Core Beliefs Writing Prompts (for White People)


From Leesa Renee Hall

[...] I invite you to work through the following writing prompts (inspiration for some of these writing prompts has come from a few resources, including Andrea Ranae‘s Coaching As Activism course and the 21-Day Write Early Challenge):

  • What was your earliest memory around skin colour? Where were you? Who were you with? Was it something a family member said? Was it an event you and your friends participated in? How did you feel?

  • Name an early experience when a person of colour made you feel uneasy. Why was that? What made them threatening? What was your response? If they were not threatening, how would you describe them? How does that early experience shape how you interact with people of colour today?

  • How did your parents or caregivers talk about skin colour? How did their beliefs and views shape you? How do you feel about the words your parents or caregivers use to refer to people of colour today, now that you’re older?

  • Reflect on a time you were led by a person of colour in a professional setting. What was your experience? Did you accept their leadership? Why or why not? In what ways did you support him/her? In what ways did you sabotage him/her? If you were never led by a person of colour in a professional setting, why do you believe that happened?

  • Name your favourite television shows, films, radio programs, and/or comic books you consumed as a child and teenager. Were people of colour present? If yes, what roles did they play? What were their characteristics, clothing, and speech? If there were no people of colour present in the materials you consumed, why were they missing? What reasons can you give for their absence? Would this be realistic for the city or town the story took place in? Why or why not?

  • What does your religion or spirituality teach about people of colour? How has those teachings influence you? Do those teachings align with what you’ve read in the sacred book that guides your religious or spiritual beliefs? Why or why not?

  • What does power mean to you? Who holds power in the country you live in? What is their gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, and political stance? In what ways do they reflect you? Do you have the same access to power as those who hold power in your country? Yes or no? If no, what prevents you from gaining access?

  • Name a time when you had a problem that took months, maybe years, to solve. What was that problem (for example, work, property, health, or legal problems)? How did you feel about the delay? What did you do to raise attention about what you were unhappy about? Who listened to your grievance? How can you use those feelings of being wronged to understand the issue people of colour are protesting?

  • As a child, how was your anger or sadness handled by your parents, caregivers, older siblings? Were you encouraged to express it, or were you shamed, ridiculed, or humiliated in showing those emotions? How did you witness other family members handling negative emotions? Was it encouraged or was it shut down? By whom? How did that person react? What were the words they used? Do you feel comfortable expressing anger, sadness, or pain in your family today? Why or why not?