Concepts of Racial Sobriety

What is Racial Sobriety®?

Racial Sobriety® is witnessing to ourselves and others that our thinking, feeling and acting reflects our commitment to seeing each person as a member of the same human family. Racial Sobriety requires a self awareness that examines our prejudices in regard to another's racial caste in society. Racial Sobriety is achieved by ridding ourselves of the "stinking thinking" of racism, which in turns frees us from racial dysfunction in our interactions with others in the human family. (To order book)

Racial sobriety from what?

To begin the journey to racial sobriety there is a need to know where we are in order to know where we are going. The goal of racial sobriety is to free ourselves of racial dysfunction. The term racial dysfunction describes the negative thinking, feeling and acting on the false beliefs of racial prejudice. In other words, it is dysfunctional to see a person or group as anything other than human beings regardless of their race; whether "race" is a matter of color, culture, creed, or class. The word, dysfunction, means an improper relationship. Racial dysfunction is an improper relationship with members of the same human family. In this approach, racism is viewed as a family dysfunction, with society being the "family." For example, persons who have a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol and drugs suffer from their improper relationship with these substances. Likewise, persons who have an improper relationship with food, work, sex or gambling need for treatment programs for their dysfunctional lifestyle. In the same manner, an improper relationship with one's "race" needs a treatment program. Racial sobriety provides a healing process for coping with the social illness of racial dysfunction. The endless racial incidents, reported and unreported, in the American family demonstrate the pandemic scope of racial dysfunction. Our personal racial dysfunction and that of others in our American family needs an intervention on our shared family dysfunction of racism.

Racial sobriety is a commitment to rid one's self of the "stinking thinking," toxic feelings and hurtful actions that are part of membership in American family life. A personal commitment to Racial Sobriety is a desire to be free of racial dysfunction in order to become a fully functioning human being. A social commitment to racial sobriety is a desire to see everyone live in a culture of racial sobriety where each person is seen as a member of the same human family. (Introductory Workshops)

How does One become racially sober?

Racial sobriety is a healing journey which begins with stages of Recovery from Racisms®. These stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. (See Stages of Recovery) The stages of recovery from racisms focus our attention on the negative behavior of racism. (See Sociotext) The focus of racial sobriety involves three stages beyond recovery: re-engagement, forgiveness and witness. Re-engagement is a stage in which a commitment is made to sober thinking and acting. Lifestyle changes begin within oneself and one's relationship with others. Since racial sobriety affects every aspect of one's life, each person will re-engage their lives from different points of view. It is in the re-engagement stage that self awareness intervenes in thoughts and feelings so as to sustain racial sobriety.

To maintain racial sobriety amid a world of racial dysfunction, the exercise of forgiveness builds strength for the journey. The first step is to forgive ourselves for "going along to get along" in a racialized culture. Most people live a life of accommodation to the white supremacy culture. As we forgive ourselves we become more understanding of others and the power that racial dysfunction has over their lives. This sense of compassion assists us in forgiving others. Each act of forgiveness takes the toxic power of anger, resentment and hostility and transforms it into new energy that supports our journey to racial sobriety.

Witness is the ultimate goal of racial sobriety. In the act of witnessing we pass on our sobriety to others. Our personal sobriety is a benefit to our mental health, social enjoyment and spiritual renewal. Everyone around us is benefited by our racial sobriety whether it is known or not. Racially sober people witness to themselves that, in the midst of the racial dysfunction around them, they have the power to make a difference on their own behalf and others. They do not feel powerless to change the world, because they have begun to change their interaction with the world around them. The racially sober person becomes a collaborator for change.

Witness also will have a public face that demonstrates to others that racial dysfunction hurts everyone in the human family, not just the Nonwhites who are victimized by it. Racism takes something away from every person on the planet everyday. It is through witnessing, personally and publicly, that we come to sustain our own racial sobriety and pass the benefits to a racially dysfunctional culture so much in need of it.

Racial sobriety involves visiting the three stages of re-engagement, forgiveness and witness often in order to grow in strength, wisdom and freedom in regards to the racial dysfunctions in our lives. As each person embraces racial sobriety, their presence is felt as a new member in the New Family Formation process. New Family Formation means that as each person embraces racial sobriety they leave behind their racial caste allegiance to join the human family in which each person is seen as my brother or sister.

What is the Institute for Recovery from Racisms?

The Institute for Recovery from Racisms® is an organization dedicated to promoting Racial Sobriety®. The Institute is made up of more than 200 Certified Facilitators in 20 states and in three countries. The services offered by the Institute include workshops, training of facilitators and designing programs for various educational, civic, religious and corporate organizations. (See Program Formats)

The founder and director of the Institute is, Fr. Clarence Williams, CPPS, PhD. He has a been involded in the area of race relations for more than thirty years. (See Biography)

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