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Greater Green Bay Community Book Read 2020

Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

Suggestions for Facilitating

Below we have provided resources for leading your own book discussion. The discussion of racism and white privilege can be a very uncomfortable topic for some. Additionally, participants may not have participated in a book discussion before. Consider establishing group guidelines or ground rules to go over with group before your discussion begins.  Below are some suggestions. Print off copies or have displayed during the discussion. 

Suggestions for Group Guidelines

  1. Take space, make space 
    • Also known as step up, step back; Make space for all voices – if you are typically quiet, consider offering your thoughts to the group, if you are typically first to talk, consider waiting to let other voices be heard.
  2. Awareness of our gender pronouns ​
    • Consider nametags or introductions with gender pronouns prior to discussing. 
  3. Speak from the “I” 
    • ​​Let’s try to share about our own experiences rather than speaking for other people or universalizing our experience.
  4. We are all learners 
    • ​​No one here is an expert at anti-racism; it’s a lifelong process for white folks to unlearn racism, we are all on our distinct journeys. Not a one-stop thing. A lot of folks don’t have a lot of experience talking about racism so it can feel scarier than it is; give yourself permission to be vulnerable. Some of our best learning happens when we take risks.
  5. Treat everyone with respect
    • Remind participants this is a safe space where all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, parental status, veteran status, military discharge status, citizenship status or source of income or any other protected status are welcome. Participants are asked to treat everyone in the room with respect. 

Adapted from "Waking Up White: A Discussion Guide"



Other suggestions include:

  • Begin with group introductions
    • Considering including name, gender pronoun, why you’re doing this, hopes, fears
  • Provide participants with a paper copy of the discussion questions when they arrive and include space between each question to draft ideas for answers.
  • Consider providing note cards for participants to write down questions or issues the group did not have time to discuss so they can be addressed next time. 
  • If the conversation goes off topic or becomes tense, do you best to redirect the conversation back to an appropriate place. 
  • Try to stay within time frame set. 

Adapted from Waking Up White: A Discussion Guide & Religious Action Center Reads Facilitation and Discussion Guide

Discussion Questions for Waking Up White