~ an online training program for white people commited to racial justice ~
If there was ever a time in recent history for white people to take action to end racism, this is it.
The election of Trump has shaken white people's understanding of racism to its core. It's revealed what many people of color have known and been naming for generations – that the US has deeply normalized white supremacy and is built on a foundation of systemic oppression.
As a white person dedicated to social justice, you've known how racist Trump's campaign has been – but perhaps you didn't know how capable so many white people, perhaps including your own family and friends, were of electing him.
You may be finding yourself coming to terms with just how prevalent and harmful white supremacy is – and how your white privilege has kept you ignorant and in denial of this reality in the first place.
So when Trump's policies start rolling out, you know you want to be fighting alongside people of color. But you also know that you may feel frozen in place by the feelings of shock, confusion, denial, and guilt that many white people have been dealing with since the election.
It's understandable for white people to have those feelings as they begin to notice we don't live in a post-racial society as we've been taught and how pervasive systemic racism actually is.
You just don't want those feelings to stop you from taking action.
This starts with not running away from the racism that exists both within yourself and your communities. Instead, it means acknowledging it – and that is a painful process.
With our unique Compassionate Activism approach, you can learn how to hold that pain of racism in a way that's healing and comes from a place of love and justice.
That way, you become increasingly free to take action against white supremacy – from a sense of wholeness and shared humanity.
"Healing from Toxic Whiteness provides white anti-racists with crucial missing tools for the most challenging aspect of our work - navigating our own emotional reactions when confronted with the realities of white supremacy. These tools help us to work through our knee-jerk tendency to reject ourselves or other white people when we encounter how racism operates through us. With these tools, we can take on one of our most crucial responsibilities - to engage in productive dialogue with those who knowingly or unknowingly defend white supremacy. This program has helped me to become a more effective change agent by becoming more accepting of what is, within me and around me - so that I can be present to it, honor it, and transform it with courageous compassion." - Lenore
Once you notice just how insidious and ingrained racism really is – and how often you find yourself unintentionally upholding it – it can feel like your whole worldview is being shaken.
As you think about what you personally can do to address racism, you may find yourself wrestling with questions like:
How can I make sure I don't accidentally say something that's racist and hurts people I care about?
I know I need to speak up against racism more, but when does speaking up cross the line into speaking over people of color?
What do I do when I discover I've been subconsciously stereotyping and judging people of color?
I feel so guilty about having white privilege, but am I really willing to give up that privilege? Do I even know what that means?
How can I figure out what I should be doing to fight racism without burdening people of color by constantly asking them what I should do?
How do I deal with the fact that I’m scared to talk to other white people about racism when they often get really angry at me?
What, then, do white people need to do to fully engage in anti-racism work?
For white people to truly engage in anti-racism work, they must first engage with their unconscious conditioning to think and act in racist ways.
This is often the first obstacle in approaching this work – and because it is so normalized and insidious, it can feel insurmountable.
While white people are not inherently or inevitably racist, they are all raised in societies built on systemic racism and have been bombarded since birth with conflicting messages that teach them to:
Think and act in racist ways that personally benefit them at the expense of communities of color
View these racist behaviors as either racially neutral or even actively anti-racist (like being “colorblind”)
Believe that since they don’t personally benefit or intentionally engage in racism, they have no personal responsibility to do anything to end it
Not notice how our society is structured so that white people are seen as full human beings and treated as "normal," while people of color are seen as stereotypes and treated as less then
Believe that being racist is one of the worst things you can be, in order to scare them from acknowleding the racism inside of them
This means the question needs to shift from “Am I a racist?” to “How will I work towards undoing the racism I was raised with and have internalized?"
Because while we’d all love it if we could jump from being raised in a deeply racist society to becoming completely anti-racist, it doesn’t work like that.
The desire to not be racist is not enough, by itself, to stop someone from being racist.
By becoming conscious of your own conditioning, you will be able to choose whether or not to continue to do as you’ve been taught, or to act in accordance with your values of justice and humanity.
This can be a painful and disruptive process – but the only way out is through.
That's why we created this Healing from Toxic Whiteness training program.
Because getting in touch with our pain is the only way to heal it.
What You Will Gain
This online training program is based on the Compassionate Activism approach and is designed to teach you the very healing practices that white supremacy and other forms of systemic oppression desperately don’t want you to have.
Through this online training program, you'll be able to:
Identify the pain that’s behind your resistance and struggle to take action for racial justice
Give your pain the gentle, loving care and attention it deserves, while holding the space for others to do the same
Get back all the time and energy you normally spend on feeling confused, anxious, and angry with yourself and others around racism and direct them towards taking action instead
Stop being scared of discovering how you've been harmful and welcome the opportunity to hold yourself accountable in order to restore loving justice
Get alternatives to silencing yourself or coddling other people who are being harmful
Engage in dialogue with other people without letting fear drive you
Help other white people transform their ignorance and defensiveness into greater consciousness and motivation to act in that solidarity with people of color
"I joined Healing from Toxic Whiteness because I wanted to act against racial injustice, but felt frustrated because that felt so theoretical to me. This program has opened my eyes to the racism around me and in me, and has allowed me to let go of my sense of guilt, entitlement, and all that goes along with “toxic whiteness.” I can now be closer to others, including people of color, because I am being my real self, and that has been such a gift." – Aiyana
How the Online Program Works
Activism isn't one size fits all and neither is this program. Everyone's time, capacity, and engagement style is different. So here's how we've built this program to fit into your schedule:
10 Video Modules
10 weeks of in-depth video-based content with transcripts to help you integrate this approach into your life
Readings, exercises, and guided visualizations supplement the video training sessions
Private Facebook Group
A private Facebook group exclusively for program members to support each other and work through challenges together
Lifetime access to the modules so you can revisit them as often as you'd like, whenever you'd like
The program starts on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, and at that time, you'll receive an email notifying you of how to begin accessing the program. Each week after that you'll get an email letting you know when the next module has been released. You can access the modules on Teachable's platform at any time, from anywhere.
"Healing from Toxic Whiteness has helped me to have more productive and genuine interactions with people, especially those who don't share my exact beliefs. Now I'm also able to better care for myself and more effectively navigate my own path towards an anti-racist existence. I still stand up for my values, but it is now from a place of greater wholeness, openness, and stability." – Gabriela
Drawing upon mindfulness and other Buddhist practices, this Compassionate Activism program is broke out into 10 modules released weekly.
Module 1 - A Framework on How White Supremacy Emotionally Harms White People
While white supremacy obviously benefits white people in many social and material ways, it's actually far more emotionally harmful for them than we often realize. Since our society struggles to acknowledge the pain of people of color from racism, it's understandable that we don't for white people either. However, given how common it is for white people to express disproportionate amounts of anger and denial at the mere mention of them doing something racist, there's clearly some pain they're running away from.
During colonial America, white supremacy began to offer people of European descent a Faustian bargain – granting them white privilege in exchange for giving up their own humanity and pre-racism sense of identity. It was the only way to get white people to disregard the ongoing pain of people of color at the hands of other white people and institutions.
This means racism requires white people to numb out their own hearts and disconnect them from their own cultural heritage and historical struggles. And most are only just beginning to realize that.
Module 2 - The Cyclical Journey of Healing from Privilege
White privilege disconnects white people from the reality of racism so they won't notice it happening within them and all around them, creating the need for white people to proactively reconnect themselves to this reality in order to address it.
However, this is often a painful and disturbing process because it requires them to acknowledge that they've been kept ignorant of the reality of racism while at the same time personally benefiting from it.
To be fully in touch with racism is to feel the pain of it and be moved by it to take action to alleviate it. As white people become more racially conscious, it opens them up to pain they hadn't even realized was there before.
Module 3 -The Compassionate Activism Approach
Without some way of holding these many layers of pain, it is too easy and understandable for white people to revert back to being unconscious and disconnected. However, just because we reject our own pain doesn't mean it goes away.
Instead that pain grows in the background, unconsciously driving our reactions of fear and anger in ways that are not aligned with our values. This is why so many well-intentioned white people react defensively when they get called out for racism and refuse to engage in that conversation.
Compassionate Activism holds the space for people to get in touch with their pain in an affirming, humanizing way so they can know what to heal. Because once we care for our pain, we begin to hold all of ourselves, including the parts we had been rejecting. From this place of wholeness, we're able to move with greater presence and respond to situations from our values of love and justice.
Module 4 - The First Practice of Noticing Toxicity and Acknowledging Multiple Realities
Due to their unconscious conditioning by white supremacy, many white people – even when they understand racism is wrong – don’t realize how often they associate white culture and experiences with what's “normal” and “good."
This often leads them to struggle with acknowledging that their experiences may not actually be the norm.
Learning to recognize toxic whiteness and engage with it can ground white people in what is actually happening rather than filtering the world through the lies of white supremacy.
Module 5 - The Second Practice of Humble Curiosity and Gentle Mindfulness
When we hurt someone unintentionally, we generally feel pain at realizing that. However, in order to avoid feeling that pain, we often tend to engage in a lot of denial and judgment in order to shift the focus away from the original harm we've caused.
That’s why leaning in with humble curiosity – embracing the idea that maybe we don’t know everything and that there’s more to understand – opens us up to explore what’s happening within us without judging, shaming, or blaming ourselves or others. With this curiosity, we’re able to stay with our feelings until we get to the core pain at play.
This helps shift well-intentioned white people away from denying how they’re expressing racism and towards exploring what implicit biases may have surfaced in them. That way, their energy can be channeled into acting in solidarity with people of color, rather than against them.
Module 6 - The Third Practice of Compassionate Self-Accountability and Radical Education
Once we're aware of the pain we’re experiencing, we can take responsibility for the fact that we had not been attending to it before. This involves acknowledging what you’ve done, how it contributes to systemic racism, the impacts that both realizing and not realizing that have had on you, and what you can do to make amends.
Making amends means addressing your white privilege and examining how it's allowed you to ignore the collective harm you’ve contributed to because it personally benefited you.
This process raises a crucial question: How will you realign your actions with your values so as to not contribute to collective harm? The answer begins with listening to the perspectives of people of color – and learning how your ignorance has upheld a legacy of systemic racism.
Module 7 - The Fourth Practice of Compassionate Truth-Telling and Consciousness-Raising Inquiry
Since systemic harm happens in relationships, part of the healing process involves taking actions to restore those relationships with both people of color and white folks.
Once you learn how to be in touch with your pain and take responsibility for having caused harm, you will then be able to do the same with those you have harmed (if they agree to discussing it with you). You'll also be able to share these experiences of healing with your community of white peers so that they may learn from them.
In holding the space for ourselves to share our truth, we are more able to hold space for others as well – even when that truth is different from our own. In engaging with other white people in particular, you can work towards raising consciousness, interrogating biases, and confronting the impact of those biases on people of color.
Module 8 - The Fifth Practice of Shared Envisioning and Compassionate Non-Cooperation
When we view someone as our adversary, then much of our time and energy goes into dealing with the resistances present in our relationship. However, once we're reconnected through compassion and mutual understanding for our respective truths, we're able to identify our shared values of ending racism.
Only then can we co-create a vision that is inspiring and strategic in order to advance our shared goals. Sometimes, though, we cannot or don't want to collaborate with certain people, and that's okay. In these moments we can choose to not work with them – without making them wrong for it or retaliating against them for it.
Instead, we can wish them continued healing and growth so that we may be able to work together to build a more just, loving world in the future.
Module 9 - The Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring Internal Justice with Compassion
Compassionate Activism consists of practices that run counter to most of what we've been taught by society. This usually means we are pretty bad at taking on this new approach. Even for the most skillful, there are still some moments where we can get emotionally stuck and struggle to apply the practices.
Therefore this step-by-step guide was designed to be your mini-guide to the process until you become more skillful at Compassionate Activism and can more easily apply the different practices where appropriate. This guide covers the first three practices focusing on the internal process of getting in touch with your own pain and healing it.
Module 10 - The Step-by-Step Guide to Restoring External Justice with Compassion
This step-by-step guide covers the last two practices focusing on the external process of holding the space with and for someone else to engage in these conversations. It shows us how to intentionally and explicitly set up the conversation so potential roadblocks are addressed and the other person is invited into engaging rather than forced or coerced.
While it can't guarantee it, this approach greatly increases the chances that the conversation will lead to reconnection and the co-creation of a new, inclusive, and anti-oppressive future.
"Compassionate Activism has absolutely and powerfully impacted and shaped a new way for me to look at everything. More than ever before, I’m able to move closer to the most painful and raw situations in my life to more deeply understand what I am experiencing. Even if I’m upset with them, I’m also much more able to understand where other folks are coming from. I’m seeing the impact of this program playing out almost daily in my life!" –Bernardita
Costs and Logistics
This online social justice training program costs only $97 USD. This all-inclusive fee gives you access to:
10 weekly modules that teach you how to integrate Compassionate Activism into your life starting January 10, 2017
Training videos (with transcripts) and supplementary training materials including readings, exercises, and guided visualizations
A private Facebook group to connect with other program members and give and get support from like-minded people
Lifetime access to the modules for you to do at anytime, at your own pace, and as often as you'd like
Free access to all new content and updates for the Healing from Toxic Whiteness program
Refund policy: This program comes with a 15-day money back guarantee.
"I want to extend an enormous amount of gratitude to the Everyday Feminism team! From my Healing from Toxic Whiteness journey, I emerged with a newfound confidence to talk about racial justice within white communities from a place of non-attachment and dedicated service. It allowed for intellectual and emotional growth. It was an exceptional experience to be held in witness of shame and guilt as a white person while still being held compassionately accountable by Sandra. This has profoundly shifted my worldview and fueled my sense of gratitude. My journey in this program gifted me the opportunity to share and process in safe space. I will definitely be returning to the course material to deepen my understanding and personal study." - Maxi
While the program needs to be financially sustainable in order for us to be able to offer it, we're also committed to making it accessible to people with more limited financial means. Therefore we offer a few different alternative payment options:
Installment Plan: For people who need to pay in 3 monthly payments of $33 USD each, clickhere to choose this option.
Scholarships: For people with limited financial means, click here to apply for a scholarship.
25% Returning Customer Discount: For people who have taken a different Everyday Feminism course, click here to let us know you're interested in this option.
Gifts: For people who would like to pay for someone else to take the program, click here to let us know you're interested in this option.
Donation: If you'd like to donate to our scholarship fund, click here to make a donation.
Please note that only one option can be used at a time.
This online training program was created for white people who:
Understand that white privilege and racism are serious problems and are committed to building a more just, loving, and equitable world
Are tired of witnessing the daily manifestations of white supremacy within and around them and want to do something about it
Want to move beyond merely acknowledging things like racism, white privilege, and white supremacy to actively undoing the hold these forces of oppression have over their lives
Are ready to do the emotional work necessary to get to the next level in their social justice journey
Please note: While this program is geared towards helping white people heal from toxic whiteness, it is also open to people of color interested in better understanding the emotional resistance that many white people have to addressing racism within themselves and their communities.
"Compassionate Activism has given me specific tools to learn how to respond to situations instead of reacting to them by waiting to engage with others until I've taken care of my needs first. I've always felt that I would be much more effective in reaching people and opening their hearts if I could have compassion for where they're coming from. That's the magic of this course — it's cultivating our imagination of what's possible." – Suzanne
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this only for white people? This program is open to people of color, but the focus will be on white people's racial experience of white supremacy. Our other Compassionate Activism program, Healing from Marginalization, is likely a better fit for most people of color.
Are you saying that white people are inherently toxic? What do you mean by “toxic whiteness”? Similar to toxic masculinity, toxic whiteness is something that was created by white supremacy and done to white people. Toxic whiteness is not inherent to white people. However, white people are unconsciously conditioned to perpetuate and be complicit with white supremacy while not even realizing it. And while white people materially and socially benefit from racism, they are also emotionally harmed by it – which is rarely discussed and therefore makes it harder for white people to realize how they’re being manipulated by systemic racism. That's why it's important for white people to free themselves from this toxic whiteness in order to begin developing an anti-racist white identity.
Why is this anti-racism program centered on white people and their feelings? It's not appropriate for white people to center their emotional struggles with racism in cross-racial spaces with people of color present. This shifts the focus away from the impact on people of color and re-centers the feelings of white people in a way that often minimizes and erases the pain and trauma experiened by people of color. At the same time, when we are in touch with the existence and impact of racism, we inevitably experience pain and it's important to process that pain. If white people do not process their emotional struggles around racism, they often remain stuck in them and are unable to appropriately take action to address it. It's also important for white people to do this healing work within a community of like-minded white people in order to create a new way of relating. Having a separate anti-racist healing space for white people, led by a person of color who can hold them accountable, is important foundation for white people doing anti-racism work.
What about the healing that people of color need? People of color definitely deserve and need support with healing from the trauma of white supremacy! That's why we first offered our other Compassionate Activism program, Healing from Marginalization. Since we wish to stop the need for that healing in the first place, we've expanded our programs to include one that supports white people in fighting against racism.
SANDRA KIM, Lead Trainer and Founder of Everyday Feminism
Sandra Kim founded and leads Everyday Feminism, the largest online magazine helping people apply intersectional feminism to their real life. She developed Compassionate Activism out of her commitment to helping people free themselves from the suffering caused by systemic oppression.
Compassionate Activism builds off of the practices that Sandra has learned from Zen Buddhism and other Buddhism-influenced professional and personal development programs that were instrumental to her becoming the person and leader she is today. While it took her a decade to develope a strong healing and spiritual practice, she created the Compassionate Activism approach so you can incorporate healing into your life on a much faster timeline!
DARA SILVERMAN, Support Trainer and Racial Justice Organizer
Dara Silverman is an organizer, writer, and trainer who has been building movements for social justice for over 20 years. As the former National Coordinator of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Dara built out the biggest US national network of white people taking action for racial justice and raised over $500,000 for Black-led organizing. She currently offers anti-racism consulting and training to organizations and leaders.
"Healing from Toxic Whiteness has helped me feel more optimistic about building healthy supportive relationships with other white people invested in anti-racism work. After I took the online workshop to this program, I shared it with every white person who I knew with an interest in anti-racism work. This program is by far the best model of combining compassion with activism to address the difficult feelings that arise with privilege. It gave me so much hope to see all of the wisdom gathered in this course through its participants." - Elizabeth
"One of the main things Healing from Toxic Whiteness taught me was to hold myself and other white folks accountable. The concept of "inviting" discussion with white folks was new to me. Having oppressed people constantly hold their oppressor accountable didn’t make much sense to me, especially since the oppressor is very unlikely to relate and listen. After all, oppressors are conditioned to oppress, even if they're working on understanding their position as a privileged person. The program taught me to use my relative privilege when talking to other white folks because they are more likely to listen to me. Plus, I've learned and gotten practical tools in self care, self reflection and effective communication while doing this work!" - Jenny