Lenten Challenge Weeks 4 and 5

Week 4: March 12 – 18
Week 5: March 19 – 25

Pick one of the Notice/Engage/Act activities listed below every day for weeks 4 and 5. Use this as an opportunity to stretch and expand your comfort zone!

NOTICE
Once people start to learn about white privilege and America’s systems of oppression through history, they often ask, “Why didn’t I see this sooner?” It’s easy to overlook what we’re not looking for. Once you understand the phenomenon of selective noticing, take yourself on a noticing adventure.

1) Start by watching the Test Your Awareness: Do The Test
2) Then…go out in the world and change up what you notice. Use each question below separately as one day’s challenge:

  • Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world? (e.g., Who’s the store manager and who’s stocking the shelves? Who’s waiting on tables and who’s busing the food?) Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?

  • Who are your 10 closest friends? What is the racial mix in this group?

  • As you move through the day, what’s the racial composition of the people around you?

  • What percentage of the day are you able to be with people of your own racial identity?

  • Notice how much of your day you are speaking about racism. Who are you engaging with on these issues? Who are you not? Why do you think this is?

  • What are the last five books you read? What is the racial mix of the authors?

  • What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?

  • What is the racial mix of people pictured in the photos and artwork in your home? In your friend, family, and colleagues’ homes?

  • Who is and is not represented in ads?

ENGAGE

This can be the hardest part for people new to racial justice work. Engaging in racially mixed settings can trigger age-old power and privilege dynamics. The goal is to be a learner more than a knower, exactly the opposite of what dominant U.S. culture teaches us to be. Here are some Engagement Tips to guide you:

  1. Stay engaged even when your mind and body start sending you signals to shrink or walk away.

  2. Ask clarifying questions.

  3. Acknowledge what you don’t know.

  4. Validate others by listening closely and believing the truth and importance of what they are sharing.

  5. Share airtime so that multiple perspectives are shared.

  6. Step Up Step Back. If you are generally quiet, step up and practice speaking more. If you are generally a talker, practice stepping back and listening more.

  7. Notice your biases and judgments as they arise. These are gold for you to excavate your subconscious!

  8. Notice when you are uncomfortable. Reflect on why you’re uncomfortable and think about what you can do to build more emotional stamina in this area.

  9. Honor confidentiality. Though you can share what you are learning in general terms, do not repeat stories in a way that can be traced back to the person who shared it.

  10. Find a mentor within your own racial group to support and guide your growth.

ACT

Though many people want to jump to action sooner instead of later, action without a vigorous self-education and self-reflection practice can unexpectedly reproduce the very power and privilege dynamics we seek to interrupt in this work. Here are a few actions that you might consider: