Learning Circle

Before convening your Learning Circle, review our suggestions for how these groups can be structured. Please read through the discussion guide on this page before convening your Learning Circle, so participants know what readings to complete by the time of each discussion.

Each of our Learning Circle discussions includes two sections. The first section will help your group think about and discuss one of the reflection exercises in each unit of our Study Guide. The second section, “Destination Discussion,” is tailored to support conversation around learning materials specific to your destination.

Gather: Invite people to sit quietly for a moment and take a few centering breaths. Light the chalice, and offer opening words. Allow a few more moments of silence. Invite members into a brief personal check-in.

Part I: Unpacking the Knapsack (30 minutes)

Group Viewing
Though all or most of your members may have viewed the video of Peggy McIntosh describing what led to the creation of her “knapsack of white privilege” individually, watch it together on a computer or projection screen.
Individual Reflection
Invite people to first reflect individually in their journals on the following questions:

If you identify as a white person:

  • What struck you from the McIntosh list that was surprising or new?
  • Did anything on her list disturb you, or provoke argument? Try to be specific.
  • Are there things you would add to the list?
  • What are you curious about?

If you identify as a person of color:

  • Are there privileges on the list you have experienced, although you do not identify as a white person? Elements of the biases she describes which have touched you as a person of color?
  • Did you disagree with anything on her list? Try to be specific.
  • Are there things you would add to the list?
  • What are you curious about?


Large Group Discussion
When they have finished journaling individually, invite the members back together into the Learning Circle to discuss these questions:

  1. What feelings and thoughts are provoked by McIntosh’s reflections?
  2. What new questions arise for you, especially as you contemplate the destination of this UUCSJ journey?
  3. As individuals, what one new action would you like to take toward shifting racial power dynamics in your own life?

Part II: Destination Discussion (50 minutes)

Click on the appropriate icon for your journey’s destination reflection.

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