October 31, 1996
Conference plans are running smoothly and we look forward to an enthusiastic and motivated group of people. The conference remains the centerpiece to DIALOG ON WHITENESS. In the first few days after the release of the DIALOG ON WHITENESS: STATEMENT we received several endorsements. The process is still open to any person or organization that would like to take a public stand on the importance of this discussion.
Activity on our web site has picked up significantly in the last couple days. So have other indications of interest such as phone calls and registrations. Space remains available, but we urge people to register ASAP. There is very little time left.
I am confident at this point the conference will succeed as a statement that at least some white Americans and Canadians feel it is important to discuss our racial position in the United States and Canada with the purpose of undoing the effects of white supremacy, and that furthermore, at least some people of color are supportive and understanding of this process.
Whereas individuals have always been available to express these views, the conference represents the first time people have purposefully and publicly assembled expressly to discuss the impact of whiteness on our lives. It is a historic moment, and one in which all conference participants may take pride. That we are able to do so before the end of this twentieth century is significant.
No single conference can contain all views that need expression, nor can it encompass the full range of antiracist concerns. It is likely that many voices will emerge from our process next week, and no single voice may prevail. But it's a start.
See you there.
Center for the Study of White American Culture,
and with pride,
one of four organizational and sixteen individual sponsors of DIALOG ON WHITENESS.
October 17, 1996
We can no longer accept proposals for presentations. However, there will be opportunity at the conference for people to develop ways to share their work and concerns with each other.
The Center for Study has been running a listserv with about 40 participants where we have been discussing the conference and the topic of whiteness in general. Much of our attention has been focused there for the past few weeks.
We plan to expand the scope of conference sponsorship. Toward that end, the Center for Study (Roselle, NJ) and Partnership Against Racism (Chicago) are developing a process, named DIALOG ON WHITENESS, where other organizations and individuals can publicly endorse the goals of the conference. Under this process, the Center for Study will remain the conference administrator with regard to managing logistical details of the conference. But we will be a co-sponsor in terms of endorsing the goals.
As part of DIALOG ON WHITENESS, we also plan to encourage local activity by like-minded and concerned persons and organizations across the country.
Stay tuned...and please update anyone who does not have Web access.
September 22, 1996
Charley Flint and Jeff Hitchcock will be interviewed by Mike Thornton of KVMR-FM, a Sacramento radio station, at 6:15 AM PST the Monday of the week of the conference.
Five people have requested copies of the conference proceedings. We have no specific plans yet to publish proceedings, but we consider dissemination of the information to be important and we are looking into it.
Though we will continue to contact people in academia, our publicity focus is changing, as planned, and we will now direct our efforts to the American public.
We will continue to consider proposals for presentations, and we still have space on the program. At this time we have no cutoff date. We will evaluate proposals on a case by case basis as they come in. Obviously, as our program becomes full we will be less able to accomodate new proposals, however worthy. Thus we encourage potential presenters to contact us ASAP.
September 5, 1996
As the conference date is approaching, it is still too
early to tell how the event will turn out. We do know the conference
has elicited a broad-based and positive reaction from people in
many different disciplines, and from many different cultural and
racial backgrounds. In this regard, we are on target.
We are beginning to receive proposals for presentations, and registrations. With some recent publicity, activity on our web site jumped to more than 60 visits per day and our Email traffic increased substantially. We are hearing many stories, some endearing and inspiring. The amount of research and grassroots activity going on exceeds our previous expectation. Something, indeed, is in the air.
We have not yet contacted everyone we feel should know. Publicity will continue to be directed toward people who
have studied whiteness and white American culture. Our secret fear
is that we will overlook someone who, by their past work and
commitment, should have been notified. If you know anyone,
particularly someone who does not use the Internet, please let them
know about the conference and about us. We respond to phone and
snail mail inquiries as well as Email.
We welcome overtures from people who would like their
names associated with the event, particularly as the conference
begins to take its final shape. During the later part of September
we will be assembling the program. Publicity efforts will turn
toward the general public, to reach people who might never
have considered that a public discussion of whiteness and white
American culture was possible or desirable.
We will begin to notify the media and encourage their
attendance. The conference presents an opportunity to be
more than an academic exercise--it is an opportunity to take the issue of whiteness out of
the closet and lay it on the national table. We encourage everyone who plans to attend and present, to consider how
they might frame their concerns before this larger audience. August...
Starting in August we began publicizing the conference in earnest,
relying primarily on the Internet. During that time we sent nearly one hundred notices to various individuals, mailing lists, and organizations. We spent considerable time locating and
contacting people and organizations that have been involved, or who
might want to be involved, in the public discussion of whiteness
and white American culture.
The response was noticable and positive. We heard
from some people whom we consider pioneers in the study of
whiteness, and we received a favorable and encouraging reply in
each case. Many people asked for our
Call for Presentations.
Inquiries came from across the nation, and from Canada,
New Zealand, Switzerland, and England. Activity on our website,
still modest by some standards, rose from 5 to 10 hits per day
at the start of August to an average of 20 hits per
day by the end of the month. Prior to August...
In May this year, having discussed the possiblity of a conference for several months, we committed to doing it. Our feeling was, and continues to be, that regardless of the outcome, it was time we began.
In June we made arrangements for the site. No knowing how many people to expect, we wanted to obtain a site that would support a large number, but which would not bankrupt our meagre resources if only a small number of people actually came. The site we selected will do this for us.
In July we began to publicize the conference. Much of our effort was directed to preparing our Information Packet and Call for Presentations in their various forms (web site, Email, printed versions) and locating people and organizations to notify.