Diversity Committee Reports/Updates

March 2021

Tactics for enhancing white allyship: Article review of Hardy’s (2016) PAST model
Jess Binkley, PsyD, OPA Diversity Committee

As a white woman, I have often observed myself engaging in behaviors inconsistent with my values and desire to be an antiracist ally. For example, I have monologued or over-focused about less privileged aspects of my identity, and/or become otherwise defensive during conversations in which I am invited to learn about the lived and painful experiences of people of color. As it is important to me to continue to advance my own antiracist identity and racial stamina, I have been curious about how to utilize aspects of what I have identified as a part of white culture (e.g., “doing” something, completing tasks) to grow. In reviewing some literature by authors of color within the fields of social justice and psychology, I came across a model describing specific tactics for enhancing conversations about race.

Dr. Kenneth Hardy (2016)’s Privilege and Subjugated Task (PAST) Model aims to support clinicians, coworkers, and the general public in defusing conflict and increasing engagement during conversations about race. Although the PAST model can be used when discussing other intersections of identity, Hardy emphasized the importance of maintaining focus on race whenever possible. In this regard, he noted that conversations about identity that initially center on race can be at increased risk of becoming sidetracked or deflected to other topics, often when a white person engages in monologue about their own marginalized identities (e.g., class, sexual orientation). Much akin to DiAngelo’s (2011)’s writings about white fragility, Hardy emphasized that white allies must build racial stamina and work to remain focused and emotionally regulated as they confront racial justice issues, including when exploring their own racial identity. He offered five tasks of the privileged party (white people) and five tasks of the subjugated or marginalized party (people of color) during conversations about race, as well as tactics to support antiracist approaches. I will focus in this article on tasks of the privileged party, in an effort to highlight how white allies may enhance their ability to address their own privilege and confront white supremacy in order to show up for people of color.

The first task of the privileged party is to be clear on the difference between intention and consequences, and to begin conversations by acknowledging the consequences of their actions. For example, rather than focusing on intention (e.g., “I didn’t mean to…”), Hardy (2016) recommends that white people first take responsibility for the impact of their actions on the other person and on the relationship. As reflected in Tactic #1, “Focus conversations on the consequences experienced by the subjugated person,” white allies must be able to refrain from highlighting their positive intentions and first offer acknowledgment and validation of the experiences of people of color (p. 128).

Hardy’s (2016) second task requires the privileged party to avoid overtly or covertly negating any disclosures or experiences shared by the marginalized party. He emphasized that white people often respond to experiences of white fragility by negating the experience of people of color through a variety of tactics, including challenges disguised as questions or advice (e.g., “Are you sure that (event, comment, interaction) was racist?” White people also have a tendency to fall silent or express misdirected empathy by attempting to equalize their experiences with people of color (e.g., “As a queer person, I understand what it’s like to be discriminated against”). The aforementioned behaviors have the effect of minimizing the lived experiences and feelings of people of color. Consistent with Tactic #1, Tactic #2 involves offering validation (rather than falling silent, overshadowing, or otherwise negating people of color’s experiences).

The third task that white allies must attend to involves making active efforts to avoid reactivity or engaging in acts of relational retaliation. Consistent with DiAngelo’s (2011) contributions about white fragility, Hardy (2016) noted that when encountering intense feelings during conversations about race, white people may respond by shutting down (retrenchment), arguing about who is right (rebuttal), or retaliating by lashing out (e.g., claiming that one is being personally attacked or accused of being ‘racist’). Tactic #3, “develop thick skin,” requires that white people be actively aware of and soothe any personal triggers, while also remaining focused on the experience of the person of color (p. 132). Of note is that the skill of self-soothing and managing strong feelings while also remaining engaged with others is similar to the skill of empathic attunement and presence practiced in psychotherapy. White clinicians may benefit by examining how they can use elements of their therapeutic skills in their development as antiracist allies.

The fourth task builds on several of the prior tasks, in that white allies must be aware of their own positions of privilege and reactions to racial stress. In this regard, Hardy (2016) noted that another common reaction to racial stress is offering advice. Offering advice (e.g., “You may be less triggered if you ignored those hurtful statements’) can be devaluing while also giving the impression that white people are more knowledgeable about the needs of people of color than they themselves are. Tactic #4 invites white allies to replace advice-giving with instead offering vulnerable disclosures about their own experiences (after attending to and making space for the experiences of people of color).

The fifth and final task of the privileged party is to avoid taking the ‘expert’ position. As Hardy (2016) described, the “KNOE” position involves taking a stance of someone who is knowledgeable, neutral, objective, and/or expert. Because whites are in a position of racial privilege, often what they say is considered both more knowledgeable, but also “free of the influence of race” (p. 132). As a result, whites are able to both accuse people of color from over-focusing on race while also not acknowledging how whiteness influences their beliefs and actions. Tactic #5, locating one’s own racial self in the conversation, invites white people to acknowledge and unearth how whiteness impacts their beliefs and behaviors. By being more aware of how race plays a role in their own lives, white people can be both more accountable and engaged in conversations about race.

In conclusion, one theme uniting the tasks and tactics recommended by Hardy (2016) is that white people must increase their understanding of how white privilege, supremacy, and fragility affect their interactions with others (both other white people, and people of color). By becoming more aware of what it means to be white, white allies may also be more able to explore and regulate feelings and behaviors that have the potential to cause further disconnection and harm. Addressing, being accountable for, and repairing relationship ruptures caused by enactments of white fragility also can serve to strengthen an actively antiracist white identity.

References

DiAngelo, R. (2011). White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3), 54-70. http://static1.squarespace.com/static/52f2de40e4b0cad7da8d9940/t/555752a2e4b0c9f331938206/1431786146884/wwsReading_week2.pdf

Hardy, K. V. (2016). Anti-racist approaches for shaping theoretical and practice paradigms.
          In A. Carten, A. Siskind, & M. Pender Greene (Eds.),
          Anti-racist strategies for the health and human services (pp. 125-139). Oxford University Press.


September 2020

The first Diversity Committee meeting for the new administrative year will be on September 21 (6-7:30pm) via Zoom. Any OPA members interested in joining the committee are welcome to contact Jess Binkley for more information.

The DC would also like to remind members of the list of social justice resources recently compiled by the OPA Board of Directors (see below for original list).

Resources

Local:

Don't Shoot PDX: Don't Shoot Portland is Black-led and community driven. Founded in 2014 by Teressa Raiford, we are a direct community action plan that advocates for accountability to create social change.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oregon: The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities. We fight for free speech, racial justice, criminal justice reform, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and more.

Rosehip Medic Collective: The Rosehip Medic Collective is a group of volunteer Street Medics and health care activists active in Portland, Oregon. We provide first aid and emergency care at protests, direct actions, and other sites of resistance and struggle.
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National:

Racism, Bias, and Discrimination (APA): Individual racism is a personal belief in the superiority of one’s race over another. It is linked to racial prejudice and discriminatory behaviors, which can be an expression of implicit and explicit bias. Institutionalized racism is a system of assigning value and allocating opportunity based on skin color.

Multicultural Training Resources: Ethnic Minority Affairs Office (APA): Multicultural training resources covering topics such as indigenous peoples, immigration, racism, natural disasters, education, history of ethnic minorities and APA divisional resources related to ethnic minority affairs.

Article: "Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Are Unpacking Their Invisible Knapsack" By Antoinette Kavanaugh

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Books:

From: https://www.apacolorado.org/article/self-educate-anti-racism

  • Maya Angelou - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
  • Mehrsa Baradaran - The Color of Money
  • James Baldwin - The Fire Next Time
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates - Between the World and Me
  • Brittney Cooper - Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
  • Angela Davis - Freedom is a Constant Struggle
  • Ralph Ellison - Invisible Man
  • Frantz Fanon - Black Skin, White Masks
  • Ibram X Kendi - How To Be an Antiracist
  • Ibram X Kendi - Stamped from the Beginning (YA version: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You)
  • Bakari Kitwana - Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop
  • Audre Lorde - Sister Outsider
  • Toni Morrison - The Bluest Eye
  • Toni Morrisson - Beloved
  • Safiya Noble - Algorithms of Oppression
  • Ijeoma Oluo - So You Want to Talk About Race
  • Claudia Rankine - Citizen: An American Lyric
  • Dorothy Roberts - Killing the Black Body
  • Richard Rothstein - The Color of Law
  • Bryan Stevenson - Just Mercy
  • Malcom X - Autobiography of Malcom X
  • Isabel Wilkerson - The Warmth of Other Suns
  • Ellen D. Wu - The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Myth of the Model Minority

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Readings on Prison and Police Abolition

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Readings on Uprooting Whiteness
  • Robin DiAngelo - White Fragility

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Articles

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Policy/ Commission Reports

  • Black Futures Lab - Black Census Project
  • South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission - Here is a link to an international effort to enact systemic and institutional change. This commission provides valuable lessons for us to learn from. "While we have much work to do here, let us avail ourselves of work already done, learn and do better." Statement and resource from Michael Alter, Master of Public Affairs

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Movies / Videos