Online Training Archives - Point Made Learning

Lessons from the Road – That Was MY Spot

We get to meet so many people all over the country and hear their varied perspectives on race and racism in the U.S. Every time we lead a screening or workshop, we come away with new insight or renewed hope in the work toward equity. We’re going to start sharing those with you in this new “Lessons from the Road” occasional blog series.

“That Was MY Spot”

Students play The American Dream Experience at a high school in Denver, CO.
Students play The American Dream Experience at a high school in Denver, CO.

At a recent American Dream workshop in Colorado, high school students were presented with a real-life scenario that prompted them to debate which students have an advantage in the college application process: White students or students of color? 

During our post-workshop debrief, a student shared this:

“I realize I have been thinking that if I don’t get into one of my top-choice schools that a person of color who does get in is taking ‘MY’ spot. I need to stop thinking that way. And I need my parents to do this workshop, too.”

These are the kinds of take-aways keep us going!

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We understand there’s a perception among many students and families that it’s easier for kids of color and low-income kids to get into college. It may feel that way to one particular white applicant who doesn’t get in to a certain college, but has a friend of color with similar credentials who did get accepted to that college. But the data don’t really line up with that perception. If they did, then we’d have a lot more racial and income diversity among incoming first-year college classes. Check out this New York Times analysis that found that black and Latino students are even more underrepresented in top U.S. colleges than they were 35 years ago. 

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We say all the time at Point Made Learning that, when it comes to the topics of race, identity, and equity in the U.S., we are subject-matter learners. Not experts. In fact, we think these issues are so complex that the best any of us can hope for is to continue learning. As a team, we consistently challenge one another to stay curious and question our own thinking. That’s because we ask people in our screenings and workshops to do the same thing. So each week, we’d like to share with you what we’ve learned.
What we've learned: collection of books on race and racism
What we’ve learned about race and racism started with these books.

We know there are so many resources available that trying to stay informed can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’re sharing a few select articles and videos that we’ve found insightful as we do our work.

We hope this helps you continue learning, too. And feel free to leave a comment if you think we’ve left anything out!

From Barb Lee

First Person: Sexual Harassers Are Poisonous, and So Are the Companies That Protect Them – IndieWire

This article gets to the institutional power of sexism in the workplace. The author – a friend of mine – points out the pervasive use of non-disclosure agreements and how they silence sexual assault victims.  More than that, they’re designed to protect criminals. Reading this may help people think about ways we misuse power to maintain systemic and institutional racism, too. That’s my hope, at least.

For Guys Reading #MeToo Testimonies – On Being

I like this article because it so aligns with how white people can approach anti-racism work when they first begin. And, it’s just perfect advice for men who are trying to figure what to do with all the news about sexual assault.

Checking My Male Privilege – NY Times

This inspired me to keep doing the work we do.  Charles Blow gets it right.

From Catherine Wigginton Greene

Three Tensions at the Heart of Fighting Racism as a White Person – On Being

I’m a big fan of On Being. In the current climate of never-ending information and opinions, I land on the On Being website and can literally feel my breath slow down. Unlike so much else out there, On Being contributors aren’t adding to the noise just for the sake of being involved in the conversation. Rather, their work is insightful, complex, and questioning. In the piece I’ve linked to above, Courtney E. Martin shares some really helpful suggestions for white people who are trying to interrupt racism. And I suggest anyone interested in exploring some of the bigger questions of our time visit the site regularly.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Schools John Kelly On History Of Civil War And ‘Compromise’

So, I’m all for calling people in (instead of calling them out) so that we can have more constructive dialogue. And I almost always advocate for these types of interactions to happen in-person, not online. BUT! Constructive dialogue is impossible with people in positions of power who use their platform to lie, bully, and defend the indefensible. And in those cases (of which there are way too many these days), we need to speak truth to power. And that’s just what Ta-Nehisi Coates did this week via Twitter in response to John Kelly’s disturbing interpretation of what caused the US Civil War. Read Coates’ mic-drop-worthy, historical takedown of Kelly’s statements. It’s satisfying. But more importantly, you’ll likely learn something about the Civil War that you didn’t know before.

Cultural Appropriation at Halloween: My Culture Is Not a Costume – Teen Vogue

Teen Vogue continues to kill it these days with content that goes deep and hits hard in looking at inequity in American society. I really appreciated this video they released this week. It features young women sharing what it can feel like for them when they see their culture being portrayed in a costume. Use this and our I Wish I Were Black educational video and discussion guides to really get to the heart of cultural appropriation.

From Deionna Wilburn

Swipe my race: ‘If you’re only dating someone for their skin colour, you should consider why’ – The Guardian

Daters gonna date and they should have the right to choose…but in walks racial preference. Does the inclination for one race over another stem from or lead to insensitive stereotypes?  The London-based Swipe My Race video explores how “liking what you like” can be problematic and hurtful for everyone involved.

From Sam Rosenthal

Schools are segregated because white people want them that way – Vox

This powerful interview with MacArthur “genius grant” awardee Nikole Hannah-Jones sheds light on the perspective she brings to her work. Jones’ award-winning reporting on schools and segregation should be read by all Americans who are trying to better understand systemic racism.