Breaking White Silence Project
About the Project
Breaking White Silence is a project of the Phinney Neighborhood Association. The primary purpose is to educate white people on the structures and patterns of racism, by forming free, facilitated study groups focused on reading and discussing Robin DiAngelo’s What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy (Revised Edition)
The broader intention of these groups is to build a community of racially literate white people who can support each other’s ongoing learning and action toward the advancement of racial justice.
All Breaking White Silence groups are run with no charge to participants. We have 50 copies of What Does It Mean to Be White? available to be borrowed from the PNA by study group participants for the duration of their group.
- Read an article about the study groups
- Video: Watch Breaking White Silence Affinity Group members Mary Holscher and Paul Finley being interviewed for the Community Issues Group by Na’eem Shareef of the Al-Islam Center in Seattle
Upcoming Online Study Groups
Every other Wednesday, 7-8:30 pm. Zoom
Sept 23, Oct 7 & 21, Nov 4 & 18, Dec 2
Facilitator: Jenny Gardon
To register: Email [email protected]
Every other Sunday, 1-3 pm. Zoom
Oct. 11 & 25, Nov 8 & 22, Dec 6 & 20
Facilitators: Julie Gilmour and Suzanne Engelberg
To register: Email [email protected]
Email Cecily at [email protected] to get notified when a new group is starting.
Using Dr. Robin DiAngelo’s book What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy to encourage personal reflection and conversation, this study group is a first step to open up conversations about whiteness, white privilege, and racism.
Dr. DiAngelo is a race and social justice educator and author of the 2018 New York Times best-selling book White Fragility. Her work has been featured at the Seattle Public Library and in NPR, Slate, and The New Yorker. To learn more about the book, visit robindiangelo.com.
The study groups are geared to adults of all ages. Middle school and high school students are also welcome. We especially encourage men to join this group, since so far they have been underrepresented in Breaking White Silence study groups. Although all are encouraged to purchase the book, there are some available to borrow.
- Resources by Dr. Robin DiAngelo or about her work specifically
- Thirty books suggested by staff librarians on the topic of “Interrupting Whiteness” (all available through the Seattle Public Library)
- New books not yet on the “Interrupting Whiteness” list, but available through the library:
- Ijeoma Oluo. So You Want to Talk About Race. New York: Seal Press. 2018 [Reader’s Guide]
- Robin DiAngelo. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Boston: Beacon Press. 2018
- Related essay in The New Yorker: Katy Waldman. “A Sociologist Examines the ‘White Fragility’ that Prevents White Americans from Confronting Racism.” The New Yorker. July 23, 2018.
- 2015 Seattle Race Conference keynote address by Letitia Nieto, “Awakening to What Works: Practical Approaches to Deep Social Change”
- Shelly Tochluk. Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It, Second Edition. Lanham, MD: R&L Education. 2010 [Workshop Series aligned with this book]
Stay tuned! Have an event to recommend? Please email [email protected].
Interested in becoming a facilitator? Explore the toolkit to learn more.
About the Breaking White Silence Affinity Group
The BWS Affinity Group serves as the steering committee for the Breaking White Silence project. This group is made up of eight community members, including one PNA staff person, who work to educate themselves and do the work of interrupting racism through Breaking White Silence group and other activism in the community.
To reach out to the committee or to find out more about please contact Cecily Kaplan at [email protected]