From alumni answering the question "My biggest takeaway from the class is..."
"It provided me with the context and diction for things I was witnessing and experiencing, but not fully absorbing or comprehending."
"There is no perfect conversation; the important thing is to keep talking. I know that I should ask and answer questions until I understand what the other person means."
"People's behaviors are influenced by their experience and, in general, most people are trying their best with extremely varied types of exposure and experience. The more we can open ourselves up to conversations with people who are "different" than we are, the better our chances of success in relationships, in school, in work and in the world."
"It is important to talk about race, about inclusion, about bridging gaps. When we ignore race, we fail to see the big picture."
"Understanding that everyone has all sorts of sad and terrible experiences and if we don't accept them we shouldn't expect others to understand ours. Once we understand how to accept them we can then learn how to deal with them better."
"Everyone has a story to share, which deserves to be heard and appreciated."
"Invested in working to close the achievement gap."
In their own words...
"I signed up for the Challenge Racism class because I wanted to talk more about race and privilege. Our facilitators were world class professionals. They knew the material and had years of experience facilitating discussions regarding race. Our discussions were current, thought-provoking, and challenging. Our facilitators modeled storytelling and active-listening and created a safe space for both. Telling stories and listening to stories was a central part of each session. Each participant seemed engaged, challenged, and stimulated by the conversation. I highly recommend this course to any member of our community." ~ George
"I found the readings, film clips and facilitator-led conversations in the Challenging Racism course to be eye-opening and thought-provoking. They helped me finally understand micro-aggressions, White privilege and the role of racism in poverty. I learned that we all are affected by institutional racism and that unconscious bias is therefore inevitable. Now, rather than feel shame and act defensively when these thoughts arise, I use my energy to recognize and challenge them.” Despite my own substantial scholarly research on affirmative action prior to the course, I was surprised to discover examples of major white affirmative action programs that I had not been aware of." ~ Carolina
"As a recently naturalized Muslim American of mixed Italian and Arab heritage, I have been on different sides of othering, racism and privilege all my life. And yet, I took a lot out of my participation in Challenging Racism as it practically connected it to my presence in Arlington, the town I moved to 8 years ago. By so doing, I was able to appreciate the systemic roots and structural underpinnings that perpetuate it not in the abstract but in the local systems I was interacting with daily. This allowed me to discover the many ways I can take responsibility to changing that reality, not least with my 12 year old who asks me questions about differences she witnesses at school and in different neighborhoods. It also equipped me with the kind of knowledge to effectively challenge the assumptions people I engaged with have about race issues in our country because I understood the source of their misunderstanding. It also illustrated the ways in which privileged segments of society (myself included) engage in a superficial approach to tackling racism that are less about changing the system and more about feeling good about one’s self. Finally, Challenging Racism made it real for me by making me bear witness to the experiences of my Latino, Asian, and African American colleagues. That, by far, was the most effective in enrolling me join the fight to challenge racism. I strongly recommend the course be propagated across the county as I believe that once we get a critical mass of citizens equipped the way Challenging Racism equipped me, then we will in fact tip the balance." ~ Nizar
90% of Challenging Racism: Learning How alumni are “very likely” or “likely” to recommend the program to a friend.
Your Arlington neighbors recommend Challenging Racism: Learning How
"Challenging and inspiring"
"Not as scary as it sounds;)"
Word Cloud from Question #13 in the Challenging Racism: Learning How 2018 Alumni Survey.
Alumni "willingness to recommend" percentage is from Question #12 of that same survey ( 71% Very Likely 19% Likely to recommend to a friend)