Developing Racial Pattern Recognition Skills to Undo Racism

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This session will introduce the concept of “racial pattern recognition” as a frame to help learners detect systemic issues related to racism and oppression. Join us as we continue to discuss effective strategies to teach justice and equity issues without shame and blame.

Humans are born with basic pattern recognition skills which allow us to make meaning and navigate the world around us whether learning to speak, read and write, or identifying songs we like to navigating our phone controls by touch and feel. Pattern detection is essential to our very survival as a species. As social justice activists and educators, we have developed a keen awareness to repeated cycles of racial inequity, whether it is the school-to-prison pipeline in education, over-policing in criminal justice or undertreatment in health care. And we are bewildered and often enraged when others do not, or cannot, recognize these systemic patterns that appear so obvious.

But what is obvious to some can be learned by all.

This session will introduce the concept of “racial pattern recognition” as a frame to help learners detect systemic issues related to racism and oppression. We will also explore why the “prejudice habit” is hard to break and why the principle of “slow-is-fast” from trauma therapy is critical to individual as well as policy change. Join us as we continue to discuss effective strategies to teach justice and equity issues without shame and blame.


Teaching Racial Justice Without Shame or Blame

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Using road-tested, trauma-informed strategies developed over 25 years, this cafe will argue that psychological literacy is a key part of what is missing and could strengthen racial and social justice work. Ideas from this session will draw on the newly revised edition of “Deep Diversity: A Compassionate, Scientific Approach to Achieving Racial Justice”, by Shakil Choudhury.

Are you a racial justice educator who: Is frustrated by the resistance and fragility you experience among people you hope to bring along on the equity journey? Has felt that traditional anti-racist/anti-oppression approaches offer useful strategies but also seem imbalanced, one-sided or ineffective? Has experienced, or want to avoid, emotional burnout, and want a way of doing the work that is more personally sustainable?

Then this session may be useful for you! Using road-tested, trauma-informed strategies developed over 25 years, this cafe will argue that psychological literacy—defined broadly as learning that supports deep self-reflection, self-regulation and compassion—is a key part of what is missing and could strengthen racial and social justice work. It is possible to engage learners in this emotionally charged work without (or by minimizing) feelings of shame and blame. Ideas from this session will draw on the newly revised edition of “Deep Diversity: A Compassionate, Scientific Approach to Achieving Racial Justice”, by Shakil Choudhury (to be released September 2021).


The Roots of Rumi: Cultural Celebration vs. Appropriation

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Join host Annahid Dashtgard and guests as with the advent of Nowrooz (Persian New Year) on March 21, we explore the fine line between celebrating diverse cultures vs. appropriating them. With guests Khashayar Mohammadi, Persian poet, author of upcoming poetry book Me, You, Then Snow, and Professor Emma Lind, leader of Decoding Race for White Leaders course.

Join host Annahid Dashtgard and guests as with the advent of Nowrooz (Persian New Year) on March 21, we explore the fine line between celebrating diverse cultures vs. appropriating them. Taking Rumi as an example, we look at the western love affair with Rumi, one divorced from his Islamic heritage and roots. What questions do we need to develop respectful relationships with other cultures? How can we acknowledge the culture we are part of ourselves?

With guests Khashayar Mohammadi, Persian poet, author of upcoming poetry book Me, You, Then Snow, and Professor Emma Lind, leader of Decoding Race for White Leaders course.


Black History Month: Between Pride and Protest

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This cafe explores how Black History Month both helps and hinders forward movement for the Black community. Senior Facilitator, Mahlon Evans-Sinclair and guests, Akilah Hamilton, Parker Johnson and Jessica Oddy, take stock of where we are, how we got here and how we move forward while building collective capacity and courage.

What are the common understandings of why we celebrate Black History Month and for whom do we celebrate it? Are the moments of pride for Black communities the same as the national narratives and how are the continued protests for civil rights framed by both?

This cafe explores how Black History Month both helps and hinders forward movement for the Black community. How much are we talking about current Black Lives vs. the narrowed framing of past leaders with universal appeal (such as Martin Luther King)? How much does the American narrative obscure the specifics of how Black identity is experienced across the border and beyond? How much of the inequity gap have we really closed?

In this episode Senior Facilitator, Mahlon Evans-Sinclair and guests, Akilah Hamilton, Parker Johnson and Jessica Oddy, take stock of where we are, how we got here and how we move forward while building collective capacity and courage.


Post-Election Debrief: Leadership for this Age of Discord

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In this episode Shakil Choudhury and guests, Judy Rebick and Parker Johnson, take stock of where we are, how we got here and how we move forward while building collective capacity and courage.

The US is in a political crisis due to unclear election results. What is clear is that US democracy is broken, with at least half the electorate voting for an authoritarian leader who is racist, corrupt and undermines democracy on a daily basis.

Regardless of who actually becomes president, the implications are global in nature, especially for minoritized peoples. the next 50 years are being described as another historical “age of discord”.


Why Leaders Should Use the “F” Word More Often: Rising Authoritarianism in a Trumpian Era

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In this episode we call to action the need to build community and capacity in our personal, community and professional lives as a response to the current stormy political era we are in.

On the eve of the most important US election in generations, democracy in that—and other western contexts— is in crisis. we need to stop being hypnotized by Donald Trump’s theatrics and incivility to see the broader patterns of behaviour: that of a classic authoritarian leader.

In response, leaders from civil society, workplaces and beyond need to get comfortable using the “f” word: fascism. Although still incomprehensible to most mainstream North Americans, using an evidence-based approach to demonstrate  the frame of authoritarianism and fascism better helps explain the current political moment of Trump and his allies.

Putting their words, actions and the related violence into context…with implications for racial minorities globally.