Engaging Productively in Discussions on Social Justice

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**Titles link to the content**



Mamta Motwani Accapadi, “When White Women Cry: How White Women’s Tears Oppress Women of Color”

This brief, yet important, article uses a case study to examine the ways in which dialogue about race and racism can be thwarted by people in privileged positions. Accapadi uses the Privileged Identity Exploration Model as a tool for analysis of the defensiveness exhibited in this case study and concludes with four strategies for reducing defensiveness and creating more meaning dialogue across difference.


Tag: Essay


Robin DiAngelo and Özlem Sensoy, “Leaning In: A Student’s Guide to Engaging Constructively with Social Justice Content”

“As educators who teach social justice education, we often struggle with student resistance to new and challenging critical frameworks. In this essay, we address students directly and offer guidelines for constructive engagement. These guidelines address common barriers such as: lack of intellectual humility, conflating opinions with informed knowledge, relying on anecdotal evidence, inattentiveness to positionality, and valuing grades over comprehension. The essay includes vignettes and examples that illustrate each of these guidelines, as well as a glossary and discussion questions that can be taken up in class.”


Tag: Essay


bell hooks, “Bonding Across Boundaries” (in Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice)

This chapter offers insights into the experiences and practices by which people can embrace a “logic of responsibility and accountability” in order to form ethical and meaningful relationships across difference. 


Tag: Essay


bell hooks, “Talking Race and Racism” (in Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope)

In her famous autoethnographic narrative style, hooks uses this chapter to outline her far-too-common experiences with student misunderstanding and resistance during classroom discussions on race and racism. She ultimately offers insights into navigating this misunderstanding and resistance. (I personally love her discussion on the importance of embracing a logic of both/and.)


Tag: Essay


Jay Smooth, “How to Tell Someone They Sound Racist” 

In this YouTube video, Jay Smooth offers insight into why it can be more rhetorically effective to have the “what they did” conversation instead of the “what they are” conversation when calling out racism. 


Tag: Video


Sherry K. Watt, “Difficult Dialogues, Privilege and Social Justice: Uses of the Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE) Model in Student Affairs Practice”

“This article will introduce the Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE) Model. This model identifies eight (8) defense modes associated with behaviors individuals display when engaged in difficult dialogues about social justice issues. Implications for this model and ways it can be used to assist facilitators as they engage participants in discussions about diversity are discussed.”


Tag: Essay