WEST BRATTLEBORO — All Souls Church will continue its film series “Looking Inward at White Power and Privilege” with a screening of “Mirrors of Privilege” on Sunday, Feb. 25, at noon, proceeded by a simple lunch.
The film’s full title is “Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible” and is produced by World Trust. It will be the third in the continuing series presented at West Village Meeting House at 29 South Street in West Brattleboro and will be followed by a discussion. There is no admission charge for the film or for the light lunch that precedes it.
According to World Trust, the film is designed to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful change. The film features stories from white men and women on overcoming issues of unconscious racism and entitlement. These reveal what is often required to move through the stages of denial, defensiveness, guilt, fear, and shame into making a solid commitment to ending racial injustice, according to World Trust
In its description of the film, World Trust writes, “After many years of doing diversity work, we recognized that an unhelpful pattern often emerged in the learning environment. In a typical workshop, people of color were asked to share their stories. The people of color in the seminar had a lot to say and a need to be heard and understood. White people were usually overwhelmed by what was shared, and moved into guilt, shame or denial. That left the people of color vulnerable to judgment or rejection by the white participants. People of color often ended up being the source of ‘the problem’ without any real learning taking place. An unintended consequence, this pattern blocked healing and reinforced the fracture that racial misunderstanding causes all too frequently.
“It was clear that to enable participants to move beyond historical and contemporary understanding about race, that pattern needed to change and different tools were needed. This film is designed to support a new, more effective dynamic of learning and healing between racial groups.”
As the name suggests, “Mirrors of Privilege” focuses on white people to allow them to find their own voice and then reflect on how they may view the racial world.
World Trust, according to its website, offers Racial Equity Learning modules that support transformative learning while promoting institutional change through opportunities for self-discovery and collaboration that lends itself toward collective action.
The film series is sponsored by the All Souls Church Social and Environmental Action Committee. Catie Berg, a committee member, said, “Our exploration arises in part from uncomfortable realizations of systemic racism in hiring practices within the Unitarian Universalist Association. Plus, our nation struggles with the divide that erupted last summer between supporters of white supremacy and supporters of racial justice” most notably in Charlottesville and Boston.
“The demonstrations in these and other cities show the challenge our nation faces in dismantling a system of gross inequality with roots nearly 400 years old,” Berg said.
George Carvill, another committee member, said the committee’s idea is to “try to make the invisible visible. The world that white people in this country navigate through every day is paved with presumptions and advantages so common and pervasive that we don’t even see them.” The film series is designed to help make these advantages visible, he said.
A privilege for one can be a barrier for another, he added. “Once visible we can then decide how we use or abuse these privileges and find ways to overcome the barriers they may raise for others,” Carvill said.