The University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work and Continuing Education Series recently hosted what they called a Special Webinar Series that was titled, “Deconstructing & Decentralizing White-ness in Practice: A Three-Part Series,” in which a lecture titled “Recovery from White Conditioning” taught white people how to use a “12-step” program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous to “recover and reclaim our full humanity.”
Therapist Cristina Combs, who created the program, spent “years of struggling to navigate the role and presence of whiteness in her personal, academic, and professional journeys,” the website for the series claims.
“Combs began the lecture by acknowledging that ‘I am on traditional Dakota land,’ the territory of a Native American tribe which settled in Minnesota,” The College Fix reported, in a lengthy article detailing the presentation. “She also acknowledged ‘George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all of the other lives stolen from families and communities and our world due to police brutality and state-sanctioned violence.’”
In her preamble to the explanation of her 12-step program toward racial sobriety, Combs quoted feminist author Bell Hooks saying that “‘imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’ [is] the power structure underlying the social order.”
The 12 steps in the program:
Step 1: “We admitted that we had been socially conditioned by the ideology of white supremacy.”
Step 2: “We came to believe that we could embrace our ignorance as an invitation to learn.”
Step 3: “We develop support systems to keep us engaged in this work.”
Step 4: “We journeyed boldly inward, exploring and acknowledging ways in which white supremacist teachings have been integrated into our minds and spirits.”
Step 5: “We confessed our mistakes and failings to ourselves and others.”
Step 6: “We were entirely ready to deconstruct previous ways of knowing, as they have been developed through the lens of white supremacy.”
Step 7: “We humbly explored new ways of understanding…proactively seeking out new learning and reconstructing a more inclusive sense of reality.”
Step 8: “We committed ourselves to ongoing study of our racial biases, conscious or unconscious, and our maladaptive patterns of white supremacist thinking.”
Step 9: “We develop strategies to counteract our racial biases.”
Step 10: “We embraced the responsibility of focusing on our impact, more than our intentions, in interactions with people of color.”
Step 11: “We engage in daily practices of self-reflection.”
Step 12: “We committed ourselves to sharing this message with our white brothers, sisters, and siblings…in order to build a supportive recovery community and to encourage personal accountability within our culture.”
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