Skip to main content

Becoming Human: Dismantling Racism

On Demand

Becoming Human is rooted in the idea that the racial history people in the United States inherit is dehumanizing for all of us, though it is dehumanizing for white folks in different ways than it is dehumanizing for people of color.  

The only way to “become human” is to confront the legacy of white supremacy, and to work to dismantle the structures that distribute advantages and disadvantages unequally on the basis of pigmentation in the skin. This work to dismantle racist structures will interrupt the cultural conditioning in white supremacy that has been able to perpetuate down through the centuries.

Vital to this effort is the need to learn the history of how white supremacy has been structured into the American legal system from its founding, persisting beyond the era of Civil Rights especially through the “war on drugs,” and leading to the contemporary reality of mass incarceration.  Learning the stages of development in racial identity can help to disrupt the “White Savior” complex, the tendency of white people to engage in efforts that are unhelpful at best, and patronizing at worst. Social transformation can happen when there is a collective effort to find a match between one’s greatest gifts and the world's deepest needs (Frederick Buechner). Since theology is a carrier, too, of white supremacy, learning about the “Blackness of God” might also help in recognizing the moral imperative behind this religious calling to engage in the work of social transformation. 

Becoming Human is a project of the Racial Justice Initiative at the University of St. Thomas in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and the Basilica of Saint Mary. 

Learning Outcomes:  

  1. Recognize how white supremacy has been embedded within the law code of the United States. 
  2. Differentiate personal and relational forms of racism from structural or institutional forms of racism.
  3. Identify one’s implicit biases in relation to race.
  4. Articulate the ways in which the “white savior” is problematic.  
  5. Identify strengths and gifts they personally bring to anti-racism work. 
  6. Articulate the ways in which racism harms white people. 
  7. Determine one’s stage of racial identity development. 

Course Outline: 

  • Module 1: Civil War to Civil Rights 
  • Module 2: War on Drugs 
  • Module 3: Mass Incarceration 
  • Module 4: Radical Healing
  • Module 5: Overcoming the White Savior Complex 
  • Module 6: Mobilizing for Change
  • Module 7: Understanding the Stages of Development 

Course Format: Online, self-guided

Course Length: It will take approximately 10-12 hours to review all of the content and complete all of the learning activities.