July 11th, 2014 | by KATE WILLSON News | Posted In: Politics, City Hall

White Men Retreat Taught White Men to See White Men Differently

     
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news2_4032ILLUSTRATION: Colin Andersen

Mayor Charlie Hales office has released testimonials from the $56,000 diversity seminar for white managers held this week at a golf resort near Mt. Hood.

The retreat taught Hales and other high-ranking City Hall and Portland Police Bureau officials about the "small slights that affect women, people of color and the gay community that I have never had to deal with," one participant wrote in reflection on the seminar, held Monday through Thursday at the Resort at the Mountain.

WW first reported last month that Hales decided to spend $56,000 on a 3 1/2-day training seminar run by a Portland company, White Men as Full Diversity Partners.

The mayor's office received criticism this week for sending 16 white men to a golf resort. Today, the mayor's office released the anonymous testimonials from the conference-goers.

"These are complex issues I cannot fix or take complete responsibility for," one attendee wrote. "I need to rest in the messiness of it all and be okay with that.”

"I have learned to listen better, to not react so much by trying to fix ‘the problem,’ and to be vulnerable about the emotional impact I have felt by social pressures specific to white culture," said another.

Another attendee wrote: "Each relationship I have involves at least one white man — me — and having a much better understanding of what that means and the tools necessary to use that understanding will allow me the chance to deepen my relationships. I will be a better listener, a more understanding partner, and, inevitably, a more complete person.”

“Each human has value!" was the take-away of yet another.

Here's the full agenda for the seminar.

 

 
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