It's the first week of a new four-part series led by Dr. Steven Kniffley. He’s Spalding University's Associate Director for the Center for Behavioral Health and an Assistant Professor.
He explains to me there are two approaches to keep in mind when it comes to messaging.
“The legacy approach is more knowledge based it just tell us, ‘Hey racism is out here and it exists’ and then it leaves it at that. But it doesn't tell us what to do about it. The literacy approach says we need to be able to determine whether nor not something is racist or not we need to be to determine that we have the ability to do something about it which is often where we get stuck," Dr. Kniffley said.
Moving from legacy to literacy is a process. Dr. Kniffley says the final outcome speaks to knowing you did something to address behavior that you deem racist. The shift in mindset is something attendees were eager to discuss and many planned on taking the information back to the own families and communities
“I think it's all about a thought process of you comprehend what is actually going on and once you learn how to navigate the actual from actually the micro-agression of that you know how to use your tools to effectively move forward," Brandon Taylor said.
“We can go back out into the community and we can deploy and share the message but certainly if more of us come the table than means that there's always going ot be one of us in every environment in every neighborhood in every workplace who has the tools the confidence and the ability to speak on behalf of those who are being traumatized daily by these actions," Jhermel Holt said.
Dr. Kniffley likens it to an African proverb. It says “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm."
“I found that if I'm able to conquer how I experience racism, how I perceive racism, and my ability to do something about it then it doesn't matter what anyone else says if i can empower other black people to conquer their enemies within then it doesn't matter whatever types of racism exists in the world we will be able to address it and conquer it, " Kniffley said.
The next session is Tuesday September 10th at Western Library. There is no fee and things get started at 6:45 in the evening. The topic will be identifying negative cultural messages.