2021 Equity Challenge

Temple Beth’s Or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce and the Social Action Committee will be offering a 10-week equity challenge.

You will be provided with a selection of content material each Monday beginning March 29th. There will be articles to read, TED Talks to listen to, assessments to take, charts to review… You select which content you wish to interact with. The intent is to keep learning to 15-30 minutes per week. Of course, you are more than welcome to spend more time on the content.

We want to encourage everyone participating in the Challenge to gather each Sunday at 4 PM for a one-hour conversation to talk about the challenge of the week. The first zoom meeting will be on April 4th. We know that by participating in these conversations you will have a richer experience. There will be small group and large group conversations. There will be different facilitators throughout the challenge.

Each week a challenge will be sent out to those who register. You can register by calling the office (425.259.7125). The content is appropriate for those who have become B’nei Mitzvah.

  • INTRODUCTION: Privilege is the unearned social, political, economic, and psychological benefits of membership in a group that has institutional and structural power. There are many types of privilege that different groups have in the U.S. We commonly hear about privilege because of race or gender, but privilege also exists for different groups based on religion, sexuality, ability, class, and education level. Having privilege can give you advantages in life, but having privilege is not a guarantee of success.

    In America, whiteness is the standard and the criteria used to determine whether ideas, actions, or experiences have worth, merit or value. Too often, whiteness dismisses the experiences and worldviews of people who are not white, because the opinions, values, needs and beliefs of people who are not white don’t have merit. Whiteness is the control and the standard because whiteness is fundamentally about power.

    Questions to Ponder Before You Begin Your Challenge:

    • What types of privilege do you have?
    • How has privilege (or lack of) impacted your life?
    • How do you experience privilege and marginalization?
    • What did you notice about your personal reactions while reading and viewing the material? What do these reactions tell you about your experiences?
    • Looking at the community you grew up in or are currently in, what do you notice about how privilege and marginalization have shaped the community and your opportunities?


    This Week’s Challenge: Do one or more of the following…

    ASSESSMENT: Take this eye-opening privilege self-assessment by Buzzfeed to discover where you are on the spectrum.

    READ: The article “Americans don’t see me, or Ahmaud Arbery, running down the road—they see their fear” by Ibram X Kendi, Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, articulates the relationship between Black people and American perceptions of them. (5 pages)

    READ:  Read more about 5 Types Of Privilege You Probably Have No Idea You’re Benefiting From (elitedaily.com) (5 pages)

    READ: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person: Gina Crosley-Corcoran, raised “the kind of poor that people don’t want to believe still exists in this country,” explores where race and class do and don’t intersect and how she’s come to understand her own white privilege. (6 pages)

    READ:  Peggy McIntosh’s, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of White Privilege (This is an article, not the book.) (8 pages)

    WATCH: This short, powerful Buzzfeed video titled What Is Privilege featuring a privilege walk. See how privilege shows up differently for this group of co-workers. (3:59 minutes)

    WATCH: Last year, comedian Chelsea Handler made a documentary on Netflix called Hello Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea, where she explored the idea of white privilege. Watch this 2-part interview with her on The View (Part 1, Part 2) to hear more about how and why she decided to produce this powerful documentary. (Part 1- 4:35, Part 2 – 4:38)



    • If you identify as white, reflect on how white privilege operates in your personal life. What advantages do you experience because of your whiteness? How do those privileges contribute to your opinions and actions?
    • If you identify as Black or a person of color, reflect on how you’ve seen whiteness benefit white individuals. How has white privilege impacted your life? What types of privilege do you have?
    • How has privilege (or lack of) impacted your life?
    • What will you do to be more aware of your privilege in the future?
    • How will you use your privilege in the future to help others?
    • What is one small thing you can do to apply or practice your new racial awareness?
    • What was your ‘a-ha’ moment (moment of surprise or new information)?
    • What was your ‘hurt’ moment (feeling of discomfort)?
    • What will you do differently?


    Youth Book Suggestions:

    A Kids Book About White Privilege. Ben Sand. This book directly addresses the myth that all children start from the same spot. White children growing up today need to see their privilege and learn how to use it for good. And maybe—just maybe— learn how to give it up.  Intended audience – Ages 6+

    Those Shoes.  Maribeth Boelts.  Everyone at school has “those” shoes, and Jeremy wants some, too. But his family can’t afford new shoes and new winter boots at the same time. Eventually, Jeremy comes to appreciate what he has, and that he was able to help someone else. Intended audience – Ages 5+ Read aloud – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75O_B6748aA

    White Socks Only.  Evelyn Coleman.  This book tells the story of a young black girl who is under the impression that she’s able to drink from a “Whites Only” water fountain because she is wearing white socks. A great story dedicated to explaining privilege and segregation, White Socks Only is a good place to start with your kids.  Intended audience – Ages 4+  Read Aloud video

    Not My Idea:  A Book about Whiteness.  Anastasia Higginbotham.  An honest explanation about how power and privilege factor into the lives of white children, at the expense of other groups, and how they can help seek justice.  Intended audience – Ages 8+

    Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man. Emmanuel Acho.  The author takes on all the questions, large and small, insensitive and taboo, many white Americans are afraid to ask—yet which all Americans need the answers to, now more than ever.  Acho explains the vital core of such fraught concepts as white privilege, cultural appropriation, and “reverse racism.” He provides a space of compassion and understanding in a discussion that can lack both.  Along the way, he will galvanize all of us to join the antiracist fight.  Intended audience – Ages 12+ Book trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/oseOoeqdgWY