North Central SARE Presentation
Beyond Diversity: Understanding White Privilege and the Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Presentation
Communities in the North Central region continue to change, with representatives of different cultures regularly being added to an already diverse population. We know that cultural and economic barriers exist that present challenges for some in the region, new and established alike, from working with the NCR-SARE to achieve our common sustainability goals. NCR-SARE feels it is important to reach and educate all people about sustainable agriculture as we strive to make our communities more sustainable.
As part of the 2012 Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series, Nebraska SARE hosted a webinar on December 18, 2012, 10-11:30am called "Beyond Diversity: Understanding White Privilege and the Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture" with Julia Kleinschmit, MSW Clinical Associate Professor, University of Iowa School of Social Work and the University of Iowa Division of Continuing Education.
Here is a note about the webinar that Nebraska State SARE Coordinator, Gary Lesoing, sent out prior to the event:
"The State of Nebraska is rapidly becoming more ethnically diverse, with people of color making up a greater percentage of the population. Further, in our state (and throughout the US) people of color tend to be younger and have higher birthrates, even while the white population has lower birthrates and especially for many of our most rural counties, has largely aged out of the childbearing range (Diechert, 2011; US Census, 2011). This trend is even more true for the farming and ranching population (Cantrell, n.d. 1; Cantrell, n.d. 2). For rural communities that want to thrive, welcoming people of color can mean great promise, even while it questions the way things have 'always been done.' Therein lies our challenge:
- To understand how we and the way our systems do things may inadvertently or purposely limit participation of people of color (and women);
- To gain skills that will help us have constructive conversations about these sticky issues so that we can help others do the same; and
- To identify concrete ways to make our systems more inclusive. Along the way, we could also say goodbye to guilt and perhaps defensiveness that can make this kind of work so uncomfortable and frustrating that we often choose not to do it.
In 90 minutes, this webinar will start us down that road and may include:
- Inventorying culture in our online room – it’s bigger than you think;
- A BRIEF overview of data that will help us understand the changing face of Nebraska;
- A discussion of privilege, based on Allan Johnson’s work (for more information, see Johnson, A. (2006) Privilege, Power, and Difference, 2nd Ed., Boston: McGraw Hill);
- An exercise that will better help us understand how privilege works in our day-to-day lives (no group hugging moments, I promise);
- Another exercise to show how we pick up messages in our society that reinforce privilege; and
- Beginning conversations about recognizing elements of white privilege in our organizational and other systems – and what could be done about it."
Gary Lesoing is planning follow up workshops on this subject for spring 2013. Contact him for additional details.
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