Why's It Hard to Talk About Race?



Shelly Tochluk, PhD, author of Witnessing Whiteness: The Need to Talk About Race and How to Do It, will facilitate an anti-racism workshop for Western PA clergy and laity at 10 a.m.,  Friday, Sept. 25 at Monroeville United Methodist Church.

The workshop, intended for white people and people of color, is entitled “Why Is it Hard for White People to Talk About Race?”  

“To begin honestly, we must discuss what may be the most challenging aspect of any discussion of race. We must deal with the terms racist, racism, and systemic white supremacy. We must also confront the fact that some people might ask us to associate those words with our speech and actions,” Tochluk writes in Witnessing Whiteness.

Across the United States, and in Western PA, people continue to struggle with historical and institutional racism. They witness the struggle in the comfort of their living rooms through televised reports of violence in Baltimore, Charlotte, and Ferguson.  The rhetoric on television and social media in response to the violence is often void of clear analysis.

The workshop is an opportunity for United Methodists to go from cool distant observers to witnesses ready to take action. In her book and in workshops, Tochluk offers analysis and concrete problem-solving methods. 

Tochluk’s personal dedication to confront issues of race developed first through her participation on UCLA’s All-American 4X400 meter relay team and later through her inner city teaching experiences.

After 10 years as a researcher, counselor, and teacher in California’s public schools, she now chairs  the education department at Mt. St. Mary's College and trains teachers to work with Los Angeles’ diverse school population.

Working with AWARE-LA (Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere-Los Angeles). With this group, she co-created a workshop series that leads white people into a deeper understanding of their personal relationship to race, white privilege, and systemic racism. She also speaks at events to highlight issues of white racial identity. 

Get workshop details and register.

Learn more at WitnessingWhiteness.com

Read Tochluk's blog at shellytochluk.com