Race & T-Group 2.0
I wasn’t fully qualified to start the T-Group 2.0 Community when I did.
I could teach the practice, facilitate the groups, and handle a bazillion logistical details, but what I couldn’t do (and what made me singularly unqualified) was create a container that was safe and inclusive for People of Color. It’s not a coincidence that few People of Color regularly attend our gatherings, and the responsibility for that is mine alone.
Race profoundly impacts the way that we experience and connect with one another, just like all markers of social identity (eg. gender, class, sexual orientation, age, etc.). While T-Group 2.0 is not a forum for having intellectual discussions or debates about race or social justice, it IS a space for investigating (in real time) how our differences impact the way we make sense of one another, the way we feel about one another, the way we interact with one another, and the way that we form connections with one another (or don’t).
At its very best, T-Group 2.0 is a tool that can help us more skillfully shed light on these dynamics so that we can see them clearly, as well as the impact they have on us, our relationships, and the dynamics of the group as a whole. It’s meant to be a laboratory where we can use that intelligence to practice communicating and relating in ways that create deeper, healthier, more authentic, more INCLUSIVE connection.
Thing is, if we are NOT including how race or any of our differences impact us and our connections, then we are erasing them; and to be a Person of Color in a space that erases race IS un-safe and non-inclusive. Part of privilege (whether it’s white privilege, male privilege, able-bodied privilege, etc.) is the *ability* to choose to not see these dynamics if you don’t want to — and that is erasing. People who hold white privilege tend to erase racial dynamics immediately and unconsciously, but regardless of intent, it is still an expression of white privilege, white supremacy, and racism.
I’ve been aware of this blind spot in myself, in my teaching, and in the containers I create for a long time. I’ve been working behind the scenes, educating myself and trying to figure out what to do about it. But it wasn’t until my friend Issachar Curbeeon approached me that I finally started to get some traction (and for that, I will be forever grateful).
She generously shared with me her experiences of frustration, disconnection, and pain in T-Groups where racial dynamics were clearly at play, but the container and processes for working with them were not in place. In our conversation, we hatched the idea to brainstorm and collaborate to create an event that fully harnesses the true power of T-Group 2.0 to:
Provide the pieces of essential education, both for POC and for white people, that will allow us to approach these dynamics and territories in a skillful, useful, and healing way, and
Give people an experiential arena for working with them (and transforming them) directly.
WANT TO HELP US?
Our next step is to put together a discussion group with POC folks who have been practicing T-Group, who have ideas, feedback, critiques, or just a desire to see this thing get off the ground. Reach out to Issachar or me and we’ll get back to you with details. The gathering will take place in Berkeley on Saturday, August 31 at 6:30 PM.
WHO WILL THIS BE FOR?
People of Color who want education and support in:
Recognizing the impact and effects of internalized racism as they show up in real-time communication,
Practicing showing up as your fully-empowered, fully-authentic self in spaces that include white people (instead of code switching, quieting yourself, playing it safe, etc.), and
Cultivating the tools and courage to name when white supremacy and racism surface in your interactions in ways that deepen your self-awareness as well as the connection and understanding you have with others.
White people who want education and support in:
Fearlessly uncovering how white supremacy and racism have been programmed into your mind and maintained through habitual behaviors,
Learning about how all of that plays out in your connections with people who are different from you (eg. the immediate interpretations and responses you have from moment-to-moment), and
Finding ways to transcend that programming so that you can enjoy deeper, more authentic connections with people who are different from you, while also staying present and emotionally available when receiving feedback about or realizing for yourself the ways that you perpetuate racism and white supremacy.
What we will all be working on together is finding ways to notice and get curious about our programming, connecting more deeply with people who are different from us, and testing out techniques to name and interrupt interpersonal habits that sustain racism and white supremacy.
THANK YOU WE LOVE YOU.
Issachar & Crystallin