Fall 2022 Eight Week Course

SURJ ROC FALL 2022 EIGHT WEEK COURSE: Understanding Whiteness Together! 

Calling in our fellow white community of learners! What does it mean to you to be white in a racist society?

SURJ ROC Education Committee is excited to have created an opportunity for white people in the Rochester area to make a commitment that goes beyond reading a book, taking a one-shot workshop, attending a protest, or suffering in isolation. If we are going to do the work that is needed in support of BIPOC and for our own humanity and liberation; we believe that going deeper into relationships with like-minded learners is critical. 

This series is designed for a cohort of white learners who will work together for eight sessions in order to both deepen their understanding of how they have been personally affected by racism and to become a part of a community of learners who work on turning their awareness into action.

All the workshop sessions will be interactive and holistic. This trauma informed approach to the work before us is often what has been missing. We believe that we all have been socialized to accept our role in racism without our permission. Therefore, we approach the work with love; free of blame and shame.

LOCATION : Online (via Zoom)

*Facilitators will be available at our Mon. Aug. 22nd SURJ ROC General Meeting to present and discuss this course with SURJ Members and guests!


COST: $80 ➜
The money collected from this event goes towards supporting local BIPOC led organizing with guidance from our accountability advisors. If you cannot pay you will not be turned away from this course Please email education@surjroc.org and we will help sign you up!


This course will have three distinct parts on Mondays from Sept – Dec 2022 (with breaks for SURJ General meetings 9/26,10/24,11/28; Indigenous Peoples’ Day 10/10 and Halloween 10/31) 

SESSIONS 1 & 2      The Construction of Whiteness  9/12, 9/19

SESSION 3 & 4       White Identity Development  10/3, 10/17

SESSIONS 5-8     White Supremacy Culture  11/7, 11/14, 11/21, 12/5

Construction of Whiteness:

Genetically, race does not exist. What does this mean? How did we come to believe that we are members of different races? We will explore how race and racism were constructed for the purposes of economic/socio-political status and dominance.  We will examine how over centuries, historical events and practices were used to normalize the exploitation and oppression of BIPOC based on faulty scientific notions of the existence of race.  We will also establish a common language based on power and oppression that will guide us as we participate in each session. 

White Identity Development:

What do you mourn about your white racial identity?  How was it imposed, what has been invisible and confusing?  These are a few of the questions that will guide the exploration of our own process of unlearning racism and moving to become a white ally.  We will learn predictable stages that assist us to understand what is needed by ourselves and others in order to move forward.  Through pairings, small, and large group conversations, we will engage in dialogue informed by readings, podcasts, and other media to support us in reconstructing a white identity that is anti-racist and pro-racial justice. 

White Supremacy Culture (WSC):

“Culture is powerful precisely because it is so present and at the same time so very difficult to name or identify.” Tema Okun, co-author, “White Supremacy Culture”

How have we been socialized to behave, think and interact from a place of privilege and dominance? In these sessions we will make visible what was meant to be invisible by exploring characteristics that get in the way of the realization of our full humanity and our ability to form authentic relationships with others.   

The exploration of WSC includes:

– characteristics and their origins

– the negative impacts of these characteristics on ourselves and others

– the creation of a practice of using antidotes to transform these behaviors


Sign-up Here!