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Reflection Questions

Reflecting and journaling is an important part of the challenge and critical to your success in this journey.
Plan to take time every day to reflect on what you choose to do, what you’re learning, and how you are feeling. Difficult emotions such as shame and anger, though uncomfortable, can guide you to deeper self-awareness about how power and privilege impacts you and the people in your life. At the very least, use the “Reflect” space on the tracking tool.

Listed below are broad reflection and journaling guidelines. As you view, read, and listen make entries to your reaction log, and/or journal. Please keep the following and essential principles, questions, and concepts in mind. If you take brief notes as you complete each assignment, you will be better prepared to contribute to meaningful discussions and build greater equity habits.

Reflection Principles

  1. Strive for intellectual curiosity and humility
  2. Everyone has an opinion. Yet, opinions are not the same as informed knowledge
  3. Let go of anecdotal evidence. Reply on facts and examine patterns. 
  4. Use your reactions as entry points for gaining deeper self-knowledge.
  5. Recognize how your social position informs your reactions to the activities and content of this Challenge.

(adapted from: Is Everyone Really Equal? 2nd Ed., Sensoy and DiAngelo, 2017)

Reflection Guideline Questions

  1. What in the activities was particularly interesting, surprised you, or was new information to you?
  2. What are some of the things you agree with or identify with?  
  3. What are some of the things that challenged your thinking, or you disagree with?  
  4. In what ways might the information in the activities be useful to you?
  5. What questions do you still have, or are left with?

Week 1: Deeper Dive Reflection Questions

  1. How do the facts around the history of race and racial inequality in America confirm or challenge my preconceptions?
  2. What about my life in relation to my race and my understanding of “race/racial inequality” might make it difficult for me to see or validate this new perspective?
  3. What do my reactions reveal about what I perceive is at risk were I to accept this information?
  4.  If I were to accept this information as valid, what might be ethically required of me?

Week 2: Deeper Dive Reflection Questions

Once people start to learn about white privilege and America’s systems of oppression through history, they often ask, “Why didn’t I see this sooner?” It’s easy to overlook what we’re not looking for. Once you understand the phenomenon of selective noticing, take yourself on a noticing adventure.

  1. Start by watching the Test Your Awareness: Do The Test
  2. Then…go out in the world and change up what you notice. Here’s some of what you might look for:
  • Who are your ten closest friends? What is the racial mix in this group?
  • As you move through the day, what’s the racial composition of the people around you? On your commute? At the coffee shop you go to? At the gym? At your workplace? At the show you go on the weekend? 
  • What percentage of the day are you able to be with people of your own racial identity?
  • Notice how much of your day you are speaking about racism. Who are you engaging with on these issues? Who are you not? Why do you think this is? 
  • What are the last five books you read? What is the racial mix of the authors? 
  • What is the racial mix of the main characters in your favorite TV shows? Movies?
  • What is the racial mix of people pictured in the photos and artwork in your home? In your friend, family, and colleagues’ homes?
  • Who is filling what kinds of jobs/social roles in your world? (e.g. Who’s the store manager and who’s stocking the shelves? Who’s waiting on tables and who’s busing the food?) Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?
  • Who do you notice on magazine covers? What roles are people of color filling in these images?
  • If you’re traveling by car, train, or air, do you notice housing patterns? How is housing arranged? Who lives near the downtown commerce area and who does not? Who lives near the waterfront and who does not? Who lives in industrial areas and who does not? What is the density of a given neighborhood? Can you correlate any of this to racial identity?

(21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge©)

Week 3: Deeper Dive Reflection Questions

In order to begin the work of being “anti-biased or anti-racist” and practicing “social justice”, we must be willing to accept the idea that we have biases, prejudices and that we do, in fact act (discriminate) based on these prejudices and do little to advance equity and justice for others.

  1. What kind of person is most often depicted in society (media, gov’t, etc.) as prejudiced? How are they depicted?
  2. What kinds of people are depicted as free from prejudice?
  3. In what ways have you been apathetic to bias, racism and social justice?
  4. Now what?  What are your next steps (tomorrow, next week, next year) to continue the work of countering bias -racism, and advancing social justice?  
    • What will be easy steps to take?
    • What will the challenges be? 
    • How will you meet these challenges?

Week 4: Deeper Dive Reflection Questions

Sociologist Helen Fein coined the term "universe of obligation." Fein defines this important concept as the circle of individuals and groups "toward whom obligations are owed, to whom rules apply, and whose injuries call for [amends]".

As potential Allies and Partners: individuals will and should develop their own universes of obligation and responsibility.

  1. Who is in your "universe of responsibility?"
    What individuals and groups might you include?
    Where would your universe of obligation begin? Where might it end?
    Under what conditions might your universe of responsibility shift?
    In whose universe of responsibility do you reside?
    How do individuals, groups, and nations demonstrate their universes of obligation or responsibility?
    In these conversations, consider the following: What is the difference between a right and a responsibility?
  2. To what extent is there a difference between a nation's "universe of obligation" and that of individuals and groups?

Empowerment of Self for Racial Equity and Social Justice

Please create a 5–6 minute video of yourself thoughtfully responding to the following questions, or write reflectively in your journal.  Please respond as if you were having a conversation with someone really interested in your thoughts about racial equity and social justice. 

  • What is a change you would like to see in your lifetime?
  • What actions can I take to empower myself to work for racial equity and social justice?
  • How can I become more self-aware and educate myself?
  • How can I feel more inspired to act?
  • What additional resources and/or information do I need to develop a more complete understanding of the causes of racial inequity and social injustice?
  • What excites you about becoming a social justice advocate for Who or What Matters to you? And to What or Whom obligations are owed?