What's the goal of the project?
To create a space where people who identify as or experience passing as white can explore toxic whiteness in their lives, without friends or colleagues of color being put in a position of helping or teaching or ambassador-ing or holding space.
I created this to invite others on the same journey to inquire into the ideas we grew up with to better understand our privilege, biases, obstacles, and roles. To get more voices at the table, these conversations would be prompted by artists’ illustrations of their own experiences.
My hope is that this is one more step in building a supportive network among people who would like to help work toward a more equitable city. By first examining our impact, we can encourage and assist each other in working through blind spots, behavior patterns, and problem beliefs that can get in the way of seeing these ideals of justice realized and prevent us from building authentic relationships.
How does a conversation among mostly white people help systemic racism?
Guests do and are encouraged to donate time or money to groups doing more direct work locally! This work of participatory art—about privilege, fragility, and calling-in—hopes to get at the issues from a different angle and engage a broader audience.
It would be great if we white people would spend more time researching literature and other resources by people of color and putting what we learn into action. But since things are often going ok for us personally in the racial dimension of our own lives, there isn't always motivation to sit down with this uncomfortable work. While white supremacist voices are bold and loud, a dinner brings people together to share resources and perspectives for countering them, within ourselves and in our communities. This project gathers people for whom the idea of white privilege is a relatively new one, as well as those who have spent a lifetime working on racial justice but realize they have more work to do.
Is this a safe space?
Dysfunctionalware is a space for people who want to challenge themselves. Dinner guests will be coming from vastly different sets of experiences and intersectional identities, and every single one of us has got a lot to learn. It should be an uncomfortable process. It is a practice in listening to understand, patience with self and others, vulnerability, reflection, discomfort, discovery, liberation. Facilitators are there to deal with intersectional issues.