Join Claudia Fox Tree and Debby Irving for an onstage conversation as they explore how U.S. narratives shaped their understanding of themselves, one another, and the complex world we live in.
Claudia Fox Tree is a multiracial/multiethnic Native American whose father is Native American (Arawak-Yurumein) and mother is German (from Mannheim-Feudenheim). Although she spent the first five years of her life in Germany and speaks German, she was born in Boston, has primarily grown up in the U.S.A., and been educated in Massachusetts, where she is active in the local Native American community. Claudia is on the board of the Massachusetts Center for Native Americans (MCNAA http://mcnaa.org/) and the Massachusetts liaison for the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP http://uctp.org/), headquartered in New York. To find out more about her multicultural consultancy work around social justice, see her blog: http://multiculturalinitiatives.blogspot.com/
Debby Irving brings to racial justice the perspective of working as a community organizer and classroom teacher for 25 years without understanding racism as a systemic issue or her own whiteness as an obstacle to grappling with it. As general manager of Boston’s Dance Umbrella and First Night, and later as a classroom teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she struggled to make sense of tensions she could feel but not explain in racially mixed settings. In 2009, a graduate school course, Racial and Cultural Identities, gave her the answers she’d been looking for and launched her on a journey of discovery. Debby now devotes herself to working with white people exploring the impact white skin can have on perception, problem-solving, and engaging in racial justice work. Her first book, Waking Up White, tells the story of how she went from well-meaning to well-doing and how she unpacked her own long-held beliefs about color blindness, being a good person, and wanting to help people of color. She reveals how each of these well-intentioned mindsets actually perpetuated her ill-conceived about race.