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DEI for White Administrators

Posted on April 25, 2022 by Alice Moore

Head of Lower School 

Dear colleagues,

I just completed the last in a three-part series of workshops hosted by CATDC called “From Theory to Action: DEI for White Administrators”. It was led by the San Francisco Equity Leaders Team; some of whom many of you know!

I was drawn to this training because of exactly what Renita said before the last Incluu session: this work (being an anti-racist educator/co-conspirator) is a muscle that needs to be strengthened and that requires practice and constant work.

There was so much packed into these three 90 minute workshops that it would be hard to cover everything in this write up, but here are some highlights:

The first session was individually-focused in nature, starting with reflecting on our own racial autobiography. I have done this activity before and usually write about my awareness of race and not as much about how whiteness has shaped me. As a white person, one’s racial autobiography starts well before one’s birth. Tim Wise writes about this in his book, White Like Me. In the first session, we also watched a video of Heather Hackman talking about how to replace guilt and shame with curiosity, grief, and humility. It is well worth watching.

In the second session, we reflected on our racial biographies, asking: How do we present, outwardly and inwardly? How does the way we self-identify compare with how we’re likely perceived? How does this impact our role as administrators? How are we going to de-center whiteness?

We talked about authentic engagement, how to recognize stress so that we can be our best selves, and how to make difficult moments learning moments by breathing, waiting to respond, listening, and seeking understanding. I wrote down this quote, though didn’t write down who said it, “Every conversation is a threat to someone’s identity.” We talked about things that impede vs build relationships and trust.

The third session had us focus back on our schools and the different styles of power there are- and that we have- in relation to this work in our schools. We worked individually on a “culture scorecard” for our schools and then in small groups to discuss an action item we would take at our own schools.

I am so glad that I attended this workshop for so many reasons. As a white school leader, I feel the need to be extra vigilant about my words, actions, and responses. I have so much to learn and reflect on. I seek to have a positive impact through my role at Burke’s and know that this comes with a huge amount of responsibility and work that is ongoing.

I am happy to discuss any and all of this any time!

San Francisco Equity Leaders Site:

Heather Hackman - Video:

PD - Folio Post

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