Recent events in the United States clearly demonstrate the magnitude of the racial divide that currently exists in our society, our institutions and organizations, our cities, and towns, and even in our families. In the midst of this strife, meaningful dialog is not only possible but necessary for healing and peace. The fear and resentment that has exploded is indicative of the fact that we have a serious journey ahead of us in terms of racial reconciliation, equity, and social justice. There is a history of racism that needs to be considered and a new future that needs to be contemplated. It starts with humility and genuine desire to learn how to see race and racial justice from new perspectives.

If you are interested in starting this journey at your organization, Invista Performance Solutions has a facilitated training program– RACE, the Power of an Illusion–that looks closely at the issue of race and initiates serious dialog. The course is 8-hours long and can be delivered in shorter modules, either virtually or live at your organization.

RACE-The Power of an Illusion training asks a question so basic it is rarely raised:  What is this thing we call race?  The answer lies in the training program’s three short videos, which have become one of the most widely used documentaries ever for informal and non-formal education about race in the U.S.  Millions of people have used the videos to scrutinize their own beliefs about race and explore how our social divisions are not natural, or inevitable, but made. The videos were produced by California Newsreel, and shown on PBS. Now, considering the events of 2020, the series remains, more than ever, salient and timely.

This 8-hour training focuses our thoughts and beliefs and brings to light issues and facts that might challenge those beliefs.  Conducted by experienced co-facilitators, the training is more of a discussion on the question, “What is this thing called race?”  It is not a lecture but a facilitated and very interactive conversation with the objective of exploring this question to gain a better understanding.

Course Objectives:

During this course, you will:

  • Examine common beliefs and misconceptions about race, privilege, and justice, and how these issues impact our organizations and institutions
  • Increase your awareness of the importance of an organizational initiative addressing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Gain an understanding of the term “institutional racism” and how it differs from individual racism
  • Explore historical cases of institutional racism
  • Learn to recognize examples of institutional racism within our organizations policies, practices & procedures, and brainstorm solutions
  • Identify the impact of diversity within the workplace and how it affects relationships
  • Learn via dialog and discussion how to have a conversation with someone about differences
  • Develop strategies that positively impact relationships and the organization 

Course Description:

Race, the Power of an Illusion is customized to meet your organization’s needs and contains approximately 60% facilitated discussions coupled with a variety of experiential activities around supplemental videos. The course begins by examining the contemporary science that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be bundled into racial groups according to their physical traits. The course uncovers the roots of the race concept and traces the transformation of some suspicions about differences and sorting people into biological races. Issues, such as who defines race and where the definitions came from, are only a few of the question’s participants will discuss.

Participants learn about the ‘Lens of Equity’ tools available to help guide them through assessing policies, procedures, programs, etc. to determine potential equity barriers. The very invisible and uncomfortable but easy to take for granted topic of white privilege will also be covered.  It will include discussions about this term that many instinctively don’t trust or believe to be real despite evidence to the contrary about the unearned rights and benefits afforded white people. The capstone consists of several group activities that focus on defining the organization’s workplace barriers and how those barriers can be addressed and potentially lessened or eliminated. With the assistance of a facilitator, many organizations have established a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee that spearheads the continuation of the training through many activities within the organization.

Course Outline:

Introductions/Objectives/Overview

The session will open with an outline or road map for the training experience. There will be an exercise that highlights the similarities and differences of the participants. This is a low risk exercise that can surface discussion about various issues around race, equity, diversity and inclusion and how it affects people.

Providing context, definitions, and guidelines for discussion

This section focuses on providing participants some skills to handle these difficult conversations effectively and comfortably with a positive impact and create relations of trust. Terms will be defined to assist in clear communication and the parameters of culture will be explored. This will include discussing more familiar terms such as race, gender, white privilege along with less familiar terms, such as multi-generational and LGBTQIA. There will be experiential exercises that provides participants opportunities to explain their views and opinions about various race-related topics.

The session ends with participants identifying ways they can apply what they learned when interacting or working with people who are different than themselves. They will also identify strategies to employ at work to create a place of equity and inclusivity.

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