Session Four:  Institutional Racism: Disrupting Silence & Collusion


Why is it so hard to talk about race and racism? Why don't diversity efforts assure equity in upward mobility? What do we need to understand in order to cultivate authentic racial inclusion?


"Any white person living in the United States will develop opinions about race simply by swimming in the water of our culture. But mainstream sources — schools, textbooks, media — don’t provide us with the multiple perspectives we need.”  Yes, we will develop strong emotionally laden opinions, but they will not be informed opinions. Our socialization renders us racially illiterate. When you add a lack of humility to that illiteracy (because we don’t know what we don’t know), you get the break-down we so often see when trying to engage white people in meaningful conversations about race."

—Robin DiAngelo, co-presenter of this session.


This session provides an orientation to institutionalized racism and will be facilitated by an interracial team, Robin DiAngelo and Darlene Flynn. The session is designed to be relevant for both those who are new to the discussion and those already involved. Through lecture, discussion and exercises, we will explore: basic anti-racism theory; how white racial identity is formed; dynamics of internalized racial oppression for people of color; what makes racism so hard for whites to see; and building cross-racial alliances. Weaving information, analysis, stories, images, and familiar examples, the facilitators will provide the framework needed to begin developing cross-racial skills.


Learning Objectives:

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate between: prejudice, discrimination, and systematic racism

  • Understand the basic dynamics of current race relations in the U.S.

  • Examine the dynamics of internalized racial oppression and internalized racial dominance

  • Identify and make everyday patterns of whiteness recognizable

  • Recognize common barriers to bridging racial divides and identify more constructive cross-racial practices

  • Recognize all of the above as an on-going process and provide resources to continue



Date: Monday, June 27, 2016


Time:  8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (continental breakfast served at 7:45 am)


Location:  Nordstrom Flagship Store, Seattle

                  1617 6th Avenue

                  5th Floor, J.W. Nordstrom Meeting Room



Darlene Flynn has over ten years of experience providing racial equity training to build capacity for creating

racial justice in Seattle, Washington. In this capacity she has worked extensively with cross-racial teams seeking to bring about institutional and structural change to create racial equity in the city of Seattle. Equity in educational opportunity has been a focus of Darlene's work as a community activist and ultimately led to her serving a four-year term on the Seattle Public School Board. She counts that experience among the most valuable and challenging tests of moving from theory to action for racial equity. She strives to teach and model an approach to others across the country who are seeking to become more effective social change agents. Her explicit purpose in this work is to bring the healing and perspectives that support people of color in their leadership development and effectiveness.


Dr. Robin DiAngelo is a former Associate Professor of Education. She is a two-time winner of the Student's Choice Award for Educator of the Year. Her scholarship is in White Racial Identity and Race Relations. In addition to her academic work, Dr. DiAngelo has extensive experience as a workplace consultant in issues of race relations and racial justice. She and Darlene Flynn were appointed to co-design the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. She has numerous publications and just completed the 2nd edition of her book, “What Does it Mean to be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy.  Her work on White Fragility has been featured in Alternet,, NPR, and Colorlines. Her clients include UC Davis, Vanderbilt University, PNB Bank, Harvard Law School, Harborview Hospital and the Hollywood Writer's Guild.

Upcoming Sessions in 2016:


Session 5:  The demographic explosion:  Building relationships amidst shifting power and preferences.  Tuesday, September 20


Session 6:  Shakeup of traditional networks:  Realizing the innovative power of employee groups, business groups and councils.  Thursday, November 3