“Debunking White Supremacy: A Formula for Eradicating Racism.”
“Decentering Whiteness and Building Multiracial Community.”
These are just a couple of the nearly 200 workshops that’ll be offered at the 17th annual White Privilege Conference, which kicks off Thursday at the Marriott Hotel in Center City Philadelphia.
“It’s not about beating up on white folks or males or heterosexuals, but rather to consider how these identities are socially constructed and serve to include, benefit and lift up certain people at the expense of others,” said Dr. Dena Samuels, who chairs the board of directors at The Privilege Institute, which organizes the four-day event.
Dr. Eddie Moore started the conference in 1999 as a vehicle for people of all races and ages to not only dissect racial inequality, but also — and more importantly — to consider solutions and take action.
“Whether it’s starting your own diversity group when you get back to school, whether it’s speaking truth to the power figures in your organization, whether it’s doing a speech or a presentation when you get back to report to your administration…there are a plethora of things we try to offer people,” said Moore.
More than 2,400 people are expected to attend the conference, including Mt. Airy resident Vanessa Julye. This will be her 7th conference.
To her, it’s a “transformational” experience every time.
“One of the responsibilities that I have in my job is to address issues of racism. This gives me an opportunity to improve my skills, to have conversations that I’m not able to have with people who facilitate issues around racism, and to listen to some wonderful speakers,” said Julye, a coordinator with Friends General Conference.
This is the first time Philadelphia is hosting the conference. Organizers say about 60 percent of those attending are white.