After hundreds of discussions with people of European American heritage over 20 years, we developed presentations, workshops and discussion questions for people to explore their culture and identity in ways that lead to healing and reconciliation. By this study, we seek to develop together an identity for European Americans that does not privilege any group above another, but provides the resources for people to live with humility and connection to place and culture.
We have identified four areas of study. Click on the links below for resources and study questions for each of these areas.
1. The Dynamics of Culture: Because European Americans are the majority culture and are taught to see ourselves only as individuals, we often do not recognize our culture as a culture. This study helps us to understand how deeply culture influences us and that there are many ways of seeing and knowing that are of great value.
2. The History of Whiteness: "Whiteness" is a socially constructed concept -- an identity based on superficial physical differences that replaced identity based on lineage or connection to place. European Americans must understand how this history was constructed and supported in order to recognize where and how it operates and how to transform it.
3. European American Culture: When we ask European Americans to describe the characteristics of their culture, people usually have a hard time. The water we swim in is difficult to see unless you focus on it explicitly. Knowing these characteristics, whether you personally support them or not, can help you to recognize where they show up and how they impact interactions between cultures.
4. European "Root" Cultures: Before whiteness, people who came to America from Europe were very connected to the culture of their homeland, and these cultures still deeply influence European Americans. They have many resources we can draw on for health and healing and to add richness and meaning into our lives.
We encourage you to explore all four areas!