Got privilege? ASU workshops focus on recognizing, undoing systemic bias, oppression
Eddie Moore Jr. makes no bones about it. He’s trying to change the world.
His vehicle of choice is amped-up diversity training, the kind “that leads to evolutionary change that becomes permanent and systemic,” said Moore, in a Sept. 2 online interview on “The Philippe Mathews Show.”
“It’s exploring white privilege and oppression from systemic organizational design,” he continued. “If we’re going to see different results in organizations today, you can’t hire your way to change; you can’t just achieve visual diversity; we’re going to have to go at them from the source of their design.”
Understanding how racism, bias, and privilege are entrenched in American institutions — and what individuals can do to disrupt and dismantle those systems — will be Moore’s focus in three free community events hosted by ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy this week.
On Thursday evening, Moore will lead faculty and staff from ASU and other higher education institutions in the Phoenix metro area in an interactive, activities-based workshop at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.
“The session examines systems of bias and privilege manifest in the structure and culture of colleges and universities,” said Ian Moulton, professor of English and interim director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. “Participants will also learn ways to bring current events into class discussions to encourage critical thinking and ways to empower colleagues and students by acknowledging and validating their experiences.”
On Friday evening, Moore will lecture and lead a dialog at Mesa Community College on the roots and impact of racism, privilege and power in America. An all-day interactive workshop on Saturday will drill deeper into the material and move into action strategies.
Much of Moore’s work over the last two decades has concentrated on ensuring that k-16 students experience learning in an Inclusive and affirming environment. He’s partnered with schools and colleges in more than 17 states over the last five years.
He is founder and program director of the White Privilege Conference. Launched in 1999 at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa with fewer than 200 participants, it is now a leading conference for social justice education. Held in cities around the nation, it draws about 3,000 students, higher education faculty and professionals, activists, social workers and counselors, healthcare workers, and members of spiritual communities and the non-profit and corporate sectors.
The conference addresses issues of privilege and oppression beyond skin color, inviting diverse perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, class, citizenship, and dis/ability.
“It’s built on a foundation of love and relationships,” Moore said. “It’s about action and accountability, not blame and shame.”
Deborah J. Cox, assistant director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, first heard Moore speak at a Phoenix-area charter school in 2015 and was moved to attend the 17th annual White Privilege Conference, held in Philadelphia last April.
“Dr. Moore’s approach to these workshops make them transformative,” Cox said. “He combines keen intellect with an easygoing manner and knows how to relax a large audience. He eases into difficult conversations about implicit bias in a way that allows people to let go of their fears and have substantive, action-oriented discussions.
“The Center sees bringing in an individual of Eddie’s caliber as an investment in our community,” she observed, “and we are laying the groundwork with other community partners to potentially bring the White Privilege Conference to Phoenix in 2020.”
Moore has authored and edited numerous publications, including the collection “Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories.” In 2014, he established The Privilege Institute, which publishes the interdisciplinary journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Iowa, where his research focused on black football players at Division III schools in the Midwest.
ASU’s Center for the Study of Race and Democracy presents the following events as part of its “Impact Arizona” series:
College Educators Workshop on Racism and Privilege
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 8
Where: A. E. England Building, ASU Downtown Phoenix campus
The Root: Understanding Racism, Privilege and Power (lecture and dialog)
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 9
Where: Performing Arts Center, Mesa Community College, 1520 S. Longmore, Mesa
Examining the Root: Racism, Privilege, Leadership and Action (interactive workshop)
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.. Sept. 10
Where: Kirk Student Center, Navajo Room, Mesa Community College, 1833 W. Southern Ave, Mesa
Contact Sarah Herrera at email@example.com or 602-496-2114
The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy is a unit of ASU’s College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, with offices on the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. Eddie Moore’s presentations on Sept. 9-10 are co-sponsored by the Maricopa Community College District.