The Non-Black story of THE HUMAN JOURNEY®

June 4, 2020 sara.k.schneider@gmail.com

The Scott family. Photo by Zora J. Murff. Originally appeared in the Atlantic. https://bit.ly/309PQ60

THE HUMAN JOURNEY® is owned by a white woman.

Before releasing the THJ® game experience and Conductor training to the public, we tested and went back to the drawing board to refine the experience — painstakingly — over and over again.

But we did not test with families with Black members. We invited them but were not successful in signing them on. We did go forward with the families outside of a white Judeo-Christian cultural paradigm we could get—Latino, Muslim. (They were by no means as heavily represented as those within that paradigm.)

You could say, well, you tried. You tried to recruit Black families. You did your due diligence.

But we did not then examine why Black families were hard to reach or hard to get to agree to test.

Since then, African-Americans have participated in training to conduct the THJ® experience. One suggested we apply what we know about the design of group experiences to the hard issues of creating long-term Restorative Justice in our communities. Since that suggestion last fall—which seemed entirely right—we began investigating both the field of RJ and how communities and police build relationships. We have a lot yet to learn as we build and test THE HUMAN JOURNEY® edition with communities.

This is not about white guilt. It is about white responsibility. THJ® is examining the networks it has, the organizations it seeks to do business with, and the services it provides so that they better address the needs of a wider swath of the public seeking ways to build peace and belonging both small-scale within families and support communities, and on a bigger scale between groups.

We want to hear from those who are interested in helping us do that.

We also want to encourage the majority of businesses in healthcare, home care, and other fields serving the public that are white-owned, but Black- and immigrant-staffed, to listen, to take the risk of looking foolish by asking genuine questions, and, with us, to seek out one thing on this helpful list that they can begin to do to address the power differential that allows them to own such a business. It is no accident that so many of us are white.

 

 

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