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field notes: workshop 2 and discussions

Sarah's picture

This week on Tuesday and Thursday night I held a discussion for SJTP participants to debrief the last workshop and to look forward to the next one.  I created discussion questions based on a survey they had filled out after the last workshop.  The questions were how do we develop social justice skills? How do we move toward competence (referring to the path to competence acitivity)? How can we explore both our dominant and subordinate identities? What are problems with categorization? What are pros and cons of separate spaces for marginalized groups?

The group on Tuesday night spent a lot of time talking about how we can get people to talk about privilege from a place of privilege without making people feel defensive.  We also talked about white guilt, the romanticization of oppression, the individual vs. the institution, cultural appropriation, and marginalization.

 The group on Thursday night talked a lot about the recent signs that have gone up around campus that say something like “Do you love your gay friends but feel pressured to be gay?” and the student response that pointed out how problematic those signs were and said “Do you love your straight friends but feel pressured to be straight?”  We also talked about what safe space is and what an argument or disagreement can look like in a safe space.


On Wednesday I had a meeting with Hallie and Stephanie to plan for the upcoming workshop this weekend, which was mostly discussing logistical issues and thinking forward to our final workshop in April.

On Thursday I met with Stephanie to plan for our microaggressions workshop on Saturday.


On Saturday we held our second workshop, which consisted of four workshops.  We ran the workshops two at a time, assuming the participants would appreciate being able to pick the one that interested them more, but many people expressed wishing they could have gone to all of them.  Participants were supposed to arrive at 1, but posters on campus advertised the workshops starting at 1:30, so there was a good amount of confusion/lateness.  We decided we should send out an email next time to clarify what part of the day was for just the SJTP participants, and what was open to the entire campus.


The first mini workshop I sat in on was about talking about privilege from a place of privilege and our comfort in discussing privilege on Bryn Mawr’s campus.

The second mini workshop I attended I also helped facilitate, which was the microagressions workshop.  We started off by defining microaggressions and giving some examples.  Then we briefly went over goals of the workshop.  After we did a writing activity where we divided our paper into quadrants: in the first quadrant each person wrote messages they received about their own race growing up; in the second quadrant each person wrote messages they received about other races growing up; in the third quadrant each person wrote about a time they observed or witness a negative event they thought was related to race; in the fourth quadrant each person wrote about a time they have either actively or passively participated in treating someone as “less than”.  This activity took about 10 minutes and then we had people share in pairs or groups of 3.  We wanted to show a youtube clip at the end about how to tell someone what they said is racist (, but when we asked people to share with the group, more sharing occurred than we anticipated and we decided we could email the video and that the full group discussion was a better way to end the workshop.