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Emotional involvement, not just awareness, needed to combat racism

Published 03/19/2012, Duluth News Tribune

Across the nation and in Duluth people are encouraged to attend racism workshops and seminars. One of the objectives is to have participants resolve personal issues relating to racism. As a result, participants appreciate and value others as equal even though different. In these workshops, facilitators like me shock participants with riveting details of the disparity between men and women and among racial and ethnic groups. A facilitator may state that a particular group has the lower incomes earned, the higher rates of arrest and imprisonment, the lower SAT and graduation scores, the lower hiring and retention rates, the history of unequal treatment, the higher numbers living in poverty and more. Many of us facilitators naively assume the awareness alone will be enough to stimulate participants to examine and change their beliefs and attitudes relating to their own racism.

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