Nebraska SARE Presents Webinar: Beyond Diversity: Understanding White Privilege and the Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture
Nebraska SARE hosted a webinar on December 18, 2012, 10-11:30am as part of their Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series. Here is a note about the webinar that Nebraska State SARE Coordinator, Gary Lesoing, sent out prior to the event.
Today’s society is becoming more diverse, with many different races, ethnic groups and people of different beliefs in our communities. NCR-SARE feels it is important to reach and educate all people about sustainable agriculture as we strive to make our communities more sustainable. As part of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Webinar Series, Nebraska SARE will present the webinar, ”Beyond Diversity: Understanding White Privilege and the Challenge for Sustainable Agriculture,” by Julia Kleinschmit, MSW Clinical Associate Professor, University of Iowa School of Social Work and the University of Iowa Division of Continuing Education. Julia recently gave a similar presentation at the recent NCEA/Extension Fall Conference in Grand Island. This webinar can be viewed from 10–11:30 a.m. on December 18th at the following link: https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/nebraska.
Nebraska SARE is planning on a couple of follow up workshops on this issue in 2013 at a couple of locations in Nebraska that will be available to Extension Educators in Nebraska. These will be free of charge and we will also reimburse participants their travel to these workshops. There will be more information available about these workshops following this webinar.
The State of Nebraska is rapidly becoming more ethnically diverse, with people of color making up a greater percentage of the population. Further, in our state (and throughout the US) people of color tend to be younger and have higher birthrates, even while the white population has lower birthrates and especially for many of our most rural counties, has largely aged out of the childbearing range (Diechert, 2011; US Census, 2011). This trend is even more true for the farming and ranching population (Cantrell, n.d. 1; Cantrell, n.d. 2). For rural communities that want to thrive, welcoming people of color can mean great promise, even while it questions the way things have “always been done.” Therein lies our challenge:
- To understand how we and the way our systems do things may inadvertently or purposely limit participation of people of color (and women);
- To gain skills that will help us have constructive conversations about these sticky issues so that we can help others do the same; and
- To identify concrete ways to make our systems more inclusive. Along the way, we could also say goodbye to guilt and perhaps defensiveness that can make this kind of work so uncomfortable and frustrating that we often choose not to do it.
In 90 minutes, this webinar will start us down that road and may include:
- Inventorying culture in our online room – it’s bigger than you think;
- A BRIEF overview of data that will help us understand the changing face of Nebraska;
- A discussion of privilege, based on Allan Johnson’s work (for more information, see Johnson, A. (2006) Privilege, Power, and Difference, 2nd Ed., Boston: McGraw Hill);
- An exercise that will better help us understand how privilege works in our day-to-day lives (no group hugging moments, I promise);
- Another exercise to show how we pick up messages in our society that reinforce privilege; and
- Beginning conversations about recognizing elements of white privilege in our organizational and other systems – and what could be done about it.
Nebraska State SARE Coordinator
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension