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Exercises for Creating Transformative Conversations about Race

Exercise 1: Stepping into the "Witness Stance" -- Being with your feelings & thoughts

  1. Think of a situation where another white person said or did something you consider racist. Default situation: A friend or relative hears or sees that you’re interested in antiracism, and says “It's you bringing this up like this that is the problem. What you're saying is racist, because you're creating division.” Without judgment, but with as much emotion as you want or need to express, frame your recollection with these prompts, or something like them:

    1. ​I saw/heard/read them express___

    2. I felt ___ in my ___

    3. I noticed myself ___

    4. I told myself/others ___

    5. I chose to believe ___

  2. Others in the group, you simply witness. Do not advise, do not chime in. Speaker, if you’d like, you can ask for a reflection back of what others heard. No affirming, negating, analyzing, sharing your experience, simply reflect.

Exercise 2: Get centered, make a single inquiry

  1. Center yourself, and make an inquiry. Speaker, have a roleplayer in the group say the racist thing that provokes you.

    1. ​Be with your feelings as you did in the last exercise.

    2. Find your breath. 

    3. Bring to mind your intention that you formulated earlier. Example: I want to have transformative conversations with other white people that bring me closer to them, and eventually inspire them to alliehood.

    4. Connect with your heart and your belly, hand on each, breathe. I will keep my heart open, I will remember my power and my purpose. I will not sacrifice one to the other.

    5. Find your feet, remember your connection to the earth, and to all beings on the planet, the oxygen from the plants we breathe, the carbon dioxide we exhale, and how we in fact belong right here.

      Or whatever works for you. Then...

      Make one simple, loving, connected inquiry.

      If you do nothing else in this workshop, do that! ^^^

      Here are some suggestions. 

      1. Tell me more about that.

      2. Would you be willing to share with me how you came to believe that?

      3. Could you help me understand what that means?

        Or create your own. And then simply listen.


Let the roleplayer respond in role. The point of this exercise is for you, the speaker, to get to the point where your loving, grounded, connected presence, prompts the other person to come out of their own misconceptions.

Exercise 3: Hit play! Feel free to rewind, and practice being with your feelings, getting centered, and making an inquiry



In this exercise you’re going to do everything you learned in the first two, but this time, you’re going to engage the other person in a conversation. Roleplayers, stay in role.

Now here’s the very special part. In real life, you don’t get to stop, rewind, regroup, and start over. But here you do! I recommend that if you plotz, schvitz, freeze up, or otherwise are unable to carry on, that you stop, and do the being with your feelings, and the centering from the first two exercise, then continue. Take your time! This is the heart of the work. Feel your feelings, work through your stuff, in this unique opportunity.

Exercise 4: Step into the role of the one in the "Denial/Contrarian" stage.


This may feel very challenging. However, it may be the most helpful thing of all so far in enabling you to have a truly transformative conversation with someone who is firmly ensconced in a WSM mindset.

  1. Take some time to feel into the inner world of hypothetical or real person in the very early stages of dismantling the white supremacy myth mindset. Make a real effort to inhabit their needs, feelings and beliefs.

  2. In a roleplay, see the world through their eyes. Breathe through their lungs. Feel the good intentions of their heart, and, to the best of your ability, speak through their mouth.

  3. As you do this, your partner will practice their engagement skills.

  4. Then reverse.

See options for continuing this work

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