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50 min DVD & downloadable Conversation Guide

Shakti Butler

Mirrors of Privilege:
Making Whiteness Visible


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Mirrors of Privilege:
Making Whiteness Visible

Engage white people in meaningful conversation about race

Use this groundbreaking film and conversation guide in your organization to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful change. Featuring stories from white men and women on overcoming issues of unconscious bias and entitlement, it is an powerful and unique tool in diversity work.

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The stories in the film reveal what is often required to move through the stages of denial, defensiveness, guilt, fear, and shame into making a solid commitment to ending racial injustice. This film catalyzes powerful dialogue to support the learning, change and healing of all people who want to undo race-based oppression. Featuring: Tim Wise, Joe Fahey, Peggy V. McIntosh, Marguerite Parks, Gary Howard and many more.

Why this film?

After many years of doing diversity work, we recognized that an unhelpful pattern often emerged in the learning environment. In a typical workshop, people of color were asked to share their stories. The people of color in the seminar had a lot to say and a need to be heard and understood. White people were usually overwhelmed by what was shared, and moved into guilt, shame or denial. That left the people of color vulnerable to judgment or rejection by the white participants. People of color often ended up being the source of ”the problem” without any real learning taking place. An unintended consequence, this pattern blocked healing and reinforced the fracture that racial misunderstanding causes all too frequently. It was clear that to enable participants to move beyond historical and contemporary understanding about race, that pattern needed to change and different tools were needed. This film is designed to support a new, more effective dynamic of learning and healing between racial groups.

How does Mirrors of Privilege change the dynamic? How is it helpful?

First, Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible allows white people to find their own voice, and to reflect on their own experience and understanding. They hear from role models — other white people who have already committed themselves to racial justice. This has been a missing piece in social justice and cultural competency work. And, when viewing this film, people of color have an opportunity to focus on their own issues of internalized racism, should they chose to do so. The film’s Conversation Guide provides structure for equal opportunity learning. In concert with the film, it allows the issue of racism to be discussed in a way that is not at the expense of people of color. Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible provides pathways for learning and analysis that can build real bridges between white people and people of color, who can then have authentic relationships across a racial divide.

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Who Should Use This Film

This film is an ideal tool for:

  • Higher Education Courses
  • Health Equity: Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers
  • K-12 Teacher, Administrator and Parents
  • Student Life Workshops
  • Philanthropy
  • Nonprofits and B Corps
  • Faith-Based Groups, Multicultural Congregations

What People are Saying

  • “Mirrors of Privilege helped 1300 teachers in our district to move forward in their journey to cultural competence.”
    - Gerald Denman, Executive Director of Diversity Affairs, Washington State School District
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  • Whites often resist engaging in conversation about race. They don’t want to feel guilty about the past. Mirrors of Privilege is a powerful way to overcome that resistance. Through stories told by whites, we see how we benefit from injustice, how we participate in perpetuating it, and we can recognize our moral and ethical obligation to unmask and undo systemic racism.
    - Robert Gray, PhD, Faculty Development Services, University of Southern Alabama
  • “A triumphant achievement! Shakti Butler has managed to engage white Americans in an honest discussion of race and privilege that has eluded this nation for 3 centuries. This is a film that ALL Americans need to see.”
    - Shauna Marshall Academic Dean, Hastings School of the Law
  • This film goes beyond a basic awareness of racism to explore the subtle, rarely acknowledged roots of self-hatred and lack of under-standing among even the most progressive people
    - Gary Delgado, Former Executive Director, Race ForwardResearch Center
  • Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible is a moving call, long-overdue, coming from the heart of white people working to restore their own humanity.
    - Van Jones Founder, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change and Green for All
  • Compelling…images and voices largely missing from America’s discussion of race.
    - - Carol Estes, Editor, YES Magazine
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