Blog Challenge: Waking Up White

This morning, I had breakfast with some of my favorite people: members of my writer’s group. These are people who both challenge and support me. They review my early drafts with an unflinching red pencil, and even their harshest criticisms are easier to take because I know they truly want my writing to be the best it can be.

DiscriminationBut in addition to supporting one another as writers, this special group of people really care about one another, as people. Starting this week, I’ll be joining two of those writers, Dawn Claflin and Stephen Matlock, in a Blog Challenge. We’ll all be reading Debby Irving’s Waking Up White, and using the study questions at the end of each chapter to explore how “being white in America” has impacted our lives. For accountability, interaction, perspectives, and support, we’ve agreed to do more than just “think about” the questions: we’ll each be posting our thoughts and answers on our web sites. We’ve agreed to:

  • Post at least one question/answer each week (more is OK – but at least one).
  • As our challenge partners post their responses, to make a sincere effort to update our own post with links to theirs.
  • To respond or comment on their posts if we feel we have an insight, food for thought, or a pertinent question. While we have lots of ways to communicate, we’ll work to keep the conversation in this venue rather than scattering it so that only parts are visible here.

We haven’t made any rules for what someone “has to” post. It might be a simple, direct answer to the study question, a story about a related experience, response to the content of that chapter of the book – anything, really, that is prompted by that chapter’s reading. The point isn’t to dictate what someone “should” be thinking or saying, but to create a space for honest reaction and reflection as we read. We’ll likely say some things that will embarrass us or expose our blind spots; the point isn’t to be ‘perfect’ but rather to examine ourselves for the purpose of identifying those blind spots, and learning something new that brings us closer to the people we want to be and to creating the world we want to live in.

I invite you to join us on the journey – to read our posts, share your insights, or even – if you’re so inclined – to join the challenge yourself (if you do, please don’t hesitate to link your own post in the comments section for the related question).

For millennia, humans have created segmented, caste-oriented social structures. It’s not likely that we three are going to change that. We just believe that by looking honestly at ourselves and our world, we might be able to do better than we’re doing – starting with ourselves.

“Stubborn Ounces”

~ Bonaro Overstreet

You say the Little efforts that I make
will do no good: they never will prevail
to tip the hovering scale
where Justice hangs in balance.

I don’t think I ever thought they would.
But I am prejudiced beyond debate
in favor of my right to choose which side
shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight.


Blog Challenge Links:

Dawn’s Initial Waking Up White blog post

Stephen’s post introducing the blog challenge

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67 thoughts on “Blog Challenge: Waking Up White

  1. Hey Nixie!

    I think this is going to be a great experience in the sense that a journey or an adventure or a challenge is a great experience. We learn, I think, who we really are when we discover where our mettle—and our metal—is.

    I look forward to tussling with all these issues, and I look forward to what I’ll uncover and what I will need to deal with.

    Thanks for coming up with such a wonderful idea, and thanks for inviting me to participate.

    1. Ventures like this are more successful with others to hold us accountable and tell us the things we don’t or can’t see for ourselves. I’m grateful to have you along on the journey. Thanks for agreeing to participate!

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