Games reveal minority fears over oppression

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The Independent Online
PAPERS from a training workshop for social workers in Hertfordshire demonstrate anti-racist and anti-discriminatory courses which are now likely to be discouraged, writes Rosie Waterhouse.

Those attending were divided into groups, depending on sex and colour, and discussed how they related to each other. Afterwards, the groups produced statements.

A statement headed 'White women's group re black person's group' said: 'We recognise that although we share a common experience of being oppressed (as being part of a minority) we are also oppressors and recognise that we have been oppressive towards the black members of the group. In our own individual way we will work on our own white racism and seek to make anti-racism unconscious as well as conscious.'

On the white men's group they wrote: 'We as a white women's group declare our intention in the future to challenge oppressive behaviour by the white men . . .'

The white men's group's statement said: 'I am sincere in what I say; I feel that I have contributed and learnt during the programme; I do care]; I have deep feelings; I recognise others' feelings; sometimes (often) it's hard to say what I feel; I try to be sensitive; I get upset if I am stereotyped because of my gender; If what I do and say offends you, please tell me. I am prepared to change]'

Extracts from the black group's statement include: 'Racism taken lightly by some; acknowledge own racism integral part of everything they do; challenge each other on issues of race - not be defensive.'