Avoiding Blame, Shame & Pain

skyline2womenWhen our clients anticipate holding a diversity activity or event, there’s sometimes a real fear of opening Pandora’s box. It can be hard not to feel like the conversation will simply inflame tensions without resolving anything.  Yet dialogue and understanding across racial divides is critical to interrupting the dynamics of social and economic disparities. What is the solution?

Blame, shame and pain
You notice tension in body language: arms crossed, white participants are nervous, feeling blamed. Participants of color, on the other hand, are re-wounded when white people question their experiences of oppression.  Outcomes like these lead people to disengage from equity efforts.

Productive, healing discourse is possible.
By building relationships at the outset of your diversity activity and placing the “blame” on the system of inequity, the focus is on learning, personal insight and connection. Participants in your diversity and inclusion session can then open to cross-cultural dialogue that they might not have imagined was possible.

Simple, powerful approach to avert unnecessary “blame, shame & pain.”
Here are elements of the World Trust approach to racial equity events:
1. Begin by building community.
2. Share a simple frame that explains how systemic inequity functions.
3. Offer equity learning benefits to both white people and people of color.
4. Leverage the power of story — the right stories — by using film.
5. Get people talking.

These simple components can be a powerful catalyst for change; a unique “head and heart” approach that can engage a broad audience and inspire individuals to action. Participant leave this challenging diversity session inspired to make positive changes in their relationships and in the world.

Ideas & Tools

Practice leading a small group in conversation about race.
Get started today using a popular 4-minute clip from our film Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity. Here is how.

Hold a film and dialogue diversity event.
Our documentary films are designed for productive diversity sessions and come with conversation guides. Explore our films.

Engage a workshop facilitator.
Need more support? Our workshops are led by talented educators with experience in a variety of sectors. Workshops are designed to support transformative learning, empowering client organizations to pursue structural change. Find out more about our workshop formats.

The World Trust approach to diversity education is built on a foundation of film and dialogue. We foster deep, transformational learning with the power to build and heal communities. To learn more about the hallmarks of an effective diversity event, click here.