About Monthly Dialogues
We have been holding free monthly dialogues in the SF Bay Area since we began in 2011. At the monthly dialogues we dive deeper into a variety of topics related to gender(ed) oppression, white/light skin privilege and the work for racial justice. We ask that you come ready to speak from your personal relationship to this intersection.
A few of the themes that we have dialogued about so far include:
internalized worthlessness, radical self-love, and how to not throw each other under the bus, violence and safety, white women tears, immigrant justice, eco-feminism and whiteness, cultural appropriation, ancestry and class, white women in helping professions, gender and sexuality, difficult conversations (and communication patterns), witches, the psychology of racism, white motherhood, food justice, gentrification..
In addition, the dialogues help us to manifest projects such as writing, actions, theater, and resource sharing. (See all of our notes from past dialogues.)
HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Our dialogues were initially open to anyone interested, and in Spring 2013 we gathered feedback from participants and changed the format. Dialogues are now invitation only in order to create a space that holds a shared understanding, deeper focus and greater sense of accountability. Invitations are given to participants of our workshops (as well as special guests and participants of all past dialogues prior to this switch). As a collective we occasionally make exceptions to this policy for folks new to the Bay Area or the White Noise Collective who have extensive experience in anti-oppression/anti-racist pedagogies and who have explored the intersection of race and gender in other settings. Before extending an invitation to someone who has not participated in a previous dialogue or workshop, we ask to have an in-person, email, or phone conversation. Please understand that occasionally our capacity limits our ability for individual conversations, especially on short notice, but we do our best to accommodate everyone interested in engaging in dialogue around the intersection of white privilege and gender oppression. (Email us directly to start this process, or join our mailing list and indicate that you are new when RSVPing for a dialogue. Both our email and listserv signup are on the homepage, on the sidebar.)
WHO PARTICIPATES: While much effective work that addresses privilege and oppression happens in caucuses (identity groups), the work of White Noise Collective is not caucus work. We aim to hold a space that respects participants who have come from a broad spectrum of racial and gender identities who gather to explore common patterns at the intersections of whiteness and femaleness. The majority of the participants thus far identify as experiencing the socialization of white and female, but all are welcome to be a part of the conversation. (Read more about our participation intentions here.)
CHILDCARE: We do not currently have the capacity to set childcare up for our dialogues, but we’re open to getting it started if you’d like to help with the vision! Folks have occasionally brought little ones with them to dialogues, and this hasn’t been a problem.
DISABILITY AND ACCESS: In order to keep our dialogues free and financially accessible, we have our dialogues in the living rooms of our participants. Unfortunately, this means our dialogues are often in spaces that are not wheelchair accessible and are not scent free. As a collective, we are committed to continually exploring issues of access and disability, and strive to be as inclusive as possible. When you RSVP for the dialogue, please let us know about any access issues we can support. When we choose between the spaces offered for each dialogue, we will always identify the most accessible space possible and include this information in the final details we send out.
In line with our tradition of always trying new things (in 2014 this included a “White Noisemaker” intensive dialogue series and in 2015 we hosted quarterly dialogues for folks actively engaged in movement work and community organizing), this year we are going to have two dialogues that are dedicated book groups. We plan to discuss the book “The Problem With Work” in our May Dialogue. In October, we’ll be discussing Ghostly Matters. You don’t have to read the book to join, but we’re giving you plenty of notice in case you do want to read these books that are often getting referenced in our Dialogues!
WNC Dialogue Practices
As practices, these are meant to be practiced, not perfected. Dialogue is a space for practicing them, with the goal of building authentic trust, generating new ideas and preparing for liberatory action. They are inspired by Paulo Freire’s definition of “true dialogue” and 4 years of practice with the White Noise Collective
• Seek understanding of each others’ experiences and ideas (and acknowledge that full understanding might be impossible)
• Don’t assume anything about others’ lived experiences
• Let go of figuring out who is wrong or right
PERSONALIZE THE POLITICAL, POLITICIZE THE PERSONAL
• Strive for a balance between theory and lived experience
• Find commonalities in the room to discover patterns
• Make space for the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and systemic simultaneously and intersectionally
• Explore the intersections
• Hold “opposing” ideas simultaneously and see what happens.
• Ask, “how can this be both/and?”
RESPECT EACH OTHER AND YOURSELVES
• Respect each others’ humanity and the diverse range of outcomes and needs we may each be here to reach
• Be humble and horizontal – everyone in the room has something to learn and something to share – we are here as co-learners and co-creators
• Allow yourself to be both self-critical and self loving
GENERATE NEW IDEAS & ACTION
• Be curious & ask questions
• Cultivate praxis; reflect – take action – reflect and act again