat stories in a way that can be traced back to the person who shared it.
- Find a mentor within your own racial group to support and guide your growth.