Practicing Messy Conversations
As we embark on our journeys as antiracist people of faith, we are bound to make mistakes and say the wrong thing.
Materials and Setup
Materials and Setup:
A laptop or device with internet connection, if you choose to share the video clip.
As we encourage each other to have braver conversations about race and other sensitive topics around identity, we know we will make mistakes. It’s ok to say the wrong thing! Successful conversations about white supremacy and our desire for transformation ask us to be vulnerable, authentic and real, and interested in the other more than in ourselves, especially around newcomers. The work we do on dismantling racism in ourselves and in our meetings will help us let go of the aspects of white supremacy culture that limit our full connection with each other and will help our meetings be safer and more welcoming for all.
What brave conversation are you called to have today? What will you do if (when) you say the wrong thing?
Watch this 3-minute video from Verna Myers: The Mistakes People Make After They Say The Wrong Thing. “If you make a mistake, move closer.”
Next, the role-playing activity below invites participants to reflect on messy conversations and practice new ways of engagement.
Begin with centering worship.
Acknowledge that this activity asks us to be vulnerable and imperfect and that’s okay. Transformation is possible and it takes practice to get there.
Say: Think about a time when you said the wrong thing and you wished you had handled it differently.
After a few minutes, ask for a volunteer to share their story with the group.
After listening to the story of saying the wrong thing, two people from the group will come to the center of the circle or the front of the room to act out the story. The speaker may choose to be involved in this reenactment or to stay in the circle as a witness.
First, the volunteers will reenact the story as described by the speaker.
Then, they will act out a new version of the story, reflecting how the interaction could have been handled differently.
Invite the group to reflect on what they noticed in the interactions.
Repeat with other examples from the group.
Credits: Welcoming Friend Working Group