Some Angles on Eliminating Racism

At our Area workshop we focused on eliminating racism.

On Friday evening we worked on closeness and ending isolation. I used Gwen Brown's article, "Closeness as the Key Contradiction," and talked about a strong fabric of connectedness being the "ground floor" on which to build our work on eliminating racism.

On Saturday I did six demonstrations up front, and we all had lots of discharge time. Three-way sessions worked especially well, with people staying in the same groups for two hours. The discharge was heavy. We counseled on the following topics:

  • closeness with a person of color in our lives
  • our earliest memories of noticing differences based on race
  • slavery
  • "I come from good people."

Many of us had been scared that we wouldn't be able to discharge about racism and therefore had avoided working on it. The experience of discharging successfully on racism, with suggestions for how to get started, gave us confidence that we could keep discharging on it. People were excited and eager. Many said they could now see a way to continue. I suggested that they set up three-way sessions at home to track each other in working on eliminating racism, and I encouraged them to agree to keep checking in about how it was going, and to see that it was going. I also suggested discharging on closeness and racism for at least part of every Co-Counseling session.

It was new for me to think about discharging on racism in the same systematic way we've found it necessary to discharge on early sexual hurts. I talked about the massive societal confusion about sex and how we are set up to be constantly restimulated by it. In RC we've figured out that we need to discharge systematically, for hours and hours over a long period of time, to clean out the early hurts related to sex and gain some slack in that area. Working on racism is similar. Society is set up to keep us constantly restimulated about race, separated from each other, confused, and without enough information. We need to go after racist distress with the same kind of determination we've applied to sexual distress.

Susan Freundlich
Oakland, California, USA

Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07