Leveraging the Truth: Transforming Racial Hysteria Through Honest Storytelling
A report on a workshop led by Dr. David Campt on December 3, 2021
This is as much an endorsement as a review. I have attended three different workshops with Dr. David Campt and have felt energized and more confident as an antiracist advocate as a result. Dr. Campt uses a clear and successful technique for having real conversations with people he terms “White privilege skeptics.” The process starts with truly hearing others’ criticism of antiracism and then sharing our own story, noting its connection to that person and their misgivings. The next step is offering a perspective that could open them to a more antiracist position. The techniques Dr. Campt espouses not only help guide us through what might otherwise be difficult conversations, but gives us a reason to stay engaged in this topic with friends and family.
The Leveraging the Truth workshop I attended, in early December, was focused on putting together our 3-minute public statement in support of teaching our full history, including that which is dismissed by some as “Critical Race Theory.” The best part of Dr. Campt’s workshops is the generous time for practice, in small groups, with an observer. We take time to draft our stories and position, practice saying it, and get supportive feedback from our practice partners.
A few years ago, when I attended his beginning White ally workshop (when we were still doing these live!), interested people created follow-up groups to continue to practice, to work through the White Ally Toolkit booklet, until we felt more confident that we could have conversations with people not identified as antiracists.
Dr. Campt is a skilled workshop leader. He is funny and to the point. He rather easily and skillfully puts to rest our objections or questions: Isn’t this or that racist? What if I’m doing it wrong? What about facts and data? His position is that we take our positions from emotions, and that to move people, we need to connect at that emotional level. Hence, his focus on our getting our own stories down: when did we witness racism? When were we unskillful in interacting with a person of color? When did we act on our own biases?
Dr. Campt’s workshops have a fee. He makes his living doing this work – and hoorah for him, as a Black man, to take on teaching White people how to be more effective. It is well worth your investment if you have the means. You can get more information at his website: https://www.davidcampt.com.