Beacon Press: The Facilitator’s Guide for White Affinity Groups
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The Facilitator’s Guide for White Affinity Groups

Strategies for Leading White People in an Anti-Racist Practice

Authors: Robin DiAngelo, Amy Burtaine

A first of its kind, accessible, in-depth resource for leading effective white racial affinity groups—an essential tool in anti-racism for building the skills and perspectives needed for white people to challenge racism

While there are a few short articles and guides addressing the challenges and complexities of leading white affinity groups, there has never been a detailed handbook exclusively for white racial affinity group facilitators. There are many challenges in facilitating these groups including the need to have a deep theoretical understanding of racism; a high degree of racial self-awareness; sensitivity to and the ability to work with the range of skills and degrees of awareness participants bring; and strong facilitation and conflict resolution skills.

The Facilitator’s Guide for White Affinity Groups is the first in-depth guide for educators, mediators, workplace consultants and trainers, workplace diversity groups, community organizers, conference organizers, members of faith communities, and members of racial and social justice groups.

Dr. Robin DiAngelo and Amy Burtaine, who collectively bring over 20 years of experience leading anti-racist education and racial affinity groups present:

  • a theoretical framework for understanding racism;
  • a case for the value of racial affinity groups as a tool for challenging racism;
  • guidelines for setting up affinity groups in a variety of contexts;
  • the skills and perspectives needed for effective facilitation;
  • scenarios to illustrate common challenges;
  • a glossary of definitions;
  • exercises, discussion prompts, and assessment tools;
  • an extensive list of common patterns and group dynamics and how to address them

Written accessibly for a wide range of readers and backgrounds, The Facilitator’s Guide for White Affinity Groups will be an important reference for anyone committed to anti-racism work.
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“DiAngelo and Burtaine expertly lay out how to create and sustain an effective white affinity group. Backed by years of experience, they adroitly work their way through the briar patch of white racial patterns that limit progress in anti-racism work. A first of its kind, this invaluable and much-needed resource will deepen the work of white affinity spaces and, by extension, increase the number of white people who are aware of the role of race in their lives, can trace the impact of racist policies of the past into the present, and have the tools to take transformative action. Knowing this guide is in facilitators’ hands gives me great hope.”
—Jacqueline Battalora, author of Birth of a White Nation

“A must-read for facilitators of white accountability groups! Honest and truth-telling, this essential guide raises key questions and provides crucial insights to address common pitfalls and challenges when leading these critical conversations. I wish I had a handbook when I started facilitating white accountability groups; now it’s here!”
—Kathy Obear, EdD, president, Center for Transformation and Change

“Some of my most powerful learning has been in White anti-racist groups like the ones described here—making mistakes together, asking stupid questions, and supporting each other on the challenging journey of addressing racism. I loved the clarity, suggested activities, and manual-like style of this guide for facilitating these groups, which will be incredibly useful and returned to again and again. May this book help you build loving and accountable relationships with other White people and cultivate courage, take action, and keep moving on your anti-racist path.”
—Ali Michael, PhD, coauthor of Our Problem, Our Path: Collective Anti-Racism for White People

“Robin DiAngelo and Amy Burtaine have provided wise and practical shapes for effective midwifery of anti-racist consciousness in collective context.  This work is an invitation to build relational capacity toward durable social action by those who recognize that white supremacy differentially dehumanizes those it moves through and those it marginalizes. There is a compelling case made that anti-racism is inherently transformative to those who practice it while releasing a grip on perfectionist evasion or a quest for comfort. Instead, this facilitator's guide brings conviction that responsiveness and mutuality are true companions of accountability.”
—Leticia Nieto, coauthor of Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment

Why White Affinity Groups?

The Basics

Different Contexts

Getting Started

Prompts, Discussion Starters, and Facilitator Techniques

Addressing Common Patterns and Challenges


1. Resistance to Breaking into Separate Groups
2. “I’m Not White”


3. Expecting People of Color to Teach Us About Race
4. Expecting Answers
5. Fear of Being Perceived as Racist
6. Taking Everything Personally
7. Claiming Racial Innocence
8. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
9. The Confessional
10. Critiquing the Thinking of People of Color
11. Intellectualizing


12. “It’s Different Where I Come From”
13. Removing Race from the Equation
14. Distancing
15. Claiming Reverse Racism: “They’re Just as Racist as We Are”


16. Checking Out
17. Dominating the Discussion
18. Out-Woking
19. Silence
20. Scapegoating
21. Fear of Challenging Others in the Group
22. Power Dynamics Rooted in Rank
23. Where Is Everyone?
24. The Closing Bomb


25. The Difficult Participant
26. Challenging the Facilitators
27. Trying to Facilitate from Within the Group
28. “Show Me the Agenda”
29. Feeling Entitled to the Facilitators’ Time
30. The Kiss-Up
31. The Pile-On


32. Credentialing
33. Hopelessness
34. Hopefulness
35. Complaining about How Exhausting the Work Is
36. Channel Changing
37. White Fragility
38. Getting Stuck in Guilt/Shame
39. Centering Our Own Trauma
40. “I’m Powerless”
41. White Women’s Tears
42. The Extreme

Closing the Group


Additional Resources for Your Anti-Racist Practice

See below for appendices or download as a PDF.


Note: There are many excellent books to further white people’s understanding of systemic racism (see:;; ). We have focused our appendices on resources that are practice oriented, such as handouts, short articles, lists, curriculum, and workbooks.

Given the shifting socio-political nature of racism, terms, concepts and critiques are ever changing and evolving.  These resources reflect some of what we and our interviewees are using in white affinity work at the time of this writing. It is not a complete or definitive list of all of the excellent resources available.  


Handouts and Worksheets

Frame of Reference Exercise Handout

Racial Socialization Reflection Questions

Antiracist Checklist for Whites

Receiving Feedback – White Fragility or Antiracism?

Patterns of Power, from Tools for Change

Equalizing Power, from Tools for Change

Feedback as An Antiracism Tool

Silence Breakers for White People Handout

Silence Breaker Worksheet

The Iceberg of Culture Handout 

The Iceberg of White Supremacy Handout

Rules of Engagement Worksheet

White Fragility Worksheet

Racial Dynamics to Watch For

Continuum on Becoming an Antiracist Multicultural Organization


Additional Resources on Facilitating White Affinity Groups

How to Plan a White Caucus Agenda, Pippi Kessler

Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups, Craig Elliot PhD

AWARE LA’s White Anti-Racist Culture Building Toolkit

Tip Sheet for Table Discussion Facilitators, Robin DiAngelo

Kelsey Blackwell’s Why People of Color Need Spaces without white people

Patterns List accompanying this book (see page X) 

Racial Identity Caucusing Strategy


Resource Hubs

Racial Equity Tools See in particular:

AWARE-LA Resources

White Folks Workbook

Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks). See in particular: dRworks racial equity principles

Witnessing Whiteness

(free curriculum with agendas, facilitator’s notes, handouts)

Pippi Kessler’s Website and Free Self Study Curriculum for Educators

National Museum of African American History / Smithsonian’s Being Anti Racist

SEED resources and standard pedagogy (

Teaching While White (

Resources page from Robin DiAngelo’s website (

Western States Center (

Challenging Supremacy Workshop,  Creating an Anti-Racist Agenda

Ali Michael’s website:


Exploring Whiteness Within Ourselves

Article: 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors, Debra Leigh

Common White Patterns by Kathy Obear

Peggy McIntosh’s Invisible Knapsack  *Note

Frame of Reference Handout

Racial Socialization Reflection Questions

Patterns of Power, from Tools for Change

Equalizing Power, from Tools for Change

The Color of Fear video

Antiracist Checklist for Whites

Receiving Feedback – White Fragility or Antiracism?

We Don’t Want Your Opinion

Feedback as An Antiracism Tool

Silence Breakers for White People Handout, by Anika Nailah & Robin DiAngelo

Silence Breaker Worksheet

My Class Didn’t Trump My Race: Using Oppression to Face Privilege:

The Iceberg of Culture Handout 

The Iceberg of White Supremacy Handout

What if Instead of Calling People Out We Called Them In by Loretta Ross (

Rules of Engagement Worksheet

White Fragility Worksheet


Racial Identity Development 

Dr. Janet Helm’s White Racial Identity Framework (

The Whiteness Project (

Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook

Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands

Courageous Conversations by Glenn Singleton

When black people are in pain, white people just join book groups (by Tre Johnson)

Paul Kivel’s I’m Not White I’m Jewish

An Open Letter to My White Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Sisters and Brothers


Recognizing Whiteness in the Culture

White Supremacy Culture - Still Here(Updated Article)

White Supremacy Iceberg (handout) and video

New York Times video series on race / A conversation on Race

Deconstructing White Privilege with Robin DiAngelo (

A Class Divided

How Did Jews Become White Folks?

Racial Dynamics to Watch For


Recognizing Structural Racism

Race the Power of An Illusion (video)

13th (video)

White Supremacy Iceberg

The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coaates

White Fragility

Moving the Race Conversation Forward, Race Forward

Shining the Light on White, by Sharon Martinas


Learning About the Historical Roots of White Supremacy

Race The Power of An Illusion

Exterminate All The Brutes (

Eyes on the Prize

Traces of the Trade

1619 Project

Seeing White Podcast

Nice White Parents Podcast

Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy:


Workbooks and Programs 

Dr. Eddie Moore’s 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge

Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy

Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s Hands

The Anti-Racist Cookbook by Robin Parker and Pamela Chambers

Glenn E. Singleton’s Courageous Conversations About Race


Whiteness Within Families and Friendships

10 Ways White Teachers Bring Racism Into the Classroom by Jamie Utt

Thanksgiving Toolkit (SURJ)

Rethinking Thanksgiving Toolkit (


Accountability - Staying on the Roof

The Contradictions for White People in Racial Justice Work Handout 

AWARE LA’s Alliance Building and Accountability

SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice)

The Case for Reparations, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Intersectionality Primer, Kimberly Crenshaw

Essay: No More “Allies”, Mia McKenzie for Black Girl Dangerous

Essay:  Racism is to white people as wind is to sky, Sunny Drake

Essay: 4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege, Mia McKenzie on blackgirldangerous


Podcasts to Subscribe to and Discuss


1619 (New York Times)

About Race

Code Switch (NPR)

Intersectionality Matters! hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw

Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast

Nice White Parents (Serial and The New York Times)

Pod For The Cause (from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights)

Pod Save the People (Crooked Media)

Seeing White

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The Facilitator’s Guide for White Affinity Groups

ISBN: 978-080700356-5
Publication Date: 8/9/2022
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $22.00
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.