December 2, 2019

EXPLORING WHITENESS – A white woman’s reflections on conversations about whiteness

By Julian Walker

On 7th November I was privileged to partner with @Tracie Jolliff facilitating two 75 minute Exploring Whiteness conversations at the annual gathering of the @NTL Community. Twenty two of us participated across both sessions, all but three of whom were white. Tracie and I aimed to create space to examine what it means to be white. We provided light-touch process facilitation, offered theory inputs and intentionally shared our personal responses as the conversation emerged.

I offer these reflections to encourage myself and other white people to continue inquiring into our whiteness. I believe that only by doing this work can we develop capacity to challenge racism and thus share the burden which too often we leave people of colour to bear alone.

I offer five learnings, followed by my personal lessons from the process of writing this. As a white woman who didn’t begin my racial education until I was 40, I want to reassure other white folks who find this work difficult, scary, perplexing or painful – our discomfort doesn’t mean we’re getting it wrong, probably the opposite.