Guided Dialogue on Racism and Privilege: The Politics of Allyship
Organized by Anthropology Graduate Student Association at CU Boulder (AGSA), OLA Colorado (Observatorio de Las Américas), and United Government of Graduate Students CU Boulder
(This event took place virtually on June 19th, 2020 with 197 people in attendance)
Join the virtual guided dialogue on the anthropology of race, racism, and privilege with the anthropology graduate students from the University of Colorado Boulder. We will be discussing what it means for white folks and non-Black POC to be an ally to Black communities at this time. We will have room for audience questions as well and hope to foster a real dialogue on race at this present moment. This event is solely intended for educational purposes and open to anyone of any racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and immigration status backgrounds who truly want to stay informed and engaged.
Date: 19 June 2020
Time: 4 to 6 pm (MDT)
Click here to register using Zoom
Speaker: Bailey Duhé, PhD Candidate in Cultural Anthropology at CU Boulder
Bailey’s research looks at questions of racial fluidity, generational trauma, colorism, critical race and critical mixed race studies, and American Blackness(es) in New Orleans, Louisiana with Creoles of color in the 7th Ward. As an educator, Bailey is committed to teaching her students at their individual levels by using ethnography as her pedagogy and promoting real, messy learning, especially around race. She is currently teaching "Brown Studies" which is a course that centers mixed and multiracial experiences in a discussion of race theory. Bailey is working to develop two additional courses: "Let's Talk About Race" (an introductory anthropology course that centers race in a discussion of the history of and central ideas in anthropology) and "Race: A Mini-Seminar" (a mini, 2-hour seminar designed to teach race to non-academic individuals who want to understand more about race and their involvement in structural and anti-Black racism).
Moderator: Chu May Paing, PhD Student in Cultural Anthropology at CU Boulder
Chu is interested in the flow of semiotic culture--both a causation and a result of certain emotions--in political narratives and discourses in Myanmar (Burma). Her undergraduate and previous graduate training in sociocultural linguistics and linguistic anthropology complement her broader research interests in post-coloniality, modernity, affect, gender, law, and aesthetics in cultural anthropology. Her previous works look at how the concepts of belonging and identity are problematized in the process of heritage language maintenance among transnational Sino-Burmese immigrant families in New York City.
Live Recording of "Guided Dialogue on Race and Privilege: The Politics of Allyship"
This video presents the live feed of the event as shown on Facebook.
Discussants: Bailey Duhé and Chu May Paing (Anthropology Department, University of Colorado Boulder); Facilitators: Emily Jensen (United Government of Graduate Students at CU Boulder) and Juan García Oyervides (OLA Colorado)
Total running time: 123 minutes
Languages: English only
Technical notes: The first minute has no sound. Discussion starts on 6:30 Embedded video may not show in some browsers. If the video does not appear on your browser, you can also click here to watch on Facebook.
Webinar Summary and Notes
1. About the event:
The webinar begun at 4:00PM MT and ended at 6:00PM MT. There were 197 people in attendance through Zoom. The event was also transmitted on Facebook Live using the Facebook page for OLA Colorado. This transmission had over 350 views by the end of the event. The event begun with a series of structured questions, taking up approximately 40 minutes. The remaining time was used to answer questions submitted by the viewers.
2. About the content of the discussion:
Cultural Anthropologist Baily Duhé opened up the discussion addressing the commemoration of Juneteenth, the celebration of the slave emancipation in the US and the commodification of the date by corporate America this year.
The conversation followed with a brief discussion of the meanings of allyship and what non-black people can do to become effective allies. These are some key points:
a. Allyship begins by educating yourself.
b. Allyship implies a degree of privilege. It starts by checking one's own privilege and how certain issues do not affect them directly. The use of one's privilege to support the cause is key to become an ally.
c. The ally's work goes beyond the immediacy of the moment. Allyship is a long-term commitment.
d. Allyship is not a formula and there is not one single good way to be an ally. Allyship practices can take different forms that may include monetary (donations), physical (attending demonstrations), and long standing contributions to the cause.
e. Allyship is a verb.It involves concrete actions.
f. Allyship is not easy or comfortable.
3. List of resources mentioned by the presenters and the public during the discussion:
Johnson, Tre. "When black people are in pain, white people just join book clubs". The Washington Post. (11 Jun 2020) : https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/white-antiracist-allyship-book-clubs/2020/06/11/9edcc766-abf5-11ea-94d2-d7bc43b26bf9_story.html
García-Peña, Lorgia. "Dismantling Anti-Blackness Together". The North American Congress on Latin America, (8 Jun 2020) : https://nacla.org/news/2020/06/09/dismantling-anti-blackness-together
Peterson, Max. "The Revolutionary Practice of Black Feminisms". National Museum of African American History & Culture, (4 Mar 2019) : https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/collection/revolutionary-practice-black-feminisms
"Interrupting White Feminism". Showing up for Social Justice, (18 Apr 2017) : https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-feminism.html
4. Specific resources on how to start conversations about race:
"Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, a town hall for kids and families" by CNN and Sesame Street : https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/06/app-news-section/cnn-sesame-street-race-town-hall-app-june-6-2020-app/index.html
Helpert, Madeline. "Talking with relatives across the political divide". New York Times (13 Jun 2020) :
Registered attendees were sent a follow-up survey 48 hours after the event. Out of 197 registered attendees, only 23 people completed the survey, representing 12% of the total. In this survey, attendees were invited to express their opinions and to reflect on the learning outcomes of the webinar. The survey also collected information regarding the organization of the event. The following results are focused on the learning reflections provided by the attendees. Commentaries from attendee highlighted the importance of the presenters' work, the practical approach of the discussion, and the social relevance of the leadership that people of color are showing in these conversations about race and racism.
B. Learning Outcomes and Impact:
35% of the respondents declared to have learned a lot of new information, while 26% reinforced assumptions they already knew before attending.
9% of the respondents declared to have changed their minds on assumptions previously held as a result of the information presented at the webinar.
61% of respondents said they had kept thinking about the information presented at the event at least three days after the event was held.
95% of respondents declared that they were likely or very likely to practice what they learned during the webinar.
C. Commentaries about self-growth and relevance of the webinar:
Very positive. I came a way with a lot to think about but energized that there are things that I can personally do to reduce racism and support Black people.
The webinar was great! The information was very clear and accessible - perfect for a wide range of audiences including researchers, students, faculty, white people and non-Black people of color generally thinking about allyship. I appreciated that the webinar didn't attempt to discuss the history of race in the U.S., but stuck with very actionable steps and values related to allyship.
It was nice to feel like I was included, even though all I had to do was listen and take notes. It felt very personal.
Bailey's comment about how - if you're doing the hard work of allyship in your own spheres - you should be staying very busy because there are likely a lot of conversations you need to have close to home. YES. Also, the idea of sustainable allyship and making a commitment to the long-term (vs crash diet allyship) was a really useful idea and one I have now shared with multiple family members and friends. Thank you so much for this conversation!
I was a bit worried that there would be "sociologist speak", that is, use of words that don't mean anything to me because I am not familiar with the terminology (I'm a geophysicist) . So I was relieved that was not the case. Also thought that 2 hours was a good length of time.
D. Additional Anonymous Commentaries:
The idea behind "performative ally" and "social media ally" is an important one. I truly hope the many allies out there who are currently helping to raise awareness on the issue are also slowly making fundamental changes to the current system.
Bailey's informative, assertive, and helpful way of explaining things. I especially appreciated her analogies, and will happily co-opt them for hard conversations with my white family and friends.
I felt like I had a direction for the energy I have and how I can be a better ally for black people. I've always wanted to do something but feel inadequate and that would freeze me into inaction. Bailey's words gave me confidence to take action - no matter how small and to help me determine how and where I can be most effective.
Having people of color lead the event with no discussion from white persons.This is very important and we don't see that enough.
Image information: Vivian Malone registering as the first black woman to study at the University of Alabama on June 11 1963. She was also the first black woman to graduate from that school.