Human Resources Director Arnita Walls scheduled a mandatory all-day staff and faculty training, Transforming White Privilege, on Friday, April 13, 2018. More than 70 Luther Seminary employees attended. An overview of the workshop is below.
The Transforming White Privilege (TWP) curriculum is designed to help current and emerging leaders from a variety of sectors better identify, talk about, and intervene to address white privilege and its consequences. The curriculum includes lessons plans, handouts, PowerPoint slides, and video clips covering a number of key concepts, tools, and strategies for change. For example, the curriculum helps groups explore dominant cultural assumptions and perspectives about what is considered normal, appropriate, desirable and/or valid. Dominant culture narratives or norms – e.g. what constitutes a “family,” who is considered dangerous, intelligent, acceptable, and whose perspectives are valid – are codified in customs, laws, institutions, policies, and practices. They reinforce stereotypes and limit fair access in terms of who belongs inside and who remains outside circles of human concern (as the concept is used by John Powell and others). In addition, cultural assumptions are part of what continue to advantage some groups and disadvantage others. And, even when those inequities are persistent and obvious, the history and current policies and practices that drive them often may not be. The deep investigation and chance to “work with” these ideas can help build participants’ capacity to identify, talk productively about, and act to address white culture, white privilege, and their consequences in their spheres of influence.