Anti Racist White Affinity Group Joins the School

Anti Racist White Affinity Group Joins the School

Audrey Ryder, Reporter

This year, the Anti-Racist White Affinity Group has been introduced to the School as an option for students who want to engage in the fight for racial justice. The advisors of the group, English teachers Paul Scott, Victoria Mathieson, and Jenny Temple, stated that they want to provide a place where members can “gather for education, self-reflection, intellectual and emotional challenge, and practice in order to become wiser and more resilient co-conspirators in the fight against racism in America.” In this club, members will be discussing education around whiteness in American schooling systems, identity development, the history of whiteness, and supporting other affinity groups. They will go in depth about how they, as white identifying students, can best participate in racial justice oriented conversations, how their own identities have evolved, and how whiteness operates in their lives. 

Teachers at the School were interested in starting an anti-racist group previously, but   “events at school last year, including the Black Student Union (BSU) assembly in December and the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others and the massive protest movement they spawned gave us a greater sense of urgency about getting such a group started at our school,” says Scott.

The Anti-Racist White Affinity Group has about a dozen members, spanning all Upper School grade levels, and its leaders are interested in recruiting more members. So far, the group lacks formal student leaders, but senior members of this club include Eva Verner, Elizabeth Marchant, Jena Thorne, and Cate Rosenbaum [who are] the “de facto leaders” according to Scott.

Students may see a white affinity group as strange, or wonder about the necessity of a group for white students. Scott acknowledges that the premise of the group sounds “bizarre,” but encourages others to give it a chance, saying, “I have noticed over the years that many of my white-identifying students can feel a sense of uncertainty and hesitation about how to gear into the fight for racial justice. Students want to help, they want to be agents of good, but they fear making mistakes or hurting a classmate’s feelings… We have to work hard to make the future we want, the future we know ought to be.” 

The group meets every Thursday during community time, from 11:10 to 11:50 and welcomes new members. If you are interested in joining, email one of the advisors or stop by at a meeting. If you want to stop by, the link is below, as are the emails for all three advisors.

 

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86478591995?pwd=cHJxMityV0pMKzBRNEVzT1JJaUFvZz09

 

Advisor Emails:

Victoria Mathieson – vmathieson@headroyce.org

Jenny Temple – jtemple@headroyce.org

Paul Scott – pscott@headroyce.org