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1133: The Body Already Knows: A Framework for Dismantling Race, Racism and Whiteness and Achieving Racial Justice

Track: Race and Social Justice in Higher Education

7 Hours: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 8:30-11:30 am and continuing 1:30-5:30 pm

This workshop is based on the idea that our bodies already know how to live in just and supportive community and this knowledge can serve as a powerful framework for uprooting racial oppression and achieving racial justice. Thus, the dismantling of RRW is not actually something we have to "work toward", but rather a "coming home" to our rightful human interdependence. And, it is in the space of this interconnectivity, rooted in our bodies' own knowledge, that we can find the deep sources of racial liberation and healing. 

The workshop addresses the impacts of Race, Racism and Whiteness (RRW) by first grounding into the body and helping participants explore some basic tools of "embodied racial justice". We then briefly explore Race, Racism and Whiteness content (racial narratives, systemic racism and systemic whiteness) and how their impacts land on our bodies. In particular, we will conceptually and somatically focus on the centrality of whiteness (white privilege and white supremacy) and how it sits at the center of the overall system of racial oppression. Importantly, this section is truncated based on the Advanced level of this session and the expectation that folks coming in already know most if not all of this content. 

The bulk of the day then examines the notion of embodied racial justice by looking at two key frameworks: 1) Post-traumatic Master's Syndrome, and 2) Cellular Wisdom. The former is a response to the work of Dr. Joy Degruy's groundbreaking work on Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome and the latter is a framework for embodied racial justice developed by Dr. Hackman. In working with PTMS we will use the embodiment tools to explore three ways White people have internalized dynamics of racism and whiteness and how it shapes their racial justice work. Similarly, we will use Cellular Wisdom to re-imagine our racial justice work in ways that are embodied and dynamic. 

This session should particularly benefit those who are looking for more complex ways to understand how to dismantle the dynamics of RRW on their campuses. The attention given to embodiment in the session is designed to deepen participants' critical race knowledge base and racial justice work in any sector of a higher educational setting. Participants can expect to leave with both cognitive and somatic tools for their racial justice work as well as resources to further their individual growth in these areas.


Heather Hackman, Ed.D, Founder and President, Hackman Consulting Group- Minneapolis, MN