What is Caucus?
White people and people of color each have work to do separately and together. Caucuses provide spaces for people to work within their own racial/ethnic groups. For white people, a caucus provides time and space to work explicitly and intentionally on understanding white culture and white privilege and to increase one’s critical analysis around these concepts. A white caucus also puts the onus on white people to teach each other about these ideas, rather than constantly relying on people of color to teach them. For people of color, a caucus is a place to work with their peers on their experiences of internalized racism, for healing and to work on liberation.
White people are often uncomfortable with the idea of white caucuses as part of racial equity work. A typical comment is “if we are working on racism, isn’t it better for us to learn together?” It does feel awkward to separate by race. Yet such separation occurs all the time in real life, and many times that reality is not understood or interrogated as it is when participating in a caucus. Since white people often find learning about whiteness and white privilege a steep learning curve, taking advantage of caucus time to do this work can be extremely useful.
Groups that use caucuses in their racial equity work generally meet separately and then come back together for collective work. Accountability is a key principle of this work.
The caucus typically meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 12pm, in the Whitted Board of Health Room. In order to increase participation we’re looking at creating flexibility into this schedule. So, during our current open enrollment period in which new members can join caucus, we invite you to join us at Whitted or if you cannot travel, let us know so we can set up a Skype option.
New members of caucus will need to have completed the Racial Equity Phase I, Latinx Challenge, or a training facilitated by Open Source to ensure that we all have a common language to use in our conversations.
If you have any questions or would like to talk more about what it looks and feels like to participate in caucusing, please feel free to reach out to any member of the caucus that you feel comfortable with.
Dr. Stephanie George
It's when we care for each other - choosing inclusion and love over division and hatred - that this great country is at its greatest.
It’s all about the podcast these days, friends. What’s your favorite one? This month, we’re sharing our favorite podcasts that go at issues of race (and culture, movies, current events, art, etc.). Give them a listen and send us an email to let us know what you think (we’ll share responses in the next newsletter!). Here’s the rundown:
Code Switch: npr.org/podcasts/510312/codeswitch
Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get…stuck? Code Switch can help. We’re all journalists of color, and this isn’t just the work we do. It’s the lives we lead. Sometimes, we’ll make you laugh. Other times, you’ll get uncomfortable. But we’ll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic. Come mix it up with us.
Pod Save the People: crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-the-people/
Organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson explores news, culture, social justice, and politics through deep conversations with influencers and experts, and the weekly news with fellow activists Brittany Packnett and Sam Sinyangwe, and writer Clint Smith. Each week brings a news analysis, followed by deep conversations about social, political and cultural issues with experts, influencers, and diverse local and national leaders.
Seeing White: sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/
Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.
Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for?
Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen took a deep dive into these questions, along with an array of leading scholars and regular guest Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika.
Show About Race: showaboutrace.com/
Co-discussants Anna Holmes, Baratunde Thurston, Raquel Cepeda and Tanner Colby host a lively multiracial, interracial conversation about the ways we can’t talk, don’t talk, would rather not talk, but intermittently, fitfully, embarrassingly do talk about culture, identity, politics, power, and privilege in our pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America. This show is "About Race."
Still Processing: .nytimes.com/column/still-processing-podcast
Step inside the confession booth of Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham, two culture writers for The New York Times. They devour TV, movies, art, music and the internet to find the things that move them — to tears, awe and anger. Still Processing is where they try to understand the pleasures and pathologies of America in 2019.
Sooo Many White Guys: wnycstudios.org/shows/whiteguys
Intimate, funny conversations with all kinds of artists who (mostly) aren’t white dudes. Hosted by Phoebe Robinson.
Email REC at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
REC encourages all staff to attend REI trainings (REI Phase l & ll, Latinx Challenge Workshops, Groundwaters, etc.) more than once in order to begin to form a common language and analysis lens among us all. Once trained, we encourage staff participation in the joint and affinity caucusing groups. For more training opportunities please visit https://www.oaralliance.org/ and https://www.racialequityinstitute.org/.