Chris Crass’s talks can be tailored to be keynotes or highly interactive workshops depending on your needs and goals. He loves working with people new to these ideas as well as people who have long been involved in the work of social change.
Beyond White Fragility: Developing Anti-Racist Resilience and Culture on Our Campuses and In Our Communities
The call and need for stronger racial justice values and action on our campuses and in our communities is clear. While there is much needed discussion about white fragility and white silence getting in the way, there is also a need to develop anti-racist resilience, courage and leadership. In this interactive talk, Chris creates an invitational discussion that helps people new or reluctant to these conversations, to participate, while also being a space for learning and growth for those who have long been part of these conversations. This is an opportunity to develop a stronger culture of inspiration, resilience, and courage for racial justice. While one of the themes of the talk is on white people working for racial justice, the overall theme is on how we can build stronger racial justice values and culture on our campuses and in our communities.
Which Way Forward: White Nationalism or Multiracial Democracy
We are living in monumental times which are, in many ways, a battle between the worldviews and values of white nationalism and multiracial democracy. Drawing on the historical development of racism in the United States, Chris explores the ways that white identity politics have been used to instill animosity, resentment and fear in white communities against communities of color. He further looks at how white identity politics have both been used to mobilize white communities against Civil Rights and multiracial democracy, while also maintaining massive economic and political inequality that hurts many in white communities. Chris also draws upon the long history of social justice movements to create and expand multiracial democracy and economic justice. He invites us all to consider our choices and actions as the future of our country is at stake.
Courage for Racial Justice: How Can White People be Anti-Racist
How can white people be courageous against racism and for multiracial democracy in these times? With racist hate, fear, violence, and legislation on the rise, this is an interactive talk that uses story-telling, humor, and lessons from social justice efforts historically and today, to help participants understand the impact of racism and how white people can work for racial justice and multiracial democracy on our campuses, in our communities, and in our country. Using small group story sharing and large group interactive presentations, Chris weaves together the voices and experiences of people in the room with history, current events, and his own experiences as a white person becoming aware of racism and joining multiracial movements for racial justice.
Racism Cannot Have Me and My People: A White Person’s Journey to Anti-Racism
What does it mean to be a white person in these times, and what does a journey towards anti-racism as a white person look like? Sharing stories from his experience of coming into consciousness about race, his awkward stumblings, and significant moments with multiracial student social justice organizing and with mentors, Chris shares how he wrestled with trying to understand anti-racist values and taking action for racial justice. He uses humor, history, and story to invite us all to reflect on our lives, the positive and negative impacts of history on who we are, and the power we have to shape the future of our own lives and our society.
Being an Ally for Social Justice
While awareness of power, privilege and oppression is growing on campuses and in many of our communities, the question “what can I do” persists. Using stories from his own experience as a white person coming into consciousness about racism and as a man coming into awareness of sexism, Chris takes people on a journey that many can relate to, yet few speak openly about. Sharing openly and honestly, with humanity and humility, about the often painful experience of becoming aware of one’s privilege, and the awkward confusion of trying to figure out what to do, Chris invites participants to explore their own journey and helps them develop frameworks and practical next steps to become allies. For Chris, the work of an ally isn’t just to work to end the injustices impacting others, but to work against supremacy systems that pit us against each other, suffocate our full humanity, and undermine democracy and economic justice for all.
Let’s All Get Free: Toxic Masculinity, Ending Rape Culture, and Why Men Need Feminism Too
Boys are raised to “act like a man,” suppressing all emotions other then anger. They are taught to take control, which often means dominating others. Men are encouraged, in a sexist society, to possess and disrespect women and treat anything feminine as less than. Institutional gender inequity and the epidemic of sexual assault, rape, and sexism on our campuses and in our communities must end. In this presentation, Chris Crass encourages men to take up this work for gender equity and to help create healthy communities, healthy relationships, and get free from the damage and pain that toxic masculinity creates for all of us.
A Note from Chris Crass about his Interactive Workshops
"My workshops include a combination of exercises that I lead people through, small and large group facilitated discussions, and some presentation. I share personal stories as well as lessons and insights from past and present social justice/anti-racist work. The discussions are both facilitated and highly participatory, so that the questions and issues most important to the group, can help guide the workshop.
To begin I lead people through an exercise on "creating a culture of inspiration" to root our work in. Asking people to think of someone who has deeply inspired them to do the work they're doing, talking about their person in small groups and then sharing out to the large group. We talk about the culture of despair that structural inequality fosters and how that impacts us personally and the work we do. We talk about the culture of inspiration as both a way to help us be more effective and healthy. We talk about what brought people into this work, so that their values and commitments can help ground the conversation about why we work against racism.
I would talk with you all first to get a better sense of where the group is at. We would either do work together on understanding racism historically and today, and then move into anti-racist principles and practices and what they mean for the work people are doing. Depending on the needs of the group, I can do more or less of different discussion. We would do story sharing from people's lives about racism and anti-racism. How racism was or wasn't talked about in your family. A time when you've either worked against racism or witnessed others and what you learned from it.
I would present and lead an interactive discussion on white people in anti-racist/racial justice work, both white people doing anti-racist work as well as insights and stories about white people coming into consciousness about racism and committing to anti-racist efforts.
We would close with a discussion about next steps and then an energizing and inspiring exercise that gets people up in front of the group talking about why they want to end racism, why they want racial justice for all, why we need to be courageous in these times, and what we're grateful for.
The primary goal of the workshop is to help equip people to be even more awesome - individually and collectively - for social justice."