By Eamonn Burke
The City of Seattle recently held a training about “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority” for their white employees. Traits of internalized racism, according to the diversity trainers that led the session, include individualism, objectivity, and intellectualization.
The training included an extensive list of offenses that white people can commit against their co-workers, as well as a guideline for being allies to minorities. The also city encourages self affirmation in one’s contribution to the persistence of racism, with a goal of “undoing whiteness”. A visual aid of the racist “cycle” was included in the training. Another handout read: “racism is not our fault but we are responsible.”
A major focus of the training was that white people had to “give up” certain privileged liberties to truly purge themselves of internalized racism. These include comfort as well as social status and control. Lastly, they gave examples of achieving the status of a “white ally” to describe the goal of the training.
The goal, as described by the city in an email, is for “city employees who identify as white to join this training to learn, reflect, challenge ourselves, and build skills and relationships that help us show up more fully as allies and accomplices for racial justice.”